Cakes

Apple Crumb Cake

Apple Crumb Cake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a fun and simple way to use apples or pears or other fall produce. A simple fluffy cake recipe sweetened with applesauce and chunks of peeled apples. The topping is a crumble streusel that adds a bit of crunch to every bite. This cake is a great breakfast coffee cake or dessert to share with friends. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

I have a black thumb.

For three years, I’ve tried to cultivate a healthy garden of herbs and veggies and I’m starting to realize that I’m the problem. I’m the weakest link.

Pepper and parsley plants tremble at the thought of being planted in my backyard. Squash and zucchini don’t stand a chance. Even basil, supposedly the easiest and most forgiving of plants to attempt in a home garden, can’t survive a summer at my place. I fry those suckers every time.

If we were in hunter/gatherer times now, I would not be a surviver. You would find me somewhere in the woods, gagging on grass and brown, spotty tomatoes that undoubtedly had already been predigested by a worm (or something worse). I seriously lack gardening skills.

I blame my own laziness (who wants to water a garden?!) and basic agricultural know-how. It’s really much easier to just buy my produce from the store and farmer’s market, but I’m convinced that growing my own food would be so much more healthy and rewarding. 

My husband says we will someday plant a real, legit garden and so long as he’s okay with sewing the man hours, I’m fine with reaping all of the rewards. When that day comes, I’ll request an apple orchard and if the tree survives long enough to produce fruit, you better believe I’ll be making this apple crumb cake.

Apple Crumb Cake

This apple crumb cake might be the most fool-proof recipe on my blog to date. It’s extra fancy because it works with a variety of different types of fruit, so if you happen to be one of those weirdos who doesn’t like apples, you could totally use pears, berries, plums, etc. 

This time of year, apple desserts and crumb cakes kinda feel like a dime a dozen, but I really stand behind this fluffy friend. It’s moist and fragrant thanks to the applesauce and spices, and the crumb topping is delicious. In fact, if you decide to pick all the little crumbles right off the top of this apple crumb cake and nibble away like a little church mouse, I would not blame you. 

Apple Crumb Cake

Apple crumb cake is the perfect ode to October, the changing seasons, and those gorgeous little apples my green-thumbed friends are picking this time of year. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Cheers to you and happy Monday!

Apple Crumb Cake

 

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Apple Crumb Cake

Apple Crumb Cake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a fun and simple way to use apples or pears or other fall produce. A simple fluffy cake recipe sweetened with applesauce and chunks of peeled apples. The topping is a crumble streusel that adds a bit of crunch to every bite. This cake is a great breakfast coffee cake or dessert to share with friends. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This apple crumb cake is moist and fragrant, simple cake specked with bits of apples and topped with a sweet and rich crumb topping.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Cake
Scale

Ingredients

For the streusel

  • 1/4 cup (50 gm) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (60 gm) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (110 gm) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 (160 gm) cups all-purpose flour

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup (110 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 (150 gm) cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of boiled cider (optional)
  • 1 cup (240 gm) of no sugar added applesauce
  • 1 1/4 (155 gm) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 gm) of small diced apples (about 1 granny smith)

Instructions

To prepare the streusel

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the butter to combine. Add the flour and stir just until combined.
  2. Set aside while you prepare the cake.

To prepare the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9″ springform pan with baking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring briefly to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla, cider, and applesauce. Beat to combine. In a separate bowl, toss together the dry ingredients and then add to the bowl of the stand mixer. Stir just until combined and then gently fold in the chopped apple.
  3. Spread the batter on the bottom of the pan and smooth. Then, crumble the streusel evenly over the top of the cake.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. The cake can be eaten warm or at room temperature, but is best enjoyed within 3 days.

Recipe adapted from: Ina Garten

Concord Grape Upside Down Cake

concord grape upside down cake recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a buttery golden single layer cake made with juicy seedless concord grapes. The cake gets baked in the oven and gooey pieces of fruit keep the cake moist for days. This is a great cake to eat for breakfast or dessert or tea time. Make this cake in a springform pan. Find the recipe and how to roast grapes on thewoodandspoon.com

Have you ever met someone that speaks your language?

No, I’m not talking English, French, or (to speak of my suffering initiative at learning a second language) Spanglish. I’m talking your heart language. Someone who gets stuff the way you do.

Humor me for a minute.

When my friend Lauren texts me a picture of the Kate Spade “Eat Cake For Breakfast” bag or says “OMG, me too!” for the millionth time in our conversation, it’s because she speaks my language. Or when my friend Kate posts this video of cats trotting on a treadmill to my Facebook wall for the millionth time… I’m sorry, but that mess gets me every time. Or when I tear up a bit during deep conversation with my mom because she’s somehow managed to put words to feelings I’m experiencing and it’s like I’m being realized for the first time… she’s speaking my language. 

concord grape upside down cake

What I mean is that sometimes a person’s passions, thoughts, and joys align perfectly with your own, and when it happens, it’s an incredible sense of relief/satisfaction because you realize that you’re not alone, that someone sees you, and that there’s someone who identifies with who you are. If you haven’t experienced this yet, you will. Give it time. And if you have, you know exactly what I mean.

This is how I often feel about my friend Rayne. She’s newer on the lineup of people I would categorize as “Best,” but she’s essential in that I think she gets it. Rayne can speak almost every dialect of my heart language fluently and does so with seemingly little effort. This girl loves well, is tremendously thoughtful, and has helped grow in me a spiritual strength, resilience, and faithfulness just by living it out in her own life. She lives in the proverbial presidential suite of my heart and if you knew her, you’d know she wouldn’t accept anything less. Really, she’s just the best. 

My prayer for you today is that you all would have a showering (excuse the pun) of Raynes in your life- if not today, someday soon. That there would be a life on this earth that you find so beautiful, rare, and exciting that you can’t help but love and celebrate them to the fullest measure. I think we all need a person that brings us that much joy, so my hope for you is that you’ll find yours. 

concord grape upside down cake

One thing that Rayne and I don’t see eye to eye on is upside down cake. I don’t always get it but she lovvees it. A few months ago, she was trying to convince me that pineapple upside down cake was an underrated, top 5 dessert, and honestly, I think I tuned her out because ew. Just ew. Never one to turn down a challenge though, I started researching upside down cakes and finished my investigation rather surprised at the delicious outcomes. 

So today, in honor of Rayne, I have two things for you:

First, a letter. For you, for your heart friend, for whoever. Download this free letter template and write to someone who speaks your language. Tell them you see them and that they mean something to you. And tell them why. It feels good to receive gratitude and it feels even better to give it. So make it rain (Rayne?) some love on someone today.

