Fresh Blackberry Cake

Summer is winding down in Oregon, and most of the harvest is over. We just have aronia berries left. This summer went so fast, but the weather was also so weird and caused all of the crops to be much later than expected. The only crop that was “on time” was raspberries. This past week we wrapped up harvesting on the blackberries, and with the few last fresh ones I made this delicious cake to celebrate a harvest well done.

I used a white sponge as a base for the cake, with layers of buttercream and fresh blackberries bursting with sweetness in the middle.

What You’ll Need: IMG_4644

For the Cake

  • 1 C Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 TSP Almond Extract
  • 3 1/2 C Flour
  • 4 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 6 Large Eggs,  Room Temp
  • 1 1/2 C Milk, Room Temp

For the Frosting

  • 1 1/2 C Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 6  C Powdered Sugar
  • 6 TBSP Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  • Extract for Flavor (optional)

I used about 2 cups of fresh Blackberries, our cake is 9 inches in dimeter. You can use more or less depending on your cake size and shape.

What You’ll Do: 

    1. Grease three 9-inch pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in almond extract.
    3. Use a fork to combine the eggs and milk together in a bowl or 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
    4. In another mixing bowl stir together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
    5. Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix in until just combined. Add in half of the milk mixture and combine. Add in another ⅓ of the dry ingredients until combined followed by the remainder of the milk mixture. Add in the remainder of the dry ingredients and mix with the hand mixer until just combined, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom to make sure everything is mixed in.
    6. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before layering and frosting.
    7. To make the frosting: Use mixer (hand or stand) to whip softened butter and vanilla extract together. Slowly add in powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time. Thin out with milk if it gets too thick.

Blueberry Peach Scones

IMG_4395  This is a short little post on some delicious scones I just had to share! This summer is so weird for where I live. Usually blueberries are in season from late June to mid July, then peaches come in to season with blackberries in August. Not this year though, all three are over lapping this year which is so exciting! I got to use fresh blueberries, and fresh peaches in these scones. I usually used dried blueberries, and dried fruit, so it’s a bit of treat to use fresh fruit. I like using local produce, usually organic, or I get produce from farmers I trust.  The blueberries are from my parents farm, Sunset Valley Organics, and the peaches are Aspenwall’s fruit stand in Salem, OR. It’s really hard to find certified organic peaches, so these are conventional. Work has been so busy with harvest that this is really the first time I’ve had a chance to bake in what feels like forever.

There are a few reasons I choose to go out of my way to buy from local farmers (mainly certified organic farmers):

  • I love supporting my local community, and encouraging the farmers that are here to keep doing what they’re doing. It’s hard work, and not a lot of people would  choose farming as their profession. But without the Farmers, we would all starve, or become dependent upon other countries to supply us with food, which sounds terrifying to me.
  • The United States imports an absurd amount of low quality food at dirt cheap prices which hurts the American farmer. We have plenty of food to support our own country, so we should. We should also reward farmers that are doing more, and producing high quality food, and taking care of their land. (By this I mean putting minerals back into their soil, and taking care of land not because the government, or a certifier tells them to, but because it’s the right thing to do.)
  • This is a universal one; there is something in the taste of locally grown food. I think this is most noticeable in veggies from backyard gardens. A tomato from your garden is going to taste different from a tomato from the store.  It’s just better. It hasn’t been sitting in a container for 2+ weeks making it’s way to the grocery store.

I understand not everyone has the same community around them, or can afford the same quality of food, but I happen to live in an area that is bountiful with veggies, fruit, wines, cheese, meat, and all kinds of good food. And I am in a stable financial situation,  so I feel an ethical duty to support these men and women.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose Certified Organic flour, plus more for hands and work surface
  • 6 TBSP  Certified Organic Sugar
  • 2 1/2 TSPCertified Organic Baking Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1/2 C Certified Organic unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/2 C Certified Organic heavy cream
  • 1 Large Certified Organic Egg
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Certified Organic Fresh Blueberries
  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Peaches, chopped

What You’ll Do: 

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  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, or spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Grate the frozen butter (a food processor is perfect for this). Mix in the grated butter into the flour mixture and combine it with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk cream, egg, and vanilla together. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and stir the two together with a spatula until everything looks like it’s been moistened. Slowly, and carefully add in blueberries and peaches. At this point the dough will be very wet, and a bit sticky, you’ll want to work the dough into a ball.
  4. Transfer the dough ball onto a floured surface, press into a flat disk and cut into four quarters. Then cut each of those in half so you have a total of 8 equal wedges. Because the dough is overloaded with fruit it’s ok if the dough doesn’t want to stay as a wedge. When baked they will just be a bit more on the round side.
  5. Place wedges onto prepared baking sheet, at least two inches apart from each other. Place in over, bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cooling rack.

Make A Head Tip: These scones are awesome to enjoy in the mornings all week long. They be kept at room temperature for 2-5 days. They also are awesome to freeze, and will keep for up to 3 months. Just thaw them out and heat up to your liking!

