Earl Grey Tea Cake With Dark Chocolate and Orange Zest

This cake is from the NYT – it so light and magical – the orange zest, chocolate bits and early gray are a winning combination. I upped the cream cheese and cut the cake in half because I like frosting in the middle of my cake.

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ¾ c heavy cream
  • 2 tsp loose Earl Grey tea
  • ¼ c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 c cream cheese

FOR THE CAKE:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 ½ c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ c whole milk, at room temperature
  • ¼ c chopped dark chocolate

PREPARATION

  1. Prepare the frosting: In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 c heavy cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the tea, remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Strain the tea through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids, and chill the remaining cream until completely cold, at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, tea, baking powder and salt.
  3. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the orange zest and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the flour mixture on low, until just combined, then beat in the milk. (Don’t overmix.) Add the chocolate and fold it in using a spatula. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake just until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then tip the cake out onto the rack to cool completely. Slice in half, flipping one half onto a plate.
  4. To finish the frosting, add cream cheese with confectioners sugar and best until light and airy. On low speed add the cream and beat slowly increasing the speed until smooth.
  5. Spread 1/3 the frosting on the first layer. Flip the second layer on top. Top the cake with the remaining frosting to serve.
  6. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days; let come to room temperature before serving.

Artichoke Dip Pasta

This pasta dish has all the things you love about artichoke dip and it’s vegan! Of course if that’s not your jam you can use regular cream cheese.

  • 6 oz pasta
  • 3 oz vegan cream cheese
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, reserve the marinate
  • 1/4 c pickled jalapeños
  • 1 bag baby spinach

Cook pasta according to package.

Combine cream cheese, artichoke hearts and jalapeños in a food processor and pulse till smooth, use marinate to thin as needed. Heat over low heat, add pasta and spinach cook until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4.

Lime Cheesecake

I love cheesecake and adding lime juice gives it the perfect tartness.

Ingredients:
2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 36 squares)
1/2 cup butter, melted
FILLING:
20 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 c sour cream
3 tbsp flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup lime juice
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.

In a food processor crush the graham crackers, then add butter and pulse to combine. Press into a 10 inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes and set aside.

Best sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream, beat till smooth. Add eggs, beat till smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat till smooth. Pour into pan. Bake for 55 minutes until almost set.

Cool 10 minutes, the run a knife among the edge of the pan. Cool completely and refrigerate overnight.

Serves 10 – 12.

Blueberry Cheesecake


These are super easy and low fat. 

Ingredients:
8 oz light cream cheese
1 c Fat Free Greek Yorgurt
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1 c blueberries
1/2 c blueberry preserves, with no sugar
1/4 c toasted sliced almonds

In a mixer beat the cream cheese, yogurt and sugar until smooth.

Divide between 8 small desert bowl, spoon blueberry preserves over, then fresh blueberries and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Chill for at least an hour.

Serves 4.

Guilt-Free Carrot Cake

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I love carrot cake and although carrot sounds healthy the cake past is not. This version swaps out the butter for yogurt and cuts back on the sugar for a moist and dense cake.

Ingredients:
10 oz grated carrots, minced in a food processor
1 1/4 c whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom, optional
2 large eggs
2/3 c coconut palm sugar
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c low-fat vanilla yogurt
8 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP milk
Coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan.

Combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat eggs, add sugar, oil and yogurt until light and frothy. Add flour mixture and combine. Stir in carrots.

Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla, if too think add the milk.

Spread over cooled cake and top with coconut flakes.

Serves 10.

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Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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My baby turned 3 this week -sniff. His cake request was “light chocolate cake” as opposed the dark. So I looked for a sheet cake that was “light chocolate”. This recipe fit the bill, it appeared on about 40 different websites, the Pioneer Woman came up #1, so lets give her credit (she’s also a great food blogger)! I used a light cream cheese frosting that worked wonderfully and opted for a thicker cake so I used a 13×9 pan. This cake is very moist and most important of all – approved by the birthday boy. The non-birthday boy requested it for his birthday next month.

FOR THE CAKE:
2 c Flour
1 1/2 c Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
5 TBSP Cocoa
2 sticks Butter
1 c Boiling Water
1/2 c Buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla
_____
FOR FROSTING:
8 oz light cream cheese
4 TBSP Cocoa
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 c Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 & spray your pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minute then you can flip out or allow to cool completely in pan. Frost when cool.

FROSTING:
Combine all ingredient in a food processor. Process until combined. Frost your cake.

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Smoked Salmon Tartine

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Now that I’m working from home most days of the week, I’m determined to make healthy and tasty lunches. Nothing beats an open faced sandwich also known as Tartine.

Ingredients:
2 oz smoked salmon
1 TBSP light cream cheese
1 slice multi-grain bread, toasted
Red onion, thinly sliced
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Capers
Cornichons

Spread cream cheese on bread. Top with salmon, onions, cucumber and capers.

Serves 1.

Artichoke Dip

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This recipe comes from Food & Wine Magazine and its a winner! I used light cream cheese and canned artichokes in water. I also used a lot less oil by opting for a non stick skillet.

2 large shallots—1 minced, 1 thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
14 oz canned artichoke hearts
1/4 c dry white wine
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c shredded Gruyère
2 TBSP chopped parsley
1 1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Tabasco
1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 c panko

Preheat the oven to 400°.

In a medium skillet, heat the 1 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the minced shallot and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes; let the mixture cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese with the Gruyère, parsley, lemon juice, Tabasco and 1/2 c of the Parmigiano. Fold in the artichoke mixture and season the dip with salt and pepper. Scrape into a shallow 3-cup baking dish and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the panko and remaining Parmigiano on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until heated through and lightly golden on top.

Meanwhile, in a non stick skillet, heat 1 tsp of olive oil until shimmering. Add the sliced shallot and fry over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried shallot to paper towels to drain and cool. Sprinkle the fried shallot on top of the artichoke dip and serve with toast points and crudités.

Artichoke Dip

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It’s Friday night and I want a yummy appetizer to go with our margaritas! This dip comes together so quick and tastes amazing!

Ingredients
6 oz spinach
1 can artichoke hearts
6 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 c grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 jalapeño pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Heat in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir and serve hot.

Serves 4 – 6.

Vanilla Cheesecake Bars

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I was craving cheesecake and Bake or Break posted this on Facebook today – so of course I had to give them a try!! I lightened them up a bit.

Ingredients:
For the crust:

1/4 c unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c coconut palm oil

1/3 c sugar
1 & 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

For the filling
:
16 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/2 c coconut palm sugar

1/2 c half & half
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 TBSP vanilla extract

1 TBSP all-purpose flour


To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″x 13″ baking pan.

Beat butter palm oil and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.


To make the filling:
Place cream cheese, sugar, and half & half in the bowl of a stand mixer or a food processor. Mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture, or add extract if using. Add flour. Mix until smooth.


Pour filling over partially baked crust. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until the filling is set. 
Refrigerate until ready to cut into bars and serve.

Serves 24.