Second, a recipe for this concord grape upside down cake. If you’ve never roasted grapes, that in and of itself is worth it because the change in flavor is extraordinary. This is a messy cake and it’s not much to look at but it pairs beautifully with cheese and wine so there’s that at least. Similar to my favorite Kate Spade bag, I absolutely adore eating this at breakfast, because cake without frosting usually just reads “BREAKFAST” to me. Whenever you eat it, definitely share a slice with your friend and let them know they’re worth making weird fruity cakes for. 

concord grape upside down cake

I’d love to hear how you celebrate the people you love. If you have any ideas, or recipes you like the share with your favorites, please tell me about them in an email or the comments section below. 

Happy Tuesday and cheers to you!

Click here to view the free downloadable letter template!

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Concord Grape Upside Down Cake

This sweet concord grape upside down cake made with a warm, honey caramel and sweet roasted fruit is delicious, rustic option for breakfast, dessert, and everything in between.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless concord grapes
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir 6 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and honey in heavy medium skillet over low heat until butter melts and sugar and honey blend in, forming thick, smooth sauce.
  3. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides.
  4. Top with the grapes.
  5. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl.
  6. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter in large bowl until light.
  7. Add sugar and beat until creamy.
  8. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in extracts.
  9. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing just until blended.
  10. Spoon batter evenly over plums.
  11. Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool in pan 30 minutes.
  12. Using knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Place platter atop cake pan. Invert cake; place platter on work surface. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently lift off pan.
  13. Serve cake warm with whipped cream.

Notes

  • Be sure to purchase SEEDLESS concord grapes. This is one case where seeds simply will not do! Other varieties of grapes would lack the sweet, grape-like flavor we want in this cake so be sure you purchase the right kind.

Recipe Adapted From: Bon Appetit

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

Guys. Please tell me I’m not the only one. Please, please tell me that I am not actually the sorriest person on the planet.

The other day, I was vacuuming the nursery when I came upon a stubborn bundle of fuzz that refused to be sucked into the vacuum even after rolling over it five or six (read: fifteen) times. Instead of tossing the fuzzie in the trash, I picked up the little guy with my toes and then dropped it back on the ground to attempt to vacuum it up from a different angle.

WHAT. IS. THAT. 

What degree of laziness does one have to have if they are willing to relocate grunge on floor to avoid a short walk to the garbage can to throw it out?

[Throws hands in the air] I disgust myself. 

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake Cherries

But this is the kind of stuff that is all over my life right now. With a handful of balls in the air and more than a few hats that I wear on a daily basis, I find myself halfway-ing a good number of areas of my life. I work out, but I fail to eat right. I buy a birthday gift but forget to mail the card. I play with my babies, but get tired and end up relying on Mickey Mouse to drag us through the final hours of the day. I’m still trying to get the hang of balancing all of the things that I want to make time for and as a result, some things just don’t get the attention they require.

Between work and babies and all of the other things that end up receiving little nuggets of my time, this blog is often one of the many forgotten outcasts of my life. Since starting this little corner of the interwebz, I have had the intentions of working on a number of photography and web-based skills (computer hacking skills…nun-chuck skills…. bow-hunting skills), but that list of tasks has long been shuffled under a mound of other things. Finally, this past weekend, I set aside some time to tick a few things off of my list and I am thrilled to share the results with you.

I made a stop motion film! 

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

Okay, I understand this is not a huge deal and I can totally hear every teenager on the planet whispering, “that’s so easy” under their breath. Also, there’s no need to point out the flaws because I totally see them. But for me, this took a bit of learning and I am so excited to have even attempted it. I’d officially like the thank The Academy, my Canon camera, and both of my babies (for napping at the same time last Saturday) for giving me the opportunity to shoot and stitch this little guy together.

You’ll see that the video is a stop motion film of the building of a naked black forest ice cream cake. Naked cakes are my favorite to make, so naturally, naked ice cream cakes are pretty much the center of my  universe. I love them almost as much as I love my own children. Not really, but close.

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

This black forest ice cream cake was created using my favorite chocolate cake recipe and a frozen, ice cream-esque filling that I adapted from Ina Garten’s mocha icebox cake. While a traditional black forest cake is filled with Kirsch soaked cherries and lightly sweetened whipped cream, my version boasts boozy bourbon cherries (because the South, y’all!), hot fudge drizzles, and simple, creamy layers of ice cream. The whole thing is stacked together and left in the freezer for a rainy day.
Black Forest Ice Cream Cake
You can totally shortcut any and all portions of this recipe and substitute store-bought favorites. Instead of homemade cake, try a box mix. Instead of making the ice cream filling, set a quart of your favorite grocery store variety on the counter to thaw out slightly before making the cake. I always have a jar of fudge sauce in my fridge and try to prepare the cakes the night before, so day-of labor is minimal at best. 
Black Forest Ice Cream Cake I recommend that you read through the full list of instructions before starting. The process is simple in nature, but lengthy in detail so make sure you know what you’re doing before you get started. Also, I’ve included a couple of snapshots in this post to illustrate the two methods of building a naked cake. Have fun watching the short little movie, and I sincerely hope it inspires you to make a naked cake of your own. Happy Monday!
 

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

Needed:
3 prepared 6″ chocolate cake layers (I bake a half batch of this recipe in 3- 6″ pans)
1 recipe of ice cream filling, unfrozen (see below)
1 recipe of bourbon soaked cherries (See below)
1/2 cup chocolate fudge sauce (I like this recipe, but store bought is fine)
 

Directions:

1. Line a 6″ cake ring  with an acetate sheet collar (see notes). Alternatively, you can line the sides of a 6″ round cake pan with a collar of wax paper or parchment paper to use as a guide/mold for building your cake. This is not a necessary step, but certainly makes building your cake much easier. If using the cake pan, line the bottom with a small piece of parchment to ensure easy removal from pan.
2. Place one leveled cake layer in the bottom of the cake ring. Using a pastry brush, soak the first layer of cake with approximately 1/3 of the cherry syrup. Smooth 1 cup of the ice cream mixture over the top of the first cake layer. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cherries on top of the ice cream and then drizzle with 1/4 cups of hot fudge sauce. Repeat this process once.
3. Place the final cake layer on top of the built cake. Soak with the final third of cherry syrup and smooth 1-1/2 cups of the ice cream mixture on top.  
4. Cover the cake loosely, and place in the freezer to set up for 4 hours or until firm. 
5. Remove cake from freezer 10-15 minutes prior to serving for easy slicing. Uncut, the cake will keep in the freezer for 3 weeks. 
 
