This cake is a spin on the classic Southern caramel cake. A moist banana cake is swirled with rich caramel sauce and covered with a creamy caramel frosting. The frosting uses nutty browned butter and salted caramel for a unique spin on the traditional recipe and is much easier to spread. You can use dulce de leche or any other thick caramel sauce for both the cake and the frosting (I use Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce). Sugar-coated pecans make the perfect topper for the cake. Happy Mother’s Day!
For the cake:
- 10 Tablespoons UNSALTED BUTTER, ROOM TEMP
- 1 1/4 Cups SUGAR
- 2 mashed bananas
- 1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
- 1/3 Cup CARAMEL SAUCE
- 2 each EGGS
- splash VANILLA EXTRACT
- 2 Cups AP FLOUR
- 1/2 teaspoon BAKING POWDER
- 1 Cup MILK
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Grease two 9″ cake pans.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
- Add sugar, carmel sauce, mashed bananas and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
- Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
- Sift flour and baking powder.
- Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dries.
- When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time.
- 8. Add another third of the dries, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dries.
- Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds. making sure batter is uniform.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
- 2 sticks UNSALTED BUTTER
- 1 Pound CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR, SIFTED
- 2-3 Tablespoons MILK
- 2 teaspoons VANILLA EXTRACT
- 1/2 cup CARAMEL SAUCE
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
- Cook butter until brown.
- Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
- Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of milk and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.
Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s naturally sweet and when roasted it gets caramelized on the outside while remaining creamy and luxurious on the inside. Simply cube the squash and roast it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. It’s full of fiber, potassium vitamin B6 and folate. It goes great paired with spinach that has been sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes for a spicy kick. It’s a healthy and comforting side dish.
A classic sugar cookie is hard to beat. I’ve always loved the chewy sugar cookies they sell at Fresh Market and this recipe is the closest I’ve come to recreating them at home. A crackly sugar coating gives way to a buttery, doughy, chewy middle. The key is under baking them slightly so they don’t get too crispy while they cool. The extra egg yolks give these cookies a warm richness and the cream of tartar helps them maintain their shape while keeping them tender on the inside. I like making some mini cookies and sandwiching them with jam, nutella or ice cream…
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup sugar (sanding or granulated) for rolling cookies
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl sides and bottom. Add yolks, vanilla, and salt and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Add flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix on low speed until dough comes together. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons and roll between your hands until smooth.
- Roll dough in sanding or granulated sugar to coat and place on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets. Bake cookies until they are golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, about 11-13 minutes. Immediately transfer to a rack to cool completely.
The SoBe Wine and Food Festival is held annually in South Beach and this year the turn out was bigger than ever. With over 60,000 guests, it’s a 4 day destination event that showcases the best in food and wine from around the county. When you walk up the beach front tents you are handed a wine glass and sway bag full of samples and once you enter the Grand Tasting village, there are hundreds of food, wine and liquor distributors passing out delicious tastes. Some of my favorite Food Network celebrity chefs hosted cooking demonstrations including Martha Stewart, Tyler Florence, Alex Guarnaschelli, Aaron Sanchez, Pat and Gina Neely, Curtis Stone, Masaharu Morimoto, and Nigella Lawson. It’s one of my favorite events and with gorgeous weather and lots of beach and pool time this year didn’t disappoint! Check out their website for more information.
These bars are the perfect combination of salty, sweet, crunchy and chewy. Peanut butter and butterscotch is one of my favorite flavor combinations. When you combine peanut butter, agave, and brown sugar you get a mixture that’s creamy, rich, decadent and tastes like the middle of a butterfinger candy bar. You simply pour the mixture over cereal and let it set until the bars are firm enough to cut. You can use almost any cereal you want (I used cornflakes for these but special K and rice crispies work well too.) Think of them as “healthy” butterfingers!
- 1/4 cup agave
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 3-4 cups cornflakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, agave and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted.
- Pour the mixture over the cereal and stir to combine.
- Press the cereal mixture into a greased 8×8 inch pan and allow to set until cool before cutting into bars.
Filed under Recipes, Sweets
Everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie. I’ve shared quite a few recipes on this blog… oatmeal, thick and chewy, the famous Neiman Marcus recipe, but so far these are my favorite. The secret to this recipe is browned butter. You place the butter in a saucepan and cook it until specks of brown appear and it smells nutty and toasted. Then you cool it slightly and add it to the rest of the ingredients. A teaspoon of cornstarch helps these cookies hold their shape and the brown butter gives them an irresistible richness. They’re dense and chewy and best warm out of the oven. The best part is the dough freezes well so when life gets too crazy to bake you can pull them out and have warm chocolate chunk cookies in minutes.
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned (see above)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chunks
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the browned butter and sugars on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the egg, vanilla, and beat until combined.
- Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
- Add the chocolate chips and chunks, and either fold in by hand or beat for a few seconds on low speed.
- Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Using a 2-ounce cookie scoop, form heaping mounds and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and allow to cool.
Yard House is an upscale, casual restaurant and bar and one of the newest additions to the North Hills dining scene. Known for great food, classic rock music and 140 taps of imported, craft and specialty ales and lagers, it’s already a Raleigh staple – you’ll want to make a reservation to get a table most nights. Whether you’re in the mood for a grilled burger and a pint or pan seared ahi and and a fresh salad, they’ve got something for everyone. Their menu of American fusion cuisine features more than 130 items including appetizers, salads, pastas, sandwiches, street tacos, grilled burgers, individual-size pizzas, seafood, steaks and ribs. Inside it’s fun and modern. Check out their menu at www.yardhouse.com.
There’s something about a cozy fireplace, hot chocolate and cookies at Christmas time. It’s one of the few times of the year when we let ourselves take break and just enjoy the the little things. These cookies are my Mom’s favorite and are about as warm and cozy as it gets. They combine the spicy heat of ginger with all the familiar holiday spices for an addictive sweetness. I like how they look crackled and homemade on the top, and a crisp sugar crust gives way to a chewy, fudgy center. Merry Christmas!! Phillipians 4:4-7
Click here for the recipe (which comes from the Barefoot Contessa).
I love baking for people year-round but especially at Christmas. Food is a great to show people you love them in this season of giving. These are two of my favorite holiday gift recipes I originally published in SavorNC Magazine : Pumpkin Cranberry Bread and Rosemary Shortbread. The pumpkin bread is filled with warm holiday spices and juicy cranberries — perfect for Christmas morning breakfast, and the shortbread has specks of fresh rosemary for a dressed up twist on a classic. Click Gift-worthy Goodies for the PDF version.
These macaroons are one of my all-time favorite cookies. I’ve made a healthified version of coconut macaroons on this blog before but these are a little more decadent for the holidays. They’re dense and chewy and almost fall more into the category of a candy. As they’re baked, the coconut gets golden and caramelized on the outside and remains pale and creamy the inside. They’re great by themselves or you can recreate an a “Mounds” bar by dipping them in dark chocolate.
- 1-1/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cook egg whites and sugar in a double boiler over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved (8-10 minutes).
- Stir in the salt, vanilla, coconut, and flour and stir until combined.
- Chill the batter at least an hour.
- Using and ice cream scoop, portion the dough onto greased and parchment lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.