chocolate swirled citrus mini pavlovas

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Oh hey friends!  I'm still obsessed with everything citrus these days, and these mini pavlovas are no exception.  The citrus in them is so light and refreshing, and the chocolate swirls are divine.  Swirling chocolate into meringue is one of my favourite things to do, as it tastes amazing, and adds such a whimsical look to them.

I make mini pavlovas more often then I make full-sized ones these days.  I find them so much easier to serve (cutting neatly through meringue, whipped cream, and fruit can be a nightmare...haha), and it makes it simple to customize when serving to a crowd.   I'll sometimes bring both normal whipped cream as well as coconut whipped cream when serving these in case there's someone with a dairy allergy.  That's a win win for everyone.


chocolate swirled citrus mini pavlovas

yields: 8-10 mini pavlovas
 