Notes:
1. I use 3″ x 20″ wide acetate sheets to line my cake ring. As a result, I end up requiring two sheets total to cover the height of my cakes. See here for additional instructions on building cakes with acetate sheets. 
2. If you prefer to not use acetate sheets and cake ring as a supportive mold, you can build the cake as I did in my video! Keep in mind that you have to work quickly as all that fluffy ice cream likes to squish out the sides. 
 

Ice Cream Filling

Ingredients:

8 ounces of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean 
2 tablespoons of good quality bourbon, optional (I use Blanton’s)

To prepare the no churn ice cream:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the mascarpone, sugar, whipping cream, vanilla and bourbon. Whip with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Set aside until ready to use in your cake.

Bourbon Soaked Cherries

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) of stemmed and pitted dark cherries
2 tablespoons of good quality bourbon (I use Blanton’s)
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

To prepare the cherries:

Roughly chop cherries into small bits. Place in a bowl and stir together with sugar and bourbon. Set aside for 30 minutes prior to use to allow the cherries, sugar, and bourbon to produce a syrup. When ready to use, strain the cherries from the syrup, reserving both for the cake. (Note: with this preparation the cherries freeze into icy bits of booze and fruit. If you’d prefer a sweeter, softer filling, you can cook the ingredients above with an additional 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch over low heat, stirring and smashing the cherries regularly until it has thickened to a jam-like consistency. Allow to cool before assembling with cake.)

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake
Black Forest Ice Cream Cake
Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

Lemon Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake

Lemon Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake Recipe Recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple, fluffy, golden and white almond cake speckled with poppyseed and lemon zest and juice. The cake is spongy and perfect for breakfast or dessert. The whole thing is topped with a simple sugar glaze icing and slivered almonds. Find this springtime bundt cake recipe on thewoodandspoon.com.

We have officially survived one whole week at home with two children under two. I’m thrilled to announce that last Saturday, after a very long feeling 10 days, we were able to bring baby George home from the NICU. Pulling into the driveway with our little guy in the backseat felt surreal, and I was relieved to have my baby home, healthy, and unplugged from all the machines and wires he was connected to during his stay in the hospital. 

Once home, our first order of business was to introduce George to his big sister, Aimee. I’ll be sure to share photos of that exchange later because it was really just so sweet. Aimee has been a dream with George, and while she sometimes has the tendency to love him a little too hard (read: squish/ smother/ trample him in every way possible), her affection for him is an answer to prayer and I couldn’t be more grateful. 
Lemon Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake Recipe
Can I tell you one of my favorite parts about bringing a baby home… and please don’t judge me?
 
I really like the food. Yes, the food.
 
I’m not sure if bringing a meal is a thing people do everywhere or if it’s just another one of the awesome ways that Southerners dominate in the field of hospitality, but where we live, if you have a baby people will bring you meals. It’s an excellent deal for us, if you ask me. 
 
Let me be clear: I would not survive without the carbs and generosity from our friends here in Selma. What’s that saying about, “Man cannot live on bread alone?” Well, we probably wouldn’t even have bread in the house by now if it weren’t for all the croissants and Sister Shubert rolls that people have been dropping by our house. It’s magical.
 
Since this is our second go-around with the having a baby thing, I’m starting to develop a mental list of recipes I’d like to keep in my arsenal to potentially share with friends when they have babies. The recipe for this lemon almond poppyseed bundt cake is definitely one that I am mentally bookmarking. Bundt cakes, in my opinion, are terrific because they easily pass as a dessert, but also make a convincing argument in the breakfast department too. This lemon almond poppyseed bundt is no exception. It’s sweet, light, and fluffy like you would expect of any respectable cake, but its fragrant lemon and almond aromas and the little speckles of poppyseeds somehow remind me of a breakfast loaf that you might enjoy with a strong cup of coffee early in the morning. And because we all know that new parents operate on adrenaline and caffeine, this cake is a shoo-in gift for new parents. 
Lemon Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake Recipe
A while back, my friend Lauren asked me to work on a lemon poppyseed cake recipe and after several tries and errors, this cake was the ultimate product. I have baked this batter in round cake pans and I’m pleased to announce that it works just as splendidly. While I haven’t tried this recipe in a 9″x13″ pan, I feel confident that it would bake up well and would be terrific  with the almondy glaze poured right over top of the warm cake. 
 
If you don’t know any new parents that you can share this lemon almond poppyseed bundt cake with, let me recommend weekend brunch, housewarming parties, bridal luncheons, church picnics, and whatever other events your social calendar has to boast as the perfect opportunity to test out this recipe. Bundt cakes are versatile and almost always appropriate to bring as a special treat for sharing. 
Lemon Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake Recipe
So give this lemon almond poppyseed bundt cake a try and bless someone this week with the gift of food. Everyone loves a thoughtful friend, and friends who bring food are always invited back. And to all of our friends and family who have dropped by to share a meal: YOU ARE ANGELS. My thighs won’t thank you later, but our family is grateful for your love and generosity. 
 
 
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Lemon Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake

Lemon Almond Poppyseed Bundt Cake Recipe Recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. This is a simple, fluffy, golden and white almond cake speckled with poppyseed and lemon zest and juice. The cake is spongy and perfect for breakfast or dessert. The whole thing is topped with a simple sugar glaze icing and slivered almonds. Find this springtime bundt cake recipe on thewoodandspoon.com.

A light, sweet, and fluffy bundt cake scented with almonds, lemon, and little speckles of poppyseeds. This is the perfect cake to share or gift your friends and family!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 21/4 cups cake flour
  • 13/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 11/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, but not warm
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds

For the glaze

  • Juice and zest of two lemons
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons of milk milk

Instructions

To prepare cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with baking spray or grease lightly.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed for one minute until thoroughly mixed. While stirring on low speed, add small cubes of butter, one at a time, until all 1-1/2 sticks have been added. Continue to mix on low speed for another 1-2 minutes until butter is uniformly dispersed in the dry ingredients.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the buttermilk, extracts, and lemon juice in a measuring cup and pour this into the stand mixer bowl, reserving 1/3 cup of the mixture. Beat on medium speed for two minutes until smooth and uniform. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the remaining milk mixture while mixing on low speed. Slowly pour in the egg whites and eggs, increasing the speed back to medium. Beat for another two minutes, scraping the bowl as needed to ensure that all of the batter is uniform. Add the lemon zest and poppyseeds and mix on low until combined, about thirty seconds.
  4. Equally distribute the batter among the two lined pans. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the center of the cake is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack. 

To prepare the glaze

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. If the consistency is too thin, allow to set out briefly or add additional powdered sugar. Add additional milk if the glaze is too thick. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.

