Baking craving: satisfied

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If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, chances are you know how much I love to bake. Sometimes I bake for events, while other times I bake just because the ingredients seem to be calling my name from inside the pantry…even when I keep the door to it closed. While I try not to have goodies around the house at all times, wouldn’t life be grand if it could be that way? In any case, a good friend of mine and I were talking a few weeks ago about a brunch she had planned for the day after her sister’s wedding. At her house. With around 45 of her closest family members. My breathing got a bit shallow just trying to imagine how someone could possibly be involved in every aspect of a wedding, entertain family leading up to that wedding, enjoy all the festivities surrounding the wedding, and then wake up the next morning and play hostess to a brunch of such large proportions. After the near panic attack subsided, I wondered if I should offer to help. Everyone according to their gifts and talents, right? Would I be overstepping my boundaries if I offered to do a bit of baking for her gathering so she could focus on the important parts of the wedding?

After considering it for a while, I decided to at least offer. The worst thing that could happen was she’d politely decline my initiation to help.  At least that way, if she collapsed under the pressure of the myriad responsibilities of the weekend, I’d be able to watch from the sidelines, guilt free that I had offered to lend a hand…right? HA. She texted me back quickly and accepted my proposal. Woohoo! In another life, I would like to think that I’d have made a fine caterer, so this sort of thing really appealed to me. Instantly my mind was racing as to what the best choices for a summer post wedding brunch would be.  I had a few “of course” choices, but it wasn’t until the night before we actually began working our (hopefully) culinary magic that I finalized the menu in my mind and game plan.

My first choice is almost always cinnamon scones.  These are a hit, it seems, no matter where I bring them, so of course I had to make a batch or two. The hardest part about making these scones is giving them all away. My kids came into the kitchen (some more than once) and asked if we were keeping any. We didn’t. (Sorry, guys. I owe you a batch.)  The recipe for these delicious treats (which are easy to whip up!) can be found here.

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I consider scones to be the perfect brunch choice, so I found a second recipe to add to the mix.   These light, citrusy smelling orange scones seemed like a summery addition.  They were also easy to put together and I look forward to trying the recipe again for our own consumption!

This is how they turned out:

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Another last minute addition was a coffee cake I had made a couple years ago that I instantly loved.  In fact, the first time I made it, we enjoyed it so much that as soon as we finished the first cake, I immediately baked a second one.  The flavors of blueberry and lemon go so well together, and this cake impresses me because it’s not too heavy or sweet.  My only problem with it was the moment of truth:  removing it from the pan after baking and cooling.  I always forget the anxiety that sweeps over me in that split second of pleading with the combination of cake and pan to release effortlessly from each other.  Sometimes it does.  Sometimes it does not.  In the case of this cake, I used a fluted pan with a removable bottom, but it still almost broke apart in my hands.  My children got to witness first-hand me talking sternly to an inanimate object and my voice escalating as I hollered, “Noo, no, NOOOO!!!”  They were properly amused, and somehow the cake made it to the serving plate with only a small crack that was covered by glaze later on.

Here’s the cake after coming out of the pan:

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And here’s a shot after it received its lovely tart lemon glaze.

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One humorous note from the morning came when I asked Patrick to run downstairs for me and fetch the glass cake plate that I use probably twice a year.  I wondered if I should remind him to be extra careful with it on his trip up the steps since it is heavy.  And made of glass.  But then I chided myself, saying, “He’s a responsible 14-year-old boy who can handle carrying it upstairs.  Besides, of course he realizes he should be careful with it.”  So imagine my horror when, while in the kitchen I hear him about to come up the stairs followed by a strange crashing sound that resembled glass rolling around on the tile floor.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!  I shuddered and muttered something, waiting to hear his announcement of what would come next.   Chloe, who was sitting next to me at the table, simply announced, “Ohhhh, I’m glad I’m not him right now!!!”   (Thankfully, the crashing sound was a coincidentally occurring sound that did not come from the cake plate!)

Here’s said cake plate (unharmed and not broken) surrounded by delicious cake:

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When I discovered how many people would be attending the brunch, I decided to add a couple more choices to the menu.   Hannah helped me by mixing up the ingredients for this cinnamon sour cream coffee cake, which has been a proven winner in our home:

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And then I remembered a recipe for cherry danish that I had made many years ago for another post wedding brunch.   These easy little treats start with refrigerated breadsticks.  I simply brushed on melted butter and sprinkled a bit of sugar before spooning some cherry pie filling into the center of them before baking.  After they’re cooked and cooled, the last step is to drizzle glaze over the top.  I have to confess that I sampled one of these and was not disappointed!  Maybe that’s why I quickly packaged up the rest of the goodies so I couldn’t be tempted to try any more!

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By the time we had everything mixed, baked, cooled, glazed, and packaged,  it was time to start the flurry of activity in our house that is getting ready for a wedding–or any other social event, really.  We all had to rush around making sure clothes were ironed (and clothes FIT! Darn boys’ legs keep growing at warp speed!) and everyone had enough hot water for their showers.  Thankfully, we were out the door in plenty of time to arrive early for the wedding, ensuring a good seat.  And what a lovely wedding it was!   It was the happy union of two people who couldn’t be more perfect for each other, and we were overjoyed to be able to share in the celebration that they had found each other and were ready to begin their lives together.    The reception that followed was equally joyous–especially for the kids–as they completely enjoyed the dance floor and the music played.  We folks recovering from back surgery were content to watch the youngsters from the sidelines, amused and even a tad jealous of their lack of self consciousness.

As we dropped into bed much later that evening, I reflected upon the days’ events.  It had been a very, very good day.

The next morning, Todd and I excitedly dropped off the cache of goodies to our friends’ house as they did all the last minute preparations for the brunch.    I felt like the baked goods fairy making her morning delivery….though I was quite hesitant to part ways with that lemon blueberry cake…I think I see one in my future, perhaps as soon as my cake plate comes back to me….

Here are two recipes I thought might be worth sharing for anyone who cares to try them.

Best Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

      • 2 3/4 cups flour
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup butter or 1 cup margarine
      • 1 3/4 cups sugar
      • 4 eggs
      • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
      • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1 cup buttermilk
      • 1 1/4 cups blueberries, tossed with
      • 1 tablespoon flour

Glaze

    • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    • 8 -10 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
    • lemon zest ( to garnish)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F Butter a 12-cup bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, beat butter (or margarine) until smooth. Add sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in flour in three additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat for 2 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into prepared pan.
  4. Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edges of the pan. Turn out and cool completely.
  5. Glaze: in a small bowl, mix together confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and corn syrup until smooth. Drizzle over top of cake and let it roll down the sides.

Taken from http://www.food.com/recipeprint.do?rid=176927

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Double Orange Scones with Orange Butter

Scones

     2 cups all-purpose flour
      3 tablespoons sugar
      2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
      2 teaspoons grated orange peel
      1/3 cup butter or margarine
     1/2 cup mandarin orange segments (from 11 oz-can), chopped, drained
      1/4 cup milk
      1 egg, slightly beaten
      1 tablespoon sugar
Orange Butter
        1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
        2  tablespoons orange marmalade
Directions
  • Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  • In large bowl, mix flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder and orange peel. Cut in 1/3 cup butter, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add orange segments, milk and egg; stir with fork just until mixture leaves side of bowl and soft dough forms.
  • Place dough on floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. On cookie sheet, roll or pat dough into 7-inch round. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut into 8 wedges; separate slightly.
  • Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy; stir in marmalade. Serve with warm scones.

(Taken from www.pillsbury.com)

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