Orange Brown Sugar Cake with Orange Whipped Cream

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orange brown sugar cake with orange whipped cream by twocarolines.com

For me, the beach is not the best thing about living in Southern California, I’m not a beach kid, but nothing beats the taste of my backyard oranges – they are the flavor of sunshine, healing, bright happiness, and sweet citrus bliss – hands down my favorite thing about California.  Lately, we’ve been picking a bunch in the morning when they’re cold and juicing them for the family – it’s such a luxury.  When I saw this cake, I knew it would be a revelation with my So. Cali citrus and I was right!  It’s got such a sunny bright flavor and a very delicate crumb that makes it feel extra special.  Plus the glaze makes it have an incredible outside texture and flavor pop then you melt into the fluffy flavorful center and with a dollop of orange flecked whipped cream it’s pretty much winter dessert perfection!

For the Cake: 
8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 cups (12 ounces so a scant 3 cups) cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk (I used buttermilk which was awesome, but normal milk will still taste great)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

For the Glaze: 
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange marmalade

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream chilled
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  1.  Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350.  Spray or butter a 9″ springform pan and I made a parchment circle in the bottom so it would be easier to take the cake off the pan.  Also it’s helpful to wrap the bottom with a layer of foil to avoid any leaking.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Use a rasp-style grater to remove 1 tablespoon zest from the oranges.  Juice one of your oranges to yield 1/4 cup juice.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange and lemon zests on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just to combine.  Add the vanilla, and beat briefly to combine.
  4. In 3 additions and alternating with the milk and orange juice, add the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  5. Bake until the cake is just set in the center and golden brown, about 45 minutes.  A toothpick in the center should just come out with some moist crumbs.  If it looks like your cake is browning too much towards the end you can tent it with foil – but I didn’t need to do this.  Let your cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slide a knife around the cake to release the sides and pop open your spring form.  I recommend letting your cake cool for at least 30 minutes before moving it off your springform base onto a cake board or cooling rack.
  6. Poke little holes all over cake with a toothpick in 3/4 inch intervals.
  7. Make your glaze by combining the juice, sugar, and marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and whisk often until syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Brush the glaze onto the cake, letting some drip down the sides and into your holes.
  8. For the whipped cream, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and zest, raise the speed to medium high and continue to whip until medium soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes more.  Serve the cake with whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine Feb/March 2017 “Orange and Brown-sugar-glazed Cake with Orange Flecked Whipped Cream”

Striped Citrus Meringue Cookies

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Striped Citrus Meringue Cookies by twocarolines.com

While sitting with my 3 year old on the couch I did a quick browse on my Instagram and a video popped up on my Wilton feed with these beautiful little Meringue cookies – Millie excitedly said “Mom! They are like rainbow chocolate chips, we have to make them!” fullsizeoutput_657cObviously I am not capable of denying a face like this so we spent the afternoon making these beautiful cookies and then had a blast delivering them to friends.  Millie felt very strongly that they needed to be pink with stripes, so we put a touch of red food coloring in our stiff peaks, but you can do these so many ways.  They are the perfect cookie for any occasion that calls for “cute” such as a baby shower, childrens birthday or even a fun wedding.  I thought they were pretty but was not expecting them to taste too exciting, and I’m happy to report, they were just delicious!  Bright and sweet with a beautiful texture and nice vanilla lemon flavor.  They really are a joy to make and to eat! -CK 2.0

  • 6 large egg whites (fresh work best)img_4557
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • zest of 1 lemon, orange or lime (I used lemon and loved it!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
  • food dye of your choice
  1. Prepare 2 cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.  I ended up having leftover even after filling 2 cookie sheets so you might need another or you can just discard or eat your leftover meringue.  Preheat oven to 200
  2. put your 6 egg whites in the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer (you can use any heatproof bowl and a hand mixer too – but stand mixers are nice for meringue because stiff peaks take a while).  Add a pinch of salt and whisk it up a bit to break up your whites.  Next add your sugar and whisk all of that for a minute then put it over a pot of boiling water.  Continue whisking until your mixture is a little warm and the sugar granules are dissolved so you don’t feel them between your fingers.  Once the sugar is dissolved, take off the heat and add your 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar.  Set in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on a high setting until your get nice glossy stiff peaks. Once you have pretty stiff peaks add your citrus zest and vanilla.  We also added a touch of red coloring at this stage so our base color would be pink.
  3. Take a few dots of meringue and use it as glue between your parchment and cookie sheet so the parchment paper doesn’t try to come up while you pipe out your cookies.  To prepare your piping bag, find a tip that’s about 1/2 inch round – I used the Ateco 808 which worked perfectly.  I also used Wilton disposable piping bags, which are so handy, but you could fill any bag and I think it would work fine.  You could also use a star tip, but make it a large one.  Next, cut the hole in the bottom of your bag, make sure your tip is a tight fit, then paint with any paintbrush (or even your finger if you don’t have one) stripes down the sides of the bag of whatever color you want to pipe out.  We used blue and purple in ours which was really pretty, but suit yourself.  The color might not show up until you’ve piped out a few cookies FYI.  I put my bag into a tall vase and fold the top over all the way around.  This way I have a hard surface to scrape off and push down the meringue filling, but I can still get a clean twist at the top to squeeze with.  Piping out the cookies is easy, just apply a little pressure from the top with your tip close to the cookie sheet then stop pushing before you pull it up in a little twist.  There are lots of shapes you can do – have fun with it!
  4. Bake in a 200 degree oven for a good hour and a half.  Rotate somewhere in the middle of that and to let the cookies cool, just turn off the oven and let them cool in the oven.  They will be crisp, come off easily, but not brown.  I used tongs to put them on plates for friends because they did stick to my fingers a little.  Enjoy!