Life Lately: April 2017

Holy Moly! March went by so fast, and it feels like April is just as fast. March I was sick for a soild two weeks so that gave me some time on my hands (and lost of naps). It also happened to be when Mass Effect Andromeda was released so I played the crap out of it. Now that I experienced that trip, I’m making my way through the Kingdom Heart games again since the Final Mix came out. Depending on how I feel when I finish those up I might try Kingdom Hearts 2.8, I’m just not to sure how critical it is to going into Kingdom Hearts III (if and when that finally comes out).

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What’s For Dinner: Pancetta & Asparagus Puff Pastry

I have been having the longest work weeks for the last two weeks now and haven’t really been all that inspired to do anything but consume coffee and sleep. But Friday bring freedom, I have class all afternoon so that means I only have a half day of work. On my way home from class I stopped and got a few things because our fridge was empty-I’m not exaggerating, all we had was milk, carrots, and left over pizza.

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I love the textures of this dish!

I think my inspiration for this came from a pic I saw on instagram, all I know is it is super simple to make, is versatile for function, makes great for left overs, and doesn’t take that much time. This dish is perfect as a snack, an appetizer, an entree, and as leftovers.

 

I think my favorite thing about this dish is how the salt from the Pancetta brings out the flavors of the asparagus, and all the ingredients just marry so well together.

What You Need:

  • 1-2 Sheets of Puff Pastry-Thawed
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 TBSP Water
  • 1/2 C. Diced Pancetta
  • 1/2-3/4 C. Italian Blend Shredded Cheese
  • 1/2 lb. Asparagus- Cleaned & Trimmed
  • 1/4 C. Roughly Chopped Mushrooms
  • Parmesan for sprinkling

*Note: You could also try adding olives, yum!

For Sauce *Optional*:

  • 2 tsp. Mustard
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp. Honey

What You Do:

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  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare baking sheet with either parchment paper or non-stick spray.
  3. Lay puff pastry on prepared baking sheet (depending on the size of baking tray you can use either one or two puff pastry sheets, I used two in my photos), fold edges about 1/2 inch inward. Press down with fork to secure. Puncture inside of puff pastry square several times with fork.
  4. Layer half of the Italian cheese blend on the puff pastry. Then arrange the asparagus evenly on top of the cheese. Next evenly distribute the pancetta, and roughly chopped mushrooms. Add the rest of the Italian cheese blend, and top with a sprinkling of parmesan.
  5. Mix egg & water together, brush edges of puff pastry with egg wash.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  7. To make the sauce: combined mustard, lemon juice, & honey.
  8. Use paper towel to blot away any liquid released from the asparagus.
  9. Let cool 5 minutes.
  10. Drizzle with honey mustard sauce if desired, serve & enjoy!

We barely had any left overs but those we did have we ate the next morning with a scramble, it was so delicious!

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Nutrient Dense Energy Bites

Energy Bites are the perfect afternoon snack for me at work. My job is often so busy that I forget (or don’t have time for) lunch so having these little power balls on hand makes things a lot easier! And, bonus: they are silly easy to make- my secret is I make a double batch then split it into however many add ins I want to make. This week I split my double batch into five.

I did have an extra motive for doing a double batch this week.  At work we got some new products in- berry powders! Berry powders are a great way to get the concentrated nutrition from the berries-and the powders are very versatile. So I wanted to play with them a bit, and I also needed a food “prop” for some product photos that I worked on this week for the shop’s website.

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Give Me That Coffee!

screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-12-45-18-pmIf there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I love coffee. I swear I’m 90% caffeine 10% water. So as any avid coffee lover, I have my favorite places to get coffee. I live in a small town so we don’t have that many options, but what we do have is good enough for me. It’s always a bonus getting to support small local business rather than any corporation, so any time I can do that, I do. Which means there’s a great chance you won’t have any idea of these places I’m talking about! Well except two- maybe. 😉

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Geekery of the Month: Ready, Set, Bake

Ready, Set, Bake

 

This month I’ve been baking a ton so it seemed fitting to have it be my Geekery of the Month. How cute is that apron? I actually don’t wear one when I bake/cook. I find them annoying, but like the idea of them. That is probably really weird sounding, but that’s just me I guess. haha.
Be sure to check out my  Great Iggle Bake Off posts, Bread, Cake ( coming tomorrow!). And check the IGGPPC Forum for more info, and to see what others are baking. You can also use the #igglebakeoff and #igglenoms on twitter.

The Great Iggle Bake Off: Bread

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I am a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off so when IGGPPC announced they were doing The Great Iggle Bake Off I just had to get involved. The first weeks challenge is bread, I don’t bake a whole lot of bread, probably because I don’t eat a lot of it, but it was also Super Bowl weekend and I had been planning on baking pretzel bites anyways so it just seemed to all fit!

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Life Lately: February

Happy February! February is one of my favorite months, mostly because of valentines day, but also because where I lives tends to start getting warmer in February and it even gets to where I can almost break out the flip flops. I’ve never done a life lately, so I thought why not give it a go!? I’ve been pretty busy with work recently, there are a lot of changes that I’m having to prepare for, for the next harvest. But I’ve also been taking “work hard, play hard” seriously and been giving myself lots of me time.

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What’s For Dinner?: Easy Mini Chicken Pot Pies

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You know how you see things on the internet and you’re like “I wonder if that really works?” Well this recipe is one of those. I saw the recipe on Pinterest and I thought to myself that if this recipe was really as simple as it looked more people should know about it!

 

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