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Entries in raspberry (10)

Monday
Dec092013

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Each year, just before the turn of the new year, marks the anniversary of the day I quit graduate school in physics. Though it has only been three years, it feels like a lifetime ago. I feel so much older than that bright eyed girl with high hopes and soaring dreams. The hopes are no less great, but a touch of experience has tethered me a little closer to earth. I feel as if it is difficult to keep track of all the changes since then, all the emotions—positive and negative, exciting and disappointing—that I have passed through. I’m older. Not just three years, but what feels like a decade in life and stress and growing.

I’m not the same person I was then, but I wouldn’t want to change the person I’ve become.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake Cranberry Upside Down Cake

The past year has been exhausting. I feel as if I have been running forward, so eager to get on my path, to find where I am supposed to be, that I’ve forgotten to stop and just breathe. I have been trying to do too much, a phrase which has become my unwanted motto for many, many months. Some lessons take longer to learn than others. Since I stopped baking professionally over a year ago, I went back to grad school for a masters in education, with the goal of becoming a high school physics teacher.

When I stopped pursuing physics, I swore up and down (and left and right) that I would never stray towards science again. I had convinced myself so thoroughly of this that I threw away every physics notebook I had kept all the way back to high school in a ceremonial sweep (a sin that I have since regretted).

Cranberry Upside Down Cake Cranberry Upside Down Cake

In August, I took on my first teaching job—you can call me Ms. Rosenau now. Teaching for the first time is a whirlwind. I feel as if I should have been a little more forewarned of the adventure ahead. Teaching is more overwhelming and challenging than I could have imagined, consuming all of my time and energy to create entire curriculums from scratch. Teaching is also extraordinarily rewarding. There truly is never a dull moment when surrounded by 80 sixteen and seventeen year olds both eager to learn and hungry to distract.

If you had told me three years ago that this is where I would have ended up, I may have very well laughed in your face. Life, I found, keeps me on my toes. Once I am certain I have everything figured out, it throws another curve in my path and sends me in a new direction. Even so, right now this is where I feel like I am meant to be. I just hope that life waits a few more years before sending me around the next bend.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Upside Down Cake is tart, textured, and colorful enough to impress your holiday guests. The cranberries are cooked on the stove until they "pop" and release their juices. Mixed with raspberries and a bit of orange zest, it forms the bottom (or "top") of the cake. A quick cake batter is mixed up, which is made with brown sugar and sliced almonds for a bit of texture and greater depth of flavor. The cake itself is on the tarter side, but will not make you wish for more sugar. Share with family and friends to bring out the holiday spirit.

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Sunday
Jun302013

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Tarts

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

The Fourth of July is one of those holidays that I hold close to my heart. It may not have the magic of Christmas or the table spread of Thanksgiving, but it has its own charm. Laughter, love, hot plates of grilled food, the boom of a good firecracker, and the glow of a flickering bonfire—these are things that define the holiday for me. During the long days of summer, taking a break, even for a day, to start up the grill or enjoy the warm sun with friends and family feels like a blessing.

This year I can't wait to lay beneath the stars and watch the fireworks explode brilliantly above.

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

For celebrations and get-togethers, I like to challenge myself to come up with a new dessert to serve my loved ones. In the case of the Fourth of July, when potlucks and picnics are plentiful, the dessert should be portable and require no special dishes so they can be quickly snatched from the table and enjoyed on the run. While I debated between popsicles and pies, ultimately the decision made itself when I spied the red and blue berries at the market.

Though these do need to be kept chilled, these festive no-bake cheesecakes fit the holiday just right. The cheesecakes can be whipped up in less than an hour, making them an easy dessert to prepare (and an even easier dessert to devour).

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

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Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

Berry No-Bake Cheesecake Tarts are a fantastic way to celebrate summer. A soft sugar cookie crust is filled with a heaping helping of vanilla cheesecake filling. The filling is whipped, which gives the tarts a light quality. Topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries, the tarts play between sweet and tart, never swaying too far in one direction. These tarts make for a lovely end to a vibrant summer meal.

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Wednesday
Mar272013

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

The first signs of spring are arriving—slowly, ever so slowly, but surely. Living in the Upper Midwest, you might guess it to be the middle of winter if you took a peek outside my living room window. With twelve foot snow piles dotted around the buildings and snow drifts so tall it is difficult to see around intersections when driving a car, it certainly does not feel like the first day of spring has already come and gone. Just a few days ago, Mother Nature dropped the temperatures into negative digits once more; I have become so accustomed to the cold that I don't even wrap a scarf around my neck or reach for a hat before walking out the door.

It is hard for me to imagine that April is right around the corner.

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

There is a ray of hope in all this snow, however, and it comes in the form of sunshine. Growing ever stronger, the rays are bright and warm in the sky, melting the snow and brightening the early morning hours even when the air is cold. When the light begins to fade at eight o'clock in the evening, I can scarcely believe my eyes (eight o'clock!). These small signs assure me that spring is near, even if it feels so far away right now.

When I was perusing the shelves of my local supermarket last weekend, I noticed that raspberries were on sale. While I know winter berries are not as vibrant in color or in flavor, I could not help but add a couple pints into my cart. After surviving on citrus fruits and apples since the advent of fall, I needed a little sweetness in my life in the form of a red, ripe berry.

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Inspired by one of my favorite cupcake recipes, I swapped out the blueberries for red raspberries and a hint of lemon. A simple cream cheese frosting ties the flavors together. As with most of the sweets I bake in my kitchen, I feel they should be shared with others who may find a bit of happiness in a big bite. I took them to a gathering of friends and watched them disappear over the course of the evening. As I saw people reach for seconds (and thirds), I felt certain you would fall in love with them just as effortlessly.

In many ways, I feel as if this cupcake represents the transition between two places, between winter and spring. While the seasonal lemon is bright and fresh, ripe raspberries will be here sooner than I dare to believe—the merging of two seasons.

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes are vibrant, fresh, and perfect for the arrival of spring. A vanilla cupcake batter is infused with lemon zest, lemon juice, and few handfuls of red raspberries. The sweetness of the cupcake is countered by the tart fruits and the bold tang of the cream cheese frosting. Decorated with a few fresh raspberries, these simple cupcakes become a sophisticated dessert destined to be shared.

One Year Ago: Arborio Rice Pudding
Two Years Ago: Orange Scones

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Yields about 18 cupcakes

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes
3/4 cup (169 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (76 grams) sour cream (or plain, non-fat yogurt)
1/4 cup (59 ml) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces or 255 grams) fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a cupcake pan with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes). Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the milk and lemon juice, stirring until batter is uniform and smooth. Gently stir in the raspberries.

Fill baking cups about 2/3 full and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack, and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups (500 grams) powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. If frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Likewise, if the frosting is too stiff, add milk until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

Before serving, pipe or spread frosting on top of cooled cupcakes and decorate with a few fresh raspberries, if desired. If cupcakes will sit out more than a day, keep refrigerated in an airtight container to help preserve them. Serve at room temperature.