 

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striped lemon meringue cookies by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from Renee Conner – I got it from her youtube video that had some other fun videos too – check it out!

 

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

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blueberry lemon bundt cake by twocarolines.com

I’m in a wordpress meet-up that’s super fun and very well attended and I needed to bring a dessert that would be amazingly delicious, could feed a crowd, and wouldn’t take me all day.  This cake was all of that and more!  It’s so easy, no strange ingredients, and it’s a high volume cake that not only can feed a big room of word-pressers but it will make those you serve it to think you’re a cake genius!

Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups blueberries
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

lemon glaze:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 (more if you like it thicker, which I do) cups powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt; set aside.

  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream.

  3. In a bowl, toss blueberries and zest with remaining teaspoon flour; gently fold into batter. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray – for bundts I like to use the cooking spray that has flour for baking. Spread batter in prepared pan.

  4. Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes – mine was done in 60 but be sure to check for doneness, not bake times. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, top side up.

  5. For the glaze – mix the lemon juice and zest then add powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.  Pour over the top of cooled cake.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cakes Book Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

Citrus Poppy Seed Cake

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Citrus Poppy Seed Cake by twocarolines.com

Every now and then I want to bake a show stopper – something that isn’t easy, and it shows.  I was asked to bring a dessert to a church event and now that I have a pretty well established rep I decided to up my game – and I have to say, this gorgeous Citrus Poppy Seed Cake was greeted with loads of ooh’s and aaah’s, but the real satisfaction came when people tasted it, OUTSTANDING!  I love when a cake is even better than you want it to be.  All the fresh citrus made for such an amazing bright flavor and the cake itself was the perfect texture which is sometimes elusive with from scratch cakes.  Martha’s cream cheese frosting is the ideal combination of sweet and tart and the lemon glaze adds even more incredible flavor and texture.  Yes, it will take you a minute, but TRUST ME, it’s so totally worth it.  I can’t wait to make it again!

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature – plus more for pans
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
7 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon each finely grated lemon, orange and lime zests
1/4 cup poppy seeds

For the Filling:
12 ounces cream cheese room temperature
6 tablespoons butter room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar

For the Toppings:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 small lemons)
poppy seeds for sprinkling
lemon and orange peel, cut into thin strips for garnish

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place two racks in center of oven. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans; line each with a circle of parchment paper. Butter paper, and dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.  I didn’t have 8 inch pans so I used 9 inch which meant my bake time was reduced to 25-30 minutes.

  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-low speed until lightened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar; beat until color has lightened, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating on medium-low speed after each addition until batter is no longer slick but is smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop to scrape down bowl once or twice so batter will combine well. Beat in vanilla on medium-low speed.

  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Alternately add reserved flour mixture and milk, a little of each at a time, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl once or twice. Beat in lemon zest, orange zest, lime zest, and 1/3 cup poppy seeds.

  5. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes (less if your using 9 inch pans like I did), rotating pans often for even browning. My oven is the pits so I set my timer and switched them around every 7 minutes or the cake on bottom would have burned.  If you have a double oven that’s the best way to go so you don’t have one cake baking so close to the heat – or use convection.  I have neither of those things 😦 Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean.  Transfer to wire racks to cool, 15 minutes. Turn out cakes, and set on racks, tops up. Cool completely.

  6. Remove parchment from bottom of each layer. Save best-looking layer for the top. Place one layer on the serving platter. Spread 1 1/2 cups cream-cheese frosting over the top. Place second cake layer on top, and spread remaining 1 1/2 cups frosting over top. Place reserved layer on top. Chill cake, loosely covered with plastic wrap, 1 hour.

  7. To make the lemon glaze whisk together the 2 cups powdered sugar with the 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice until smooth.
  8. To serve, stir lemon glaze well, then pour onto center of top layer of cake, letting it run down the sides. Using a single-hole zester, cut long strips of zest from orange and lemon, if desired. Arrange zest in loose spirals on the top of cake, and sprinkle lightly with poppy seeds.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Cakes cookbook

Lemon Cream Pie

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Lemon Cream Pie by twocarolines.com

For sure at the top of my lemon dessert list, this Lemon Cream Pie is so tangy and tart with just the perfect amount of sweet.  I found it many years ago in Real Simple magazine but I’ve made some changes over time and it’s become a King Family classic.  In the original recipe they use gingersnaps for the crust – but I love it with speculoos or biscoff cookies.  Even if all you have around is graham crackers it will taste fantastic.  It tastes like sunshine, so it’s a great pie for a bad mood, there’s no possible way to be grumpy when eating a slice of sunshine!

Crust:
9 ounces speculoos (or gingersnaps or graham crackers) about 2 cups
6 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:
2 large eggs
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a food processor, process the cookies or grahams until fine crumbs form. Add the butter, granulated sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the salt and pulse until moistened. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate, using a straight-sided dry measuring cup to help. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges are dry and set, 16 to 18 minutes. (Note: The bottom will still appear moist and soft but will become firmer as it cools; this is a crunchy cookie crust, not a soft, graham cracker-style one.) Let cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, condensed milk, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake until set in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool and then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  3. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Spread on the pie, sprinkle with the additional zest, and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Real Simple Lemon Cream Pie