Lemon Curd Crumb Cake

Lemon Curd Crumb Cake
I do a lot of baking with citrus in the spring. The bright, zesty flavors of lemon and limes (among others) are perfect for brightening up baked goods. This Lemon Curd Crumb Cake is the perfect dish to bake for a spring brunch – but it is easy …

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Lemon Curd Crumb Cake
I do a lot of baking with citrus in the spring. The bright, zesty flavors of lemon and limes (among others) are perfect for brightening up baked goods. This Lemon Curd Crumb Cake is the perfect dish to bake for a spring brunch – but it is easy enough that you can whip it up that you don’t need to wait for a crowd to serve it! The moist sour cream coffee cake has a generous swirl of lemon curd running through it and is topped with a buttery streusel!

The coffee cake has a dense and tender crumb, enriched with plenty of sour cream. I prefer using a full fat sour cream in this recipe to get the maximum tenderness in the cake, but it works with lowfat sour cream, too. In the event you don’t have sour cream on hand, you can substitute plain, full fat yogurt. I added a couple of teaspoons of vanilla to the cake batter to give it a wonderfully round flavor. It’s good on its own, but it is a great canvas for other ingredients, like lemon curd.

You can use homemade lemon curd in this recipe or pull a jar of prepared lemon curd out of your pantry. The lemon curd should be dolloped on top of the cake batter in small spoonfuls after the batter is spread evenly in the pan. Next, take a knife and gently swirl the lemon curd into the cake batter. You want to have an even distribution of lemon curd over the cake, but you don’t want to swirl it to the point where it has been stirred in, so swirl gently!

Finally, the crumb topping is sprinkled over the curd before baking. The streusel is easy to make and has a nice sweetness, with a faint hint of salt that makes it downright addictive.

The cake is ready to eat as soon as it has cooled down. I recommend lining the pan with lightly grease aluminum foil or parchment paper, as the lemon curd can stick to the edges of the pan during baking. Lining the pan also means that you can simply lift the liner to easily remove the whole cake in one go! The cake will keep for several days after baking if stored in an airtight container.

Lemon Curd Crumb Cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup prepared lemon curd

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F.
Make the cake: Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and mix until batter is just combined with no streaks of dry ingredients remaining. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Dollop small spoonfuls of lemon curd all over the cake batter. Working gently, use a butter knife to swirl the curd lightly into the cake batter. Set aside while you prepare crumb topping.
Make the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add softened butter and cut in using a fork until mixture resembles wet sand. Grab handfuls of the crumb mixture and squeeze them in the palm of your hand to form clumps. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the lemon curd.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Serves 9-12

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Coconut Bran Muffins

Coconut Bran Muffins
There is no doubt in my mind that many of you have been baking at home more regularly over the past few weeks. While I love to bake desserts, there is nothing like baking a breakfast treat in the morning to get the day started and muffins are always an outstanding choice. These …

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Coconut Bran Muffins
There is no doubt in my mind that many of you have been baking at home more regularly over the past few weeks. While I love to bake desserts, there is nothing like baking a breakfast treat in the morning to get the day started and muffins are always an outstanding choice. These Coconut Bran Muffins are healthy enough to whip up on a weekday, but delicious enough to make a terrific addition to brunch.

Bran muffins are something that I used to bake on a regular basis, although they haven’t been a big part of my rotation again until recently. They’re hearty and full of fiber, so they’ll keep you full until lunch – unlike some more cupcake-like muffins. Regardless of flavor, bran muffins typically are versatile enough to be served in a variety of ways: plain, with butter, with jam, with honey, etc. These Coconut Bran Muffins have a hint of tropical flavor that gives them just a bit of extra sweetness, though you can still serve them in all the ways I just mentioned.

The muffins can be mixed up in just a couple of minutes, perfect for a quick morning treat. While unsweetened coconut can be used, I recommend sweetened because it helps the coconut flavor pop a bit more in the finished muffin. The bran is nutty and gives the muffins a dense, moist texture that works really well with the shredded coconut. There is a bit of cinnamon in the batter and the muffins are finished with a generous topping of cinnamon sugar.

These are at their best the day that they are baked, but can be kept for a day or two after baking if stored in an airtight container. Extra muffins can be frozen and reheated in a toaster oven or microwave before serving. If you want to play up the tropical element, use a tropical jam – pineapple, passionfruit or mango – when you serve these up!

Coconut Bran Muffins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
cinnamon sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat bran baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil, egg, milk and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture and the shredded coconut, mixing until batter is uniform.
Divide evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until muffins are set and spring back when lightly pressed. Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely,

Makes 12.

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Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

I always love the opportunity to add a cheese plate to a meal. I particularly enjoy cheese plates that include a little honey or honeycomb with the cheese, adding a sweet contrast to some of the funkier or saltier cheeses on the plate. This Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust is inspired by …

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Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

I always love the opportunity to add a cheese plate to a meal. I particularly enjoy cheese plates that include a little honey or honeycomb with the cheese, adding a sweet contrast to some of the funkier or saltier cheeses on the plate. This Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust is inspired by a cheese plate! The rich cheesecake is made with honey to give it a deep sweetness that contrasts well with the tang of cream cheese, while the pecan crust adds a slightly savory crunch for a texture that sets off the creamy cheesecake.

The honey cheesecake filling is easy to make. It can be done in the food processor or with a hand mixer. The filling includes a generous amount of cream cheese and both sugar and honey. Since honey is so dense, I find that adding a bit of sugar to the filling gives the finished cheesecake a more balanced texture. The honey is where most of the flavor in this recipe comes from, so it is worth choosing a good one to work with. Choose a honey with a rich, citrusy flavor for best results – one that is a local/raw or made from wildflowers is a good place to start. IF you work with a honey that is too mild, you won’t get as much honey flavor in the finished cheesecake.

You can use a prebaked graham cracker crust with this honey cheesecake filling, but you won’t get that delicious nuttiness of the pecans, which add a lot of depth to the dessert. As a result, I really encourage you to try the crust for this recipe, too. It starts with graham cracker crumbs and toasted pecans. You’ll need about 8-10 sheets of graham crackers to make enough crumbs and about 1 cup of toasted pecans. Both can be ground into crumbs in the food processor. You may have a bit extra if you have a standard (vs deep dish) pie crust, but when it comes to crumb crusts it is better to have a little extra crumb to work with than not enough!

The crumb crust has a delicious hint of honey from the graham crackers and a warm nuttiness from the pistachios. It’s not overly sweet on its own, although it does have a small amount of sugar added to it. The crust does need to be prebaked, but the filling can be poured in while the crust is still hot, so this recipe doesn’t take all that much time from start to finish.

The cheesecake will be ready to eat as soon as it has cooled to room temperature, but I highly recommend refrigerating it overnight and serving it the next day. Once chilled, the creamy cheesecake will feel much richer. Even better, the honey flavor will be amplified after the cheesecake sits, so you’ll taste more honey in every bite. Serve with toasted pecans if you really love nuts, or top with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a bit of contrast!

Honey Cheesecake with Pecan Crust
Graham Cracker Pecan Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup finely ground toasted pecans
2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
7 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Honey Cream Cheese Filling
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make Graham Cracker Pecan Crust: In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to toss together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar and salt. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake for 12 minutes on bottom oven rack. Remove from oven and set aside while filling is prepared.

Make Cream Cheese Filling: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in the honey, sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour into baked crust.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until center is just set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 2 hours, then refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Serves 8-10.

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