Friday, October 18, 2013

one berry-licious birthday cake

Lemon-Blueberry Birthday Cake with Lemon Curd Filling + Whipped Cream + Fresh Berries Toppings via design. bake. run.

i've been on a buttermilk fruity cake spree the last month or so. you know, i am in love with that lemon-blueberry cake i made a while back. for our little v's birthday earlier this month i decided that we should celebrate with that exact cake. the recipe only makes one 8-inch cake so i doubled it and turned it into a 2-layer cake with homemade lemon curd filling, all topped with some yummy home whipped cream and farmer's market fresh berries. yes, you can still find berries even this late in the season. i know we are already in fall, but being in SF, october is like our summer and those berries are still around. i'm not complaining.

anyway, the cake was delicious. the whipped cream and berries on top with the tart lemon curd filling (because i like my lemon curd more tart than sweet) were all just perfect. i think i had dessert (cake) first before eating my dinner that night we celebrated her birthday. i mean, c'mon... when you have something this good-looking? plus, i tend to eat my desserts first before a proper meal. i know, so awful, but that's the only way i have room for dessert! hehehe ;)

below are all the links to the recipes used to make this very pretty berry birthday cake. you can adjust any of the recipes to your liking. enjoy and happy baking! :)

Lemon-Blueberry Cake with Lemon Curd Filling, topped with Whipped Cream + Fresh Berries via design. bake. run.

Lemon-Blueberry Cake with Lemon Curd Filling + Whipped Cream + Fresh Berries Toppings via design. bake. run.

berry-licious birthday cake

  • 2 lots of this lemon-blueberry buttermilk cake recipe
  • 1 lot of this meyer lemon curd recipe
  • 1 lot of this whipped cream recipe (actually, you could probably get away with just half if you like)
  • fresh berries for topping (i used blackberries, raspberries and strawberries... of course, you can use any fruit of choice)

prepare all recipes per their instructions. once all of that is done, assemble the cake and topped with the whipped cream and fresh berries (or fruit, whichever) and enjoy! happy eating. :)

makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

pumpkin spice macarons

Pumpkin Spice French Macarons | design. bake. run.

i made my first pumpkin spice bread ever a couple of weeks ago. to make it, i had to open a giant can of pumpkin puree. okay, maybe not so giant, it was the 28 oz can though, but pretty big enough anyway. i had some leftover puree and didn't know what to do with it so i decided on making a pumpkin spice buttercream. now, what to do with the buttercream? okay, sure... why not some french macarons, just because.

so, here you have it! french macarons with pumpkin spice buttercream. what's not more fall or october than pumpkin?! okay, maybe apple pies or something (that's more fall?!). but pumpkin spice is pretty close too.

if you're a pumpkin spice lover (i'm slowly getting there, i think), you'll for sure love these cute little french cookies. as always, you must age your macarons for the best testing bite yet. i say wait at least a day or two before digging in. i typically let mine sit in the fridge for 2-3 days before consuming (of course, you gotta make sure you let them get to room temperature before eating). i love how light the texture of these macarons are. and when you bite into it, mmmm... it's perfectly chewy and soft and not mushy at all. oh, you must make sure you fill your macarons pretty good. definitely don't skimp on the buttercream. at least a 1:1 ratio of filling to cookie or 2:1 filling to cookie.

so, what do you say? go ahead and bake yourself a batch of these delicious goodies. or if macarons aren't your thing, you can just make the pumpkin spice buttercream and use it on some tasty cupcakes instead. but really, you should try the whole thing. it's yum. of course, i'm bias because i am i sucker for macarons or anything sweet (at least lately anyway). enjoy and happy baking! :)

Pumpkin Spice French Macarons | design. bake. run.
in an ode to autumn, what's more perfect than pumpkin spice?! these macarons are for sure the ideal little treats for this time of the year.

