Dessert, Sweet

Blueberry Icebox Cake

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My husband and I love blueberries.  In fact, it is our favorite after-dinner dessert, whether we are trying to be healthy or not.  A few weeks ago,  I bought two large boxes of blueberries (in fear that we may not get fresh fruit for a while–pandemic and such).  With all the other easter/birthday related desserts I have been making (Raspberry-swirl Cheesecake, Banana Bread), we have not been able to go through the berries as fast as we normally do.   As a result, the berries needed saving.  I did not want to through them away and since I just made blueberry waffles, I wanted to make something different. Thus, the icebox cake was born.  I saw a recipe like this in Bon Appetit magazine and decided to make my own version with what I had in the pantry.  I also wanted to make it relatively healthy so that I could eat the cake every night and not feel guilty.   The recipe has a few steps, and it does require overnight freezing.  You may think it is labor-intensive but, making this was a welcome distraction to grading papers!  The overall verdict was that it “tastes good”, but “it could do with more layers” (I quote my husband).  Maybe, in the warmer months, I will try to tweak the recipe, but this will do wonderfully, for now.

Ingredients:

For the Blueberry filling:

4 cups of fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked

2Tbsp of cornstarch

4 Tbsp of water

3 Tbsp of sugar (add more if your berries are not sweet)

To make the filling:

 

 

Dump all the ingredients in a deep sauce-pot and turn the heat to medium-low and start stirring constantly.  This is important, you don’t want the berries to melt and stick to the bottom on the pot,  Nobody likes burnt filling.  You will need to stir constantly for about 5 minutes.  You can reduce the heat to low if you think that the berries are sticking to the bottom.  By the end of the process, you will have a pot full of gooey blueberries–resembling the consistency of pie filling.  Take the pot off the heat and cool completely.  Proceed to make the graham cracker crust.

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Ingredients:

For the graham crackers crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/8 cup sugar

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1 stick of butter

To make the crust mixture:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir all the ingredients, till it resembles wet sand.

 

 

Important note: Since I was “coming up” with the recipe, I grossly overestimated the amount of crumbs.  I ended up using about half of the butter, crumb mixture.  I made PB&J cookies with the rest–why waste ingredients?  You can most certainly halve the recipe.

Ingredients:

For the yogurt filling:

1 and 1/2 cup of vanilla greek yogurt

1/8 cup of sugar

2 cups of whipped topping

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste (you can use extract)

To make the filling:

Mix yogurt, sugar, and vanilla thoroughly till completely incorporate and smooth.

 

 

Gently fold in the whipped topping at the end.  Continue folding, till fully incorporated.

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To assemble the icebox cake:

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Line a 9X5 loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving some overhangs so that you can lift the cake out of the pan once it is set.

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Using a 1 cup measure, layer in the graham cracker crumbs.  Press down with the back of a spatula/measuring cup/or spoon to create a neat and flat crust.

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Pour in 1 cup of the yogurt mixture and smooth it out.

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Add all of the blueberries (I wanted to use up all the berries–that was the whole point of this recipe. My husband would have preferred a thinner layer of berries)

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Cover the berry mixture with 1 cup of crumbs–smooth it out.

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Top the crumbs with the remaining yogurt mixture and smooth it out.

 

 

Wrap the “cake” with the plastic wrap overhangs and set in the freezer overnight.

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Remove from the freezer and leave it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before unfolding.  If it is still frozen, you can place the bottom of the pan in a larger dish filled with tap/warm water–it should help with the unfolding process.

 

 

Unwrap the top of the cake and using the overhangs, gently lift the cake out of the loaf pan on to a cutting board.

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Slice into half-inch slices and serve!  It tastes better as it starts to thaw a bit, but you most certainly still want to enjoy it while it is cold.  This is indeed a perfect dessert for a hot summer’s day!

 

 

Cake, Middle Eastern, Pastry

Persian Love Cake

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Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 14 tablespoons baker’s sugar or superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds (removed from about 5 green cardamom pods)

Frosting

  • 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 8oz of marscapone cheese
  • 1/4 cup honey

Filling

  • 2, 6 oz cups of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of ground pistachios

PREPARATION

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff. Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)

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For frosting:
Combine 1/2 cup cream, honey and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes. Chill until cold.

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Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread greek yogurt and ground pistachios–you will have extra, save it and top your oatmeal with it. Top with second cake layer, flat side down.

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Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with strawberries

 

Breakfast, Dessert, Treats

Dessert for one

Fresh bluberries, plain greek yogurt, almond granola and a drizzle of local wildflower honey–sweet, tart and cool.  Can you think of a better dessert?