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

Apple Oatmeal Cheesecake Bars

We’re officially down to the wire with baby #3, with less than a month to go at this point. Giving my large size and just general uncomfortable nature – I’m not feeling up to cooking and baking as much as I have been in the past few months. But, I did find the time and energy to make these awesome oatmeal bars this week!

I know apple butter may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to spring. But, let me just say that’s the wrong way to think! It’s a delicious base for a barbecue sauce, or smeared onto a crostini and topped with a little blue cheese and a slice of apple for an easy appetizer. Not to mention the classic peanut butter and apple butter sandwich that is my boy’s favorite!

These bars are delicious, and easy to bring together – which automatically means a winner in my kitchen. A quick crumble composed of oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, and butter is used for the base and the topping. And sandwiched in the middle is a layer of apple butter and a cheesecake filling. What’s bad in that equation? All the flavors go together just perfectly.

I hope that everyone is enjoying all the gorgeous weather we’ve been having. Our crew is heading to Ocean City for the weekend – for a little family “babymoon” before our next bundle of joy arrives. Hoping to eat plenty of good food and let the boys have some fun in the sun. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Source: adapted from Musselman’s

Disclaimer: I received a jar of apple butter from Musselman’s, as well as a lovely spring bouquet of flowers from FTD for my review. As always, all opinions are my own.

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!

Orange Poppy Seed Cake

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to the food and trade expo in Ocean City. It was great to sample all kinds of different new things, talk to folks at regional breweries, and just make new “foodie” friends in general. It made a great date day for Jon and I, and I think he had a little bit more fun than I did getting to sample all the delicious beers and cocktails that I couldn’t partake in – but I’m already looking forward to next year!

One product I was super excited to try was Natalie’s juices. They’re fresh pressed, and minimally pasteurized – leading to a juice that’s as fresh tasting as can be. I’d been following them on Instagram for a over a month now, after reading their review in Cook’s Illustrated – but hadn’t been able to find them locally in my rural location. Brandy, the regional rep, said that she’d gladly provide me with some samples to try out – and I gladly accepted!

We met at a local eatery in Salisbury last week, and she loaded me down with all kinds of goodies. Afterwards, William and I went inside and treated ourselves to a little snack – a cookie for him, and a slice of a delicious orange poppy seed cake for myself. I knew upon first bite that it was one that I had to come home and recreate, and what better time to do it with all that fresh-pressed citrus goodness waiting for me to do something with?

This cake is somewhere between a pound cake and a traditional cake – moist and dense, yet light and crumbly too. With the slight crunchy bites from the poppy seeds, it’s absolutely perfect. It’s baked in a Bundt pan, which makes it beautiful to begin with…but then I topped it with a delightful orange cream cheese buttercream for the “icing on the cake”, as it were. Everyone loved it!

Everyone also really loved the different varieties of juice Natalie’s sent us home with – everything from Strawberry Lemonade to Honey Tangerine Juice. I made a batch of lavender lemonade with the lemon juice they gave me last night, and it was so nice to have a taste of summertime without having to juice a million lemons on my own! Looking forward to trying their juices in some cocktails this summer, as I know that’s another spot where they will really shine.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Source: cake adapted from Your Home Based Mom