Pumpkin Spice French Macarons | design. bake. run.
these pumpkin spice macarons are great for fall gift-giving, especially to those pumpkin spice lovers out there. ;)

pumpkin spice french macarons with pumpkin spice buttercream


macaron batter:
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon gel or powder food color (optional)

pumpkin spice buttercream:
1-1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of salt
milk or cream (if needed)


to make the macaron batter/shells:
  1. line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.
  2. sift together the powdered sugar and almond meal so there are no lumps. add in the pumpkin spice and stir it to make sure it's fully incorporated with the sugar and almond meal mixture. set aside.
  3. in the bowl of a standing electric mixer (or if you prefer, you can use a bowl and hand mixer), beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. while whipping, beat in the sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
  4. carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. if you want to color your macarons, this is when you'd want to add in your gel or powdered food coloring. the more color you add, the darker the batter or finished cookie color it will be. i typically just do 1/4 teaspoon of gel food coloring, sometimes 1/2. you could do more or less depending on your desire shade. when the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you're alone).
  5. pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.35-inch circles evenly spaced one-inch apart.
  6. rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. then let it sit for at least 30-60 minutes depending on humidity before baking them in the oven. about 10-15 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. bake for 15 minutes.
  7. once macaron shells are out of the oven, let them sit for 30-60 seconds before removing the hot baking sheet underneath. let the macarons cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper.

for the pumpkin spice buttercream:
  1. cream butter and sugar together until well blended.
  2. then add in the pumpkin puree and spices. mix until everything is incorporated and you get the right consistency for buttercream. if the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. if it's too thick, add a little bit of milk or cream (about 1 teaspoon at a time) to thin it out until you reach your desired consistency.

to assemble the macaron cookies:
  1. before assembling these cookies, make sure to pair up all the cookie shells so they are as close as possible in size.
  2. using a knife, spread a good amount of the pumpkin spice buttercream on the inside of the macarons then sandwich them together. note: you can certainly put the buttercream in a piping bag and pipe the buttercream onto the cookie. it's a lot easier i think and less messy. but i can't be bother to do this so i almost always just spread it with a knife.
  3. let them stand at least one day (keep them refrigerated) before serving (serve at room temperature), to meld the flavors.

store in airtight container for up to 5 days. makes 20-24 macarons. happy eating!

Friday, October 4, 2013

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips via design. bake. run.

happy october! so, does this mean we can really kick off the holiday baking now? okay, maybe not entirely, but enough. and what better way to kick off this fabulous time of year other than the october staple, pumpkin! yup, nothing says fall or october like some pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin latte, pumpkin anything.

i've never made pumpkin bread before until last week. like, never ever. and that's because i don't even care for pumpkin puree or pumpkin baked goods. but i will confess that i have soften up around this particular flavor. just a couple of weeks ago m and i decided we would give starbucks' pumpkin spiced latte a try and turns out we love it. i still won't eat a piece of pumpkin pie, but i'll eat half a slice of pumpkin bread and a few pumpkin spice macarons. or drink a few mouthfuls of m's pumpkin spice latte whenever he gets it. but other than that, that's it. you can say i only take my pumpkin flavor goodies in small dosages.

now, that's not to say that this pumpkin bread here isn't incredible because it totally is. m himself isn't a fan of pumpkin bread either, but he's come to love this particular one. i finally made it after asking for the recipe 3 years ago from a coworker. you can say i thought it was about time we try out this recipe. the recipe makes two so i brought one into work and left one for home. the work one disappeared quickly, of course. the home one, we're still trying to finish up. but that's just because there's so few of us who would eat anything baked around the house these days considering we're so watchful of our figure. hahahaha, yeah, whatever. i'm eating all sorts of sweets like crazy here.

alright, the recipe is below. it's super simple to make. so if you're looking for the perfect pumpkin bread, why not try this. it may just be the one for you. it makes 2 loaves and tastes great on its own or with nuts and chocolate chips added. i'm sure if you only want one loaf, you can half the recipe. i made the recipe as is and got the 2 loaves. i also added nuts to one and chocolate chips to the other and both were delicious. enjoy and happy baking! :)

Pumpkin Bread via design. bake. run.
i love how you can add just about anything to this pumpkin bread. of course, the added pecan is just perfect, especially for this time of year.

Pumpkin Breads via design. bake. run.
this recipe makes enough for 2 loaves. perfect for giving one away as a gift or freezing one in the freezer for later. just make sure you thaw it until it gets to room temperature and enjoy as you'd normally would. yum!

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips via design. bake. run.
this pumpkin bread is perfect as a morning treat with coffee or snack anytime of day.

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips via design. bake. run.
you can't go wrong with pumpkin bread this time of year. add some chocolate chips to the batter to mix things up. :)

pumpkin bread

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips or nuts of your choice (walnuts, pecans, etc) -- these are optional


preheat oven to 350°f.

in a good size bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, spices). then in a separate bowl, mix together all the wet ingredients (butter, pumpkin, eggs, water). fold in the wet mixture into the dry mix; and fold until a batter is formed. bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you test it. let it cool slightly before digging in. makes 2 loaves. enjoy! :)

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