Tag Archives: dessert

Coffee Cake

This Coffee Cake is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Food from my Frontier cookbook. The recipe is also on her website. It’s made with lots of instant coffee in it so it’s really a Coffee Cake, not the plain type of coffee cake. The instant coffee you use in this cake really influence the flavour so it’s best you use one that you like. I used UCC Instant Coffee Blend No.117 left behind by my parents which has this sour-ish aftertaste (which is why I don’t like drinking instant coffee!) and it didn’t impart a rich coffee flavour to the cake.

I halved the recipe and made the cake in a 6″ round pan, and I’m not sure if that has any impact on the texture of the cake but I’m not crazy about it. It could also be due to the one-bowl mixing method.

The coffee icing is a new update to the icing she used on her blog post. She creamed the butter in that one while this one the butter is melted. Again, I halved the recipe but used only 1/4 of the powdered sugar as it was too sweet when I tasted it. I had to add unsweetened cocoa to make it less sweet and that’s why my icing is darker in colour compared to hers. (The second sign that her sweets recipes will be too sweet for my taste is from her latest blog post where she said she found Starbucks’ lemon poppyseed ‘delightful and delicious’ while I found it too sweet with the icing to finish!)

Coffee Icing
(From Food from my Frontier)

3/4 cup butter
2 T instant coffee
4 T half-and-half
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the instant coffee. Stir it together, then add the half-and-half and whisk to combine. Turn off the heat and add in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk till the sugar has dissolved and the icing is smooth. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle the icing over the cake.


What I think of the cookbook? Well, I wouldn’t buy it as I found three of the recipes that I would make from it on her website. She also gives more instructions there as she’s not restricted by space. However, if you’re a fan of Pioneer Woman and you’re always making her recipes, this cookbook will be convenient. She has included new recipes as well as updates to some of her old ones. This Coffee Cake, for instance, has been updated with a creamy (cream cheese) filling between the layers and a different icing. There are also awesome pictures of her family and farm throughout the book with humorous captions. If you love PW, you’ll love it!


Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Baking, Food


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It’s Finished!

The basement renovation completed on Tuesday, hurrah! We now have a TV and play area, a bathroom, a laundry room and a study in our basement!

I’m sure I was excited that day but I was also anxious about the cleaning up and re-organising work that’s awaiting, much like moving into a new house but on a smaller scale! We would also need to be creative in moving all our ‘stuff’ (currently sitting in our living room and the spare bedroom upstairs) back to the basement as we now have less storage space.

So it was a welcomed distraction when my neighbours, Rich and Ange, invited us to join them for a BBQ dinner that night. They wanted to thank me for always sharing my baked goods with them. 🙂

This was what I last shared with them – Dorie Greenspan’s Florida Pie – a key lime pie with a layer of coconut cream. Sweet and tangy! My meringue was overbeaten though, sigh! I’m just going to whisk the egg whites by hand next time.

For dinner, Rich grilled these delicious, juicy burgers and prepared a condiments bar with sweet sautéed onions, bacon strips, relish and tomato slices. I made Potato Chip Tortilla, from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, as an appetizer to snack on while waiting for the burgers.

Potato Chip Tortilla – a Spanish omelette made with crushed potato chips (I used tortilla chips instead) and green onions.

Next week is the last week of the summer holiday! Time flies! Hope to bring the kids out somewhere since they have been home with me so much watching the renovation.


Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Baking, Cooking, Food, Life


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Update and Birthday

This is the final week of the basement renovations. I really can’t wait for it to be over, I’m starting to get cabin fever from being in the house so much! The rooms are finished and the floor’s going in.

Elsewhere in the household, there was a birthday. Little Guy turned 5! We had a little celebration yesterday with cupcakes and play buddies over. Daddy’s over at Nova Scotia this week for work so we’ll wait till he’s back for a proper birthday cake and a second round of celebration.

These chocolate cupcakes, from, are good. They’re moist and has a mild chocolate flavour from using Dutch-processed cocoa powder. I used Fry’s Cocoa Powder, which is the only Dutch-processed cocoa powder I could find in the stores. The frosting uses unsweetened chocolate. It’s quick to make and easy to pipe too. I halved the recipe and got only 5 of these cupcakes. Click here for the recipe.

Trying not to get frosting on his face…

Lunch at a Pizzeria


Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life


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Breathing New Life into Failed Cake

Remember my earlier post about the cake that didn’t rise hence I couldn’t make the tall party cake? I didn’t know what to do with it but I couldn’t just throw it out so I put it away in the fridge. Then yesterday I remembered my long procrastinated project – cake pops! I had all the ingredients and materials. Just never gotten around to making them. It was a fantastic way to use up the cake, I’m so pleased it didn’t go to waste. The cake pop was great with the lemony cake and the chocolate. I served them at an ‘Everyday Style’ party I hosted this morning and they were a hit!

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Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake crumbled and mixed with canned cream cheese frosting. Dipped in melted Mercken’s chocolate wafers, thinned with sunflower oil. 


Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life


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Lemon Pound Cake with Strawberry Sauce


This recipe is taken from LCBO’s Food & Drink Summer 2011 issue. I had been looking out for it and was quite pleased to see it was available when I went to get some summer beers yesterday. This pound cake doesn’t require the usual creaming of butter and sugar and uses a combination of oil and butter. It produces a soft and buttery cake with slight tartness from the lemon. 


The original recipe served the cake with a sauce made from fresh strawberries and strawberry jam but I used my own homemade strawberry sauce instead.


5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (use greater amount if using unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 lemon
1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil*
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, very soft
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C).

2. Separate eggs, placing whites in a clean mixing bowl. Place yolks in a small bowl. Using extra, very generously butter and flour a Bundt pan.

3. Place measured flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar along with salt and baking soda; mix well. Finely zest lemon with a rasp; squeeze 2 tbsp juice.

4. Slowly add oil in batches to very soft butter, stirring well after each addition. Stir in yolks; then zest, juice and vanilla.

5. Beat egg whites until foamy; beat in cream of tartar. When soft peaks form, gradually beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar until glossy stiff peaks form. A bit of whipped egg rubbed between fingers feels smooth, not gritty.

6. Make a well in the flour mixture; add butter mixture all at once. Stir until all flour is absorbed. Using a large rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of whipped whites into dough until evenly mixed. Then fold in remainder just until streaks almost disappear. Turn into prepared pan; smooth top.

7. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in cake middle comes out clean. Cool upright on a rack for 15 minutes to firm up cake. Then loosen and turn out upside down to finish cooling on rack.

8. To serve, dust cake top lightly with icing sugar in a small sieve. Serve slices with some berry sauce.

* I used sunflower oil but I may have mistakenly used half a cup!



1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sugar (or 3 tablespoons sugar if you’re not using maple syrup)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Zest of the 1/4 lemon (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Put the strawberries, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest (if using) into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 mins. Taste and add the the 1 tablespoon sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water and add to the saucepan. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and mash lightly with fork to break up the bigger pieces. If you want a smooth sauce, puree the cooled sauce in a blender.



Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Baking, Food


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