Blueberry Cornbread

Blueberry Cornbread Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a cornmeal and flour skillet cake made with fresh blueberries and sugar. A simple, one bowl cake recipe made in a cast iron skillet, speckled with summer berries and sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can serve this with honey butter or whipped cream as dessert, or eat thick slices of it for breakfast. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

I know what you’re thinking. “Blueberry cornbread? Is that a thing?”

As it so happens, blueberry cornbread is officially a thing and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Cornbread is one of the many things I received an education in when I moved to the South. In my 10+ years here, there have been a number of other learning opportunities and today, I wanted to share a few fun facts about Southern culture. If you’re not from the South, my money says you may learn a thing or two, but if you’re a born and bred Southerner… well, just try not to laugh too hard at my ignorance.

  1. Tea, in the South, is offered two ways: sweet and sweeter. Unsweetened tea is a beverage kept around only for our Northern friends and those trying to “watch their sugar.”
  2. You can fry anything. I tried my first fried pork chop when I was having Sunday “dinner” (this is actually a lunch hour meal) with my husband’s family. Not surprisingly, it was delicious.
  3. God comes first, football is second. When I first moved to Alabama, I kept hearing people saying “ROLLLL TIDE.” It took a while to figure out why this one liner was exclaimed loudly with such frequency around here, but after unknowingly posing that question to a group of excited University of Alabama fans, I was brought up to speed. It took even longer to understand why we say “WAR EAGLE” when Auburn’s team mascot is clearly a tiger. Actually, I’m still kinda working on figuring this one out.
  4. Grits. Okay, so I know grit dishes are trending on menus all over New American restaurant menus now, but 10 years ago, I had never tried them even once. The South knows how to do them right, and I prefer mine thick with a healthy addition of cheese and black pepper.
  5. Camo is a color. My husband’s wardrobe is approximately 20% camouflage. He’s earned this right because he’s an actual hunter. I don’t always mind it, but I’m considering creating a line of hunting gear that reads Gail from “The Hunger Games.” [Insert all of the heart eyes]
  6. No one is too old to be called ma’am. I’m 28 years old, and I get called ma’am daily. Here, this is good manners- a sign of respect. It’s also grounds for feeling like an old lady.
  7. Lace is appropriate for little girls AND boys alike. Most of these delicate clothing items are handmade or have been passed down multiple generations. But to my Yankee friends: if you see a cute little one wearing an all white outfit with a scalloped lace collar, don’t assume this is a girl.
  8. It’s not pop or soda… it’s Coke. Yes, Coca-Cola is king in the South and if you ask your server for a “pop” around these parts, you’re likely to get chuckled at. Don’t even think about asking for a Pepsi.
  9. Similarly, “sneakers” are not a thing here. All athletic shoes are tennis shoes. Whether or not you’ve ever seen a tennis court has no bearing on what your shoes are called… it’s just always “tennis shoes.”
  10. People are nicer here. I felt kinda like a big turd when I moved to Alabama because everyone was always SO NICE. People walking down the street would smile, tip a hat, or say “hello.” We’re talking complete strangers here. When I go back home to Florida, I get weird looks when I smile and wave at people passing by, and that secretly makes me happy because who doesn’t deserve to be treated with that kind of out of the ordinary friendliness? Next time you visit the South, prepare to have your socks knocked off by kindness.

Blueberry Cornbread

Another thing I’m learning about the South? Cornbread.

 

I’m really okay with this aspect of Southern cuisine. I like my cornbread buttery and fluffy, but down here, you’ll find everyone has their own spin on it. This variation, blueberry cornbread, is a more delicate, sweet confection than its savory counterparts. A little honey, a scattering of blueberries, and more than a pinch of baking powder make this bread closer to a dessert cake than a side or breakfast item. This recipe for blueberry cornbread is adapted from one of my very favorite cookbooks, “Vintage Cakes,”  by Julie Richardson that features a number of Southern favorites. I love that this cornbread feels casual enough to serve for breakfast but is still decadent enough to call dessert. And the fact that is comes together in a cast iron skillet makes me feel all kinds of Southern. 

Blueberry Cornbread

I photographed this cornbread a day or two after making my favorite strawberry shortcake that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. Because I still had some leftover honey whipped cream, I added a dollop to the top of the warm cornbread and HOLD THE PHONE– It was next level. I highly recommend whipping some up while this cake is in the oven.

Blueberry cornbread is a sweet and buttery skillet cake that is perfect for your next down-home, Southern affair. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

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Blueberry Cornbread

Blueberry Cornbread Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a cornmeal and flour skillet cake made with fresh blueberries and sugar. A simple, one bowl cake recipe made in a cast iron skillet, speckled with summer berries and sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can serve this with honey butter or whipped cream as dessert, or eat thick slices of it for breakfast. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

Blueberry cornbread is a sweet and buttery skillet cake that is perfect for your next down home, Southern affair.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a 10″ cast iron skillet, melt the stick of butter over medium-low heat just until melted. Swirl butter in the pan to grease the sides and bottom and then set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, pour the butter and stir to combine with the honey. Add the eggs and buttermilk and whisk together to combine.
  4. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  5. Fold in half (1 cup) of blueberries and pour batter back into the skillet.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the batter and finally, sprinkle the brown sugar over the batter.
  7. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out nearly clean with just a few moist crumbs.
  8. Allow to cool slightly and serve with honey whipped cream (see link in text above), if desired.

Notes

  • Be sure you are using a 10″ skillet. This batter will bake out of the pan if you use one that is too small.
  • If your edges begin to brown too quickly before the center is becoming adequately baked through, tent the edges with a bit of aluminum foil to protect them from additional heat.
  • This cake will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature but is best eaten the day it is made.

Recipe Adapted From: Julie Richardson

Strawberry Shortcake

roasted strawberry shortcake with honey whipped cream recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. These are simple drop biscuit style shortcakes made with butter and cream. The strawberries are roasted and made into a delicious filling and topping. The whole thing can be topped with a honey whipped cream that is sweet and fluffy, the perfect accent to the shortcakes and berries. Find this simple summer recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

If I ended up on death row and tonight’s dinner was destined to be my last meal, I would you ask you for an over-sized portion of my mom’s baked spaghetti. It’s nothing fancy, really- diced onion, ground beef, and canned tomato sauce, baked together with cooked spaghetti noodles under a blanket of shredded mozzarella and parmesan- but to me, no baked spaghetti could ever taste as good to me as hers. Other contenders for my last meal just may include something similar to today’s recipe: strawberry shortcake .

roasted strawberries

One of the first foods I can remember learning to make is biscuits. Growing up, my Mimi would prepare her famous chicken and dumplings, and I would watch her cut the fat into the the flour, rolling out the dough and cutting each biscuit round out with the lip of a slender drinking glass. Mimi’s take on chicken and dumplings included baking the biscuits in the oven and smothering them with the chicken and thickened sauce. If we were lucky, she would prepare extra biscuits and these would become the foundation pieces for a dessert of strawberry shortcake. We would macerate berries in sugar and make a generous bowl of whipped cream to dollop over the sweet berries and warm biscuits. The words “strawberry shortcake” will always be synonymous with Mimi and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And isn’t that the one of the coolest things about food? Food can take you somewhere- to a place, to a time, to a feeling. Just the smell of certain foods make me feel like I’m a kid again, or on a first date, or fanning the kitchen after scorching something on the bottom of the oven. Foods jar memories, emotions, and a range of other things because those moments become apart of us. Baked spaghetti and strawberry shortcake, to me, is more than just a meal- it’s a memory of home.

I want to create moments like that with my kids. I want them to grow up and say their version of some food was better because it was apart of their memories… because eating that food was like sharing a meal with their mom again.

Okay, I swear I’m not crying over here. (Read: I am.) #pregnancyhormones

We should move on. Let’s get to the good stuff. The nitty gritty. Let’s talk strawberry shortcake.

roasted strawberry shortcake with honey whipped cream Starting with my Mimi’s biscuit recipe and modifying to make a sweeter, more scone-like shortcake, this strawberry shortcake recipe features  roasted strawberries and really, realllly good honey whipped cream. Roasting the strawberries intensifies their strawberry-ness and makes an otherwise ordinary dessert really something to talk about. And the honey whipped cream? Well, let’s just say I’m putting this bad boy on everything now.

roasted strawberry shortcake with honey whipped cream

If I were you, I’d double the batch of shortcakes and plan on eating those little nuggets for breakfast all week long. Monday could be butter and honey, Tuesday could be fresh preserves and left over honey whipped cream, Wednesday could be hazelnut spread and marshmallow fluff… the possibilities are endless. The bottom line is that with summer just around the corner and fresh berries on the verge of taking over your grocery store, you NEED a strawberry shortcake recipe that is for the books. Done and done.

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Strawberry Shortcake

Roasted Strawberry Shortcakes recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. These are simple drop biscuit style shortcakes made with butter and cream. The strawberries are roasted and made into a delicious filling and topping. The whole thing can be topped with a honey whipped cream that is sweet and fluffy, the perfect accent to the shortcakes and berries. Find this simple summer recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

This strawberry shortcake recipe features roasted strawberries and really, realllly good honey whipped cream.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the shortcakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 11/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup whipping cream

For the roasted strawberries

  • 2 pounds of strawberries, stemmed, hulled- cut large berries in half and leave petite ones whole
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the honey whipped cream

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 11/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

To prepare the shortcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Using a pastry cutter or the back of a fork, cut in the butter until well combined and with pea-sized clumps uniformly throughout.
  4. Add the cream, stirring until a soft, shaggy dough is formed.
  5. For rustic shortcakes, use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to portion out 1/4 cup mounds of dough and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. For more biscuit-like shortcakes, gently pat dough out on to lightly floured surface until 3/4″ thick. Using a 3″ biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough. Lightly brush the remaining cream over the mounts of dough. Sprinkle a little extra sugar on top, if desired.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until shortcakes are golden and cooked throughout. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

To prepare the strawberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss together the strawberries, sugar, and salt on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until juices are released and strawberries are fragrant. Add two tablespoons of water to the berries and juices and stir with a spatula. Allow to cool slightly.

For the honey whipped cream

  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until most clumps are smoothed out, about one minute. Add the honey and sugar and beat to combine, about one minute.
  2. Add about 1/4 of the cream and beat just slightly until the cream cheese mixture is thinned out, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining cream and beat until cream is whipped to stiff peaks. Avoid over-beating.

To assemble the shortcakes

  1. Set aside about 1/2 of the strawberries, leaving the juices behind with the other half. Using a potato masher, mash the half of strawberries with the juices remaining until all large bits of strawberry is smooshed. Fold in the other half of intact strawberries.
  2. Slice each shortcake in half, removing the tops. Spoon a generous dollop of whipped cream on top of the bottom.
  3. Spoon a generous helping of strawberries over the cream, saving enough liquid and intact strawberries for the rest of the shortcakes.
  4. Replace the top of the shortcake and enjoy immediately!

Confetti Ice Cream Cake

Confetti ice cream cake recipe by The wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. This is a simple funfetti cake recipe inspired by momofuku milk bar by christina tosi. The cake is make and layered in a naked style with a no churn cream cheese cake batter ice cream with sprinkles. There's also a salty cake mix crumb inside the cake. This is a fun birthday cake or frozen celebration cake that will serve a crowd and is very festive. Find the recipe and how to make a layered naked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Let’s slow clap for America. We’re screwing up a lot around here these days, but one area where Americans are consistently winning is birthdays. In my lifetime, I’ve been apart of very few birthday celebrations that didn’t include cake and I’m thinking that’s something I need to appreciate about my motherland today. An extra special shout out goes to those who celebrate with the quintessential American cake flavor- the one, the only, confetti cake. Is there anyone who doesn’t secretly love a confetti cake made straight from the box? I don’t think so. Is there anything more American than taking an already sweet cake batter and adding more sugar to it in the form of playful little sprinkles? Not a chance. So strap on your jean shorts and handlebar mustaches, because today’s cake is going out to the land of the free and the home of the brave. We’re making confetti ice cream cake.

‘Merica!

confetti sheet cake

Christina Tosi, the genius pastry chef behind Milk Bar stores, makes these ridiculous layer cakes that I am obsessed with. They’re “naked”(meaning no exterior frosting) and often include one of my favorite flavor/texture elements, “crumbs.” You may have seen a few of my takes on a naked cake posted on social media here, here, or here. (Sidenote: if you really want to weird out your husband, mom, or best friend, call them and tell them you’re taking “nude” photos… the responses are pretty priceless.)  

One of my favorite Milk Bar cakes is the birthday cake. I’ve made it a million times and it never disappoints. It’s sweet, fluffy, and perfectly reminiscent of the box confetti cake that we all know and love. The only thing, and I literally mean the ONLY thing, that could possibly take Milk Bar’s classic birthday cake to the next level is ice cream. Better yet- no churn ice cream. There aren’t many things in this world that make me feel the same degree of childlike nostalgia quite like confetti cake with a scoop of ice cream, so obviously, combining the two is a logical choice. Let’s get started. 


confetti sheet cake cut for 6" ring

confetti ice cream cake


confetti ice cream cake

Just like with Milk Bar’s confetti cake, we start by making the cake. We’re baking ours just like Tosi recommends in a jelly roll pan. While that’s in the oven, we will mix up the ingredients for the crumbs and have those ready to go into the oven when the cake is finished. Once the cake and crumbs are cooled to room temp, set out to make your ice cream and assemble the cake. Our no churn ice cream is made using a mix of cream cheese and whipped topping, but you can use homemade whipped cream if you’re feeling fancy. The instructions for this recipe appear to be pretty labor intensive, but the process is all fairly easy, particularly when spread out over the course of two days. You can check out the original recipe for Tosi’s birthday cake here for more detailed instructions on assembling the layer cake. Once the cake is assembled, you can let it party in the freezer for several days or even up to a couple of weeks! Nothing say “God Bless America” like having an ice cream cake in the freezer, ready for eating at any moment’s notice. 

confetti ice cream cake

This recipe for confetti ice cream cake made with no churn ice cream is delicious and super fun to share with others! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

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Confetti Ice Cream Cake

Confetti ice cream cake recipe by The wood and spoon blog by Kate wood. This is a simple funfetti cake recipe inspired by momofuku milk bar by christina tosi. The cake is make and layered in a naked style with a no churn cream cheese cake batter ice cream with sprinkles. There's also a salty cake mix crumb inside the cake. This is a fun birthday cake or frozen celebration cake that will serve a crowd and is very festive. Find the recipe and how to make a layered naked cake on thewoodandspoon.com

This recipe for confetti ice cream cake made with no churn ice cream is delicious and super fun to share with others!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 2 hours
Scale

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 110 g buttermilk (1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

For the crumbs

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 11/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract

For the ice cream

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip or 3 cups of homemade whipped cream

Special equipment required

  • A 6” cake ring or 6” cake pan
  • Acetate sheets or some other sturdy, food safe material (I have used two sheets of thick parchment paper, doubled up, in a pinch, but admittedly, the acetate sheets work much more easily. They can be purchased on Amazon (3 inches by 20 inches long), washed, and reused in the future.

Instructions

To assemble the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a jelly roll pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.
  2. Cream the butter, shortening, and sugars in a stand mixer at medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until well combined. Scrape the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Beat for an additional 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and slowly add the liquid ingredients. Beat in the stand mixer until the batter is fluffy, lighter in color, and uniform. This will take 6-8 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bowl as needed throughout this process. Add the dry ingredients and 1/4 cup of the sprinkles and mix on low speed, just until combined, about one minute.
  3. Pour batter into pan and spread out to smooth. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sprinkles evenly over top of batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is no longer wiggly and will spring back slightly when touched. Allow to cool on a cooling rack until room temp.

To prepare the crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients, including sprinkles, in a stand mixer and mix to combine, about 30 seconds. Add the wet ingredients and continue to mix on low until small little clumps begin to form. Once combined, turn off mixer and pour the clumps out on to a small baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are just beginning to turn golden. Allow to cool to room temp.

To prepare the cake

  1. Loosen and remove cake from pan. Using the cake ring (or the bottom of a 6″ cake pan as a guide) cut out two 6″ round cakes from the sheet cake (see photo above in post as a guide). Then, cut out two half-moon shapes from the remaining sheet cake. This will be used to piece together your third and final layer. Set cake layers aside.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Add corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minutes.
  3. Fold 1/2 cup of Cool Whip into cream cheese mixture until well distributed. Add remaining 2-1/2 cups, folding gently until well combined. Slowly fold in the cake crumbs, reserving about 1/3 cup to decorate the top.
  4. Line cake ring or pan with one acetate sheet. Place one cake layer in the bottom of inside of cake ring. If using the cake pan, line the bottom with a small piece of parchment to ensure easy removal from pan. Smooth 1/3 of the ice cream mixture over top of the top or cake layer. Place your two cake “half moons” on top of the ice cream and fill in with tiny cake pieces to create a makeshift 2nd layer. Top with another 1/3 of ice cream mixture. Wrap an additional acetate sheet to continue the 6×6″ tube you’re building this cake inside of (see photo) and tape to secure, if needed. Add the final layer of cake and smooth the remaining 1/3 of ice cream over the top.
  5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze in the freezer until solid, about 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Notes

  • See Christina Tosi’s original birthday cake recipe for more notes on how to build the cake.
  • If you’re prefer, feel free to lightly grind up the cake crumbs so that they are more evenly distributed. I prefer the clumpy crumbs.
  • In a pinch, you can use a box cake mix for this recipe, baked in a 9×13″ pan, but I strongly recommend going with the homemade version- it’s delicious!
  • Cake and crumbs can be made a day or two in advance and saved at room temperature, wrapped tightly.

Recipe For Cake Layers Adapted From: Christina Tosi

S’mores Cheesecake

S'mores Cheesecake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a campfire inspired cheesecake that comes out without cracks or dry edges every time. A graham cracker, butter and sugar crust and a simple chocolate filling made from melted bars or chips. Bake the cheesecake in a water bath in the oven to get a smooth and creamy cheesecake. Top the whole thing with toasted marshmallows and more graham cracker crumbs for a summertime favorite cheesecake.

Spring is officially in the air. The trees are blooming, everyone has a sinus infection, and our little corner of lower Alabama is slowly turning into a muggy, rain forest-esque area that ensures I am constantly frizzy and a little sweaty. Spring, in my mind, is the pre-party for summer when my diet will primarily consist of fresh produce, frozen beverages, and anything made on the grill. These last few weeks before full-on summer mode make me want to reminisce on the deliciousness that ensued during the fall/winter months and celebrate it one last time. Today, we will do just that by way of s’mores cheesecake. 

S'mores Cheesecake

Now don’t get me wrong- summer and I get along really well. What’s not to love? Longer days, flip flop weather, and the fact that I get to wear white everyday without any judgment from more fashionable onlookers is reason enough for me to celebrate the warmer months. But once summer hits, I’m going to be rolling out all of my favorite fruit-based desserts and it’s really an injustice to forget little beauties like s’mores cheesecake. So let’s take a look, shall we?

This cheesecake, with its creamy chocolate innards and buttery graham cracker crust, is topped with a handful or two of marshmallows and a rich, chocolate ganache that seductively whispers, “come hither.” I love the texture of this cheesecake- smooth, fluffy, and not too dense. Bonus points for the fact that I have never ONCE had this cheesecake develop an unsightly crack or crevice on the top. The crust is sweetened with brown sugar and seasoned with a heavy-handed douse of salt because, if you ask me, sweet and salty is still in. Chocolate cheesecake, graham cracker crust, and melty chocolate ganache practically begs for some festive little marshmallows, thus- s’mores cheesecake.

S'mores Cheesecake

Before we dive head-first into fish tacos, strawberry daiquiris, and giant slices of watermelon, let’s celebrate the right now with this s’mores cheesecake. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. 
S'mores Cheesecake
 
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S’mores Cheese

S'mores Cheesecake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a campfire inspired cheesecake that comes out without cracks or dry edges every time. A graham cracker, butter and sugar crust and a simple chocolate filling made from melted bars or chips. Bake the cheesecake in a water bath in the oven to get a smooth and creamy cheesecake. Top the whole thing with toasted marshmallows and more graham cracker crumbs for a summertime favorite cheesecake.

This s’mores cheesecake has a buttery graham cracker crust, a rich and creamy chocolate filling, and is slathered with a chocolate ganache before being topped with toasted marshmallows.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 2 hours
Scale

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 11/2 sleeves of graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

For the cheesecake

  • 11/2 pounds (3 blocks) of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the ganache

  • 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream

Toppings

  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 sheets of graham crackers, crumbled

Instructions

To prepare the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor to crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined to a wet sand consistency.
  3. Pat crumbs into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

To prepare the cheesecake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start a kettle or pot of boiling water on the stove top for the water bath. You’ll need about 3 quarts of water. Wrap your springform pan with crust baked inside securely with aluminum foil. I triple layer and make sure there is no room for the water bath to leak through the pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and cocoa powder, beating an additional 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed until incorporated. Add the cream and vanilla, and beat until smooth and no lumps remain, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overbeat.
  3. Using a rubber spatual, push your cheesecake batter through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Pour this mixture into your prepared springform pan.
  4. Place your springform pan into a pan/dish slightly larger than the springform. I use a 10″ round cake pan, but any oven-safe dish with sides will do. Pour water into the water bath pan until the water level reaches almost halfway up the sides of the springform.
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The filling will barely be set but will still jiggle slightly if jostled in the oven. Allow to rest in the oven with the heat turned off and the oven door propped open slightly (I use a wooden spoon) for an additional 30 minutes. Then, transfer the springform pan to the fridge and allow to cool for at least 4 hours or overnight, if possible.
  6. Once cheesecake is cool, remove from pan and prepare the ganache. Microwave the heavy cream on low heat just until it begins to lightly bubble. Remove from microwave and pour over top of the chocolate chips. Cover with Saran wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth and no lumps remain. Allow to cool slightly- if your ganache is too thin, it will drip down the sides of the cheesecake too quickly. Spoon the ganache over top of the cheesecake and smooth out gently with a spatula. Once you get close to the edges, push the ganache out gently, allowing little trickles of chocolate to cascade down the sides. Allow ganache to set up slightly. Extra ganache will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
  7. Top with graham cracker crumbs and and a sprinkling of marshmallows. Toast with a torch or under a low-heat broiler until golden brown.

Notes

  • Cheesecake will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, but marshmallows should be toasted just before eating.
  • Do not overmix your cheesecake batter. Overmixing can cause cracks and holes in your cheesecake.
  • Be sure ingredients, particularly the cream cheese, are room temperature. If they are too cold, clumps will form and you won’t have a smooth and creamy cheesecake.
  • Feel free to adapt this cheesecake! You can opt out of the marshmallows for a double chocolate cheesecake, or layer in peanut butter cups before baking for a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake. The world is your oyster!

Recipe Adapted From: Miette

Easter Cake

easter cake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to on making a layer cake covered in robin egg blue frosting and speckled to look like an egg. This tutorial is adapted from the cake blog. Step by step how to and photos for this easter / good friday / spring time cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Easter Cake TutorialAbout one year ago, almost to the day, I made the decision to be more intentional on social media as a means of determining if blogging and putting myself out there on the interwebz was something I was ready to do. About two weeks into this experiment, I made an Easter cake, speckled to look like a robin’s egg, topped with little nests of swirled chocolate buttercream, and studded with leftover jelly beans from Aimee’s first Easter basket. (Shameless shout out to other moms who buy candy “for their kids” that just so happens to be their own favorite varieties and wind up hiding in the secret, “mom’s only” corner of the pantry. I feel you.) The cake was adorable and because I was pretty excited about it, I posted a photo on Instagram. Imagine my surprise when, hours later, Food and Wine magazine re-posted the photo. MY photo. I found myself victory dancing in the living room, high-fiving my husband, and with a new batch of Insta-followers. To me, that Easter cake was a moment of much needed confirmation that I was to continue forward.

easter cake

Since then, I’ve had a lot of people ask how to make that humble little cake, so in honor of Easter, you’re going to get a fancy little tutorial today. This Easter cake is fairly simple and is a perfect excuse to get messy in the kitchen. If you have kiddos, or if you just share my affinity for pretending to be artsy in the kitchen while simultaneously stuffing your face with Easter candy, this cake is for you! Little ones can help with the speckling and will love the opportunity to sneak a jelly bean or a lick of the frosting bowl. Be warned that this process can get a little messy, so be sure to protect your work space with newspaper, wax paper, or old t-shirts of your husband’s that you secretly want to make disappear. 

easter cake

This Easter cake is one I plan to make for years to come and seems like a brilliant tradition to start with my family in the kitchen. My babies aren’t even old enough to say the words “Easter Cake”, but I’m eager to make memories with them on special holidays. If you have any traditions or recipes you like to share with your family during this holiday, I’d love to hear about it below in the comments section!

Happy Easter and Happy Baking!
easter cake

To make the Easter cake, you’ll need:

  • One baked cake (I used a 2 layer, six inch cake in a lemon poppyseed flavor which will be coming to the blog soon. You can try this recipe if you’re looking for a no-fail cake recipe)
  • 3 cups of frosting, divided
  • Light blue gel food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • M&M’S Eggs, Jelly Beans, Cadbury Mini Eggs, or any other bean/egg shaped candy
 

Tools you’ll need:

  • News or wax paper to cover your work space
  • A clean, unused paint brush or a natural bristle pastry brush
  • Piping bag fitted with a 1M tip
 easter cake

Directions:

  • Set aside 1 cup of frosting.
  • In a bowl, add a small drop of light blue food coloring to the remaining two cups of frosting. A little goes a long way, so add slowly. Once your frosting it too dark, there’s no going back! Also, keep in mind that the frosting will darken as it sets.
  • Fill and frost your cake. I like to smooth my cakes with an off-set spatula like this , but a butter knife will do the trick!
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder and the vanilla extract until a thin, watery slurry comes together.
  • Set your unfrosted cake on a clean, covered work surface. Do no speckle close to anything you can’t easily wipe down with a wet rag- things are about to get messy!
  • Hold your paint brush or natural bristle pastry brush at the base of the bristles. Squeeze, applying a small amount of pressure with your fingers to fan the brush slightly. Dip the tips of the brush in the cocoa/vanilla “paint” and find a spare corner of your covered work space to practice your splatter. While continuing to fan your brush with one hand, use the fingers of your other hand to lightly pull back the bristles and release. This will be a slingshot type of movement and will result in a splatter effect on your work surface. Once you’re confident with your speckling skills, move on to the cake! I start with the sides of the cake and finish with the top.
  • Mix your remaining cup of frosting with the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder. Add a small amount of water, if needed, until frosting is piping consistency. In my experience, a medium consistency frosting works best here and can best be described as frosting that, when peaked, will droop slightly without collapsing back into the blow.
  • Fill piping bag with this frosting and pipe away! I did simple swirls but you can get as fancy as you’d like.
  • Top each swirl with one piece of candy.

easter cake

 

Technique adapted from The Cake Blog

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is the best recipe for a one bowl, soft, moist and fluffy chocolate cake recipe. This cake is made with dark dutch process cocoa and a little espresso coffee powder. Made with oil not butter. This is the best chocolate layer cake recipe you will find and it is so easy! Makes a one layer or layered cake recipe. Find out some helpful tips and technique for making perfect cakes every time on thewoodandspoon.com

Everyone has a go to recipe. It’s the one you’ve made so frequently that you’ve nearly memorized it.  It’s the one you carry with pride into a party and it’s the one you submit to the church cookbook at the end of the year. 

A word on this. Who are the people that are still submitting recipes for gelatinous salads? Are we still eating these things? Ladies and gentlemen, this is not the 1950’s. Unless you’re pouring up that jello mold because you have plans to recreate that scene from “The Office” where Jim puts Dwight’s stapler in a bundt pan of Jell-O then please, let me urge you to reconsider. Maybe it’s my years of working at hospitals or the emotional scarring I’ve endured from having a husband who would rather eat a pudding pack than have a slice of homemade cake, but let the record show that if you bring me Jell-o, or any other food that wiggles in such taunting audacity, we are no longer friends.

I have very few recipes that I’ve created all on my own that I think are really solid, but many to boast of that other creative minds have come up with. One is for chocolate cake. When I first learned about how cool food blogs were, I was testing recipes for my wedding cake. I came across Rosie Alyea’s blog Sweetapolita and fell in major like with her chocolate cake recipe. I have yet to find another one, or even a modification of this one, that tastes better than it currently stands: dark, rich, and incredible fluffy. It’s the recipe I use for everything from wedding cakes to everyday trifles. And because every recipe deserves a fair trial, I have made a pros and cons list:

Pros

  • It’s a one bowl recipe
  • It uses oil instead of butter, so no waiting for butter to soften 
  • It uses dark cocoa powder so no need to chop up bars of chocolate
  • Is easily adaptable to make more or fewer layers
  • Stays fresh for days after baking
  • Freezes well when wrapped in Saran Wrap and foil

 

Cons

  • You will love this cake and subsequently try to eat it all before you’ve even frosted it. Then, when you show up with a tiny one layer cake instead of the 3 layer cake you promised, your friends will ridicule/judge you on account of you eating all of some poor kid’s birthday cake. As a result, you won’t be invited to birthday outings with your friends any longer and everyone will hate you. So basically, if you want to be invited to parties and not be shunned by everyone you’ve ever known, don’t bake this cake. You’ve been warned.Chocolate Cake

This is pretty much all you need to know about this recipe, however, I wanted to share some more tips on cake baking. I haven’t been baking long, but as a self-taught, amateur baker, I know that freebie tips on cake baking are worth their weight in gold. So here’s what I’ve got:

  1. Use room temperature ingredients. The ingredients in most cake recipes will emulsify together better when not at extreme temperatures. So what do you do when you forget to set your ingredients out in advance? Set your eggs in a cup of warm water to quickly bring to room temperature and feel free to nuke milk in the microwave at a low temperature in 10 second intervals till it’s no longer ice cold. As for the butter: consider slicing it into tablespoon pads and resting at room temperature while you set out the rest of your ingredients, or, nuke in the microwave for 8 seconds per side of butter.
  2. Use parchment paper. Yes, it can be a pain to cut out rounds of parchment, but I use it every time. Why? Because the only thing more annoying that cutting out parchment rounds is baking a beautiful cake only to have chunks of it remain stuck to the innards of your pan. If you’re feeling really aggressive, you can purchase pre-cut rounds of parchment online and they make life so much easier. Just do it.
  3. Do not overmix. If you read a recipe that says “mix just until combined”, do just that. Overmixing your batter will cause your cake to be chewy and dense… not usually what we’re going for.
  4. Make sure your baking powder and soda are fresh. If you open your cabinet and the baking soda says it expired in 2009, throw it out. I’m talking to you, Mom.
  5. If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, don’t fret! I sometimes will use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for every scant cup of milk when I need a quick substitute for real buttermilk. Works like a charm.
  6. Don’t overbake! Toothpicks cost like, $1 at the store. And I’m pretty sure you can steal them from hostess stands at most chain restaurants. So keep some on hand and when the cake looks just barely firm in the middle and is no longer jiggling in the pan, test it. Moist crumbs should come out. If it’s not done, set the timer for one minute and try again. And in the midst of all that checking, try not to open and close the oven too much. You’ll end up with a  cake crater big enough to put your face in. On second thought, this isn’t such a terrible outcome so do whatever you want. No judgement here.
  7. Allow to cool a bit in the pan before flipping out on to a cooling rack.

 

For more on chocolate cakes, check out my Instagram here — typically chocolate cake overload. I’ll be sharing some decorating how-to’s in the near future so stay tuned!

 

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Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

This recipe for chocolate cake is rich, moist, easy to make, and the only recipe you’ll ever need for chocolate cake.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
Scale

Ingredients

  • 21/4 cups (270 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 21/4 cups (450 gm) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (60 gm) dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 21/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 21/4 teaspoons corn starch
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs (180 gm), room temperature
  • 11/4 cups (300 mL) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups (180 mL) black coffee, hot
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
  • 11/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 (8″) round cake pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, loosely combine all of the wet ingredients and these to the bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for just shy of 2 minutes, scraping the bowl (and bottom of bowl!) twice throughout.
  3. Pour equal amounts of batter in to all 3 pans. Carefully place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until center is just barely set and toothpick comes out of cake almost clean. Allow to cool in the pans and on a cooling rack for 20 minutes and then remove from pans to continue the cooling process. Cake will stay fresh for several days if covered, or, for one month if wrapped well in saran wrap and frozen in freezer.

Recipe Adapted From: Rosie Alyea