Banana Crumb Coffee Cake

I love banana bread and all, but sometimes I just feel like my bananas have a higher calling than in the form of a loaf. A calling for something more like…cake, for instance! Now, after making this – I’m not sure that I’ll ever make a loaf of banana bread again. It was that good!

I mean, I guess I should have known. Coffee cakes have never let me down in the past. But the banana added so much flavor and moisture, then to combine it with the cinnamon streusel on top was just the perfect touch. It also has some of the streusel layered in the middle of the cake too, which I thought was a really nice and surprising twist.

It was perfect as breakfast or dessert, and was still fresh and moist after day three. It made plenty, so it’s perfect to make for a get-together, or to share with friends and neighbors. It’s been a few weeks since I baked this, and I’m already looking forward to making it again. It might have to happen this weekend!

We’re looking forward to the annual egg hunt at our local NASA base tomorrow. As well as dying our easter eggs – that’s getting to be so much fun now that the boys are getting a little bit older.! Although, I’ve been making poor Jon dye eggs since before we were married – so I suppose I’ve always had alot of fun with it. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter holiday!

Source: adapted from Cookies & Cups

Raspberry Cupcakes

I love making cupcakes. Coincidentally, I also love eating them. The flavor combinations are endless, and there is always a new recipe or spin that I want to try. The lemon cupcakes with blackberry buttercream have long been one of my favorites, so I thought a twist on those would be fun. A raspberry twist!

Went a little lighter on the lemon flavor in this version by just adding a bit of zest, and I also added some chopped raspberries into my usual vanilla cupcake batter. I loved seeing berries dotted throughout the cake once they were baked. It added a surprise burst of berry color and flavor, and added even more moisture to an already deliciously moist cake.

For the frosting I just add a bit of raspberry puree to my traditional vanilla buttercream – it gives it a gorgeous pink hue and natural raspberry flavor. A garnish of a single fresh raspberry really sets them off just perfectly.

They really are beautiful, and taste even better than they look – if you can believe it. A wonderful way to celebrate this warm spring weather that is finally gracing us with it’s presence. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Homemade Strawberry Syrup

It’s the end of March, officially spring, and there’s 6-inches of snow on the ground outside my front door right now. While I love snow, I’ve had my fill of snow cream for the year. It astonishes me that it can be 70 degrees one day, and 20 the next!

One thing that does have me feeling like spring are the delicious strawberries I’ve been getting at the store recently. While snow might be still blanketing the ground here – in warm, sunny Florida it’s strawberry season! So whenever I see any berries from the sunshine state  in my local grocery store, I can’t pass them by without picking up a package. I haven’t had bad berries yet!

Most of the time they just get gobbled up, before getting the chance to be transformed into something else in a recipe. But, I did get a chance to make this delicious strawberry syrup a couple of weeks ago. It’s perfect over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, stirred into a cold glass of milk, served over hot Belgian waffles, or mixed into a cocktail to give it a fruity twist. It’s also wonderful to toss with some fresh sliced strawberries and then pour into a graham cracker crust for an easy, but delicious dessert.

The batch I made barely lasted a week, and I’ve already made it a couple of times since then. It’s so wonderfully versatile, and it’s nice to have that burst of fresh strawberry flavor in my refrigerator anytime I’d like!

Source: adapted from StrawberrySue.com

Blackberry Yogurt Cake

Well, it’s officially spring! Which, is kind of hard to believe considering we just had another snow day on Monday. Bygones! Hoping the warmer weather is here to stay, because we’re all ready for it in this house. And, I can’t think of a better way to welcome warmer days than by baking a delicious cake studded with plenty of fresh berries.

I’ve made a Strawberry Yogurt Cake in the past, that was absolutely delicious. So I took that as a base and substituted fresh blackberries for the strawberries. Talk about another homerun! It was moist and dense, everything that a Bundt cake should be – with the juicy and tart whole blackberries studded throughout the cake. Absolutely delicious.

Instead of a glaze, I went with something a little more heavy duty…adding more confectioner’s sugar to the mix, as well as some blackberry puree that I blended up with a few of the berries. It gave the glaze a gorgeous purple hue that really set the cake off, and let you know what was hiding inside.

Another new favorite, for sure. Will have to try it with raspberries and blueberries next, as I know those combos are sure to be winners as well. Have a great weekend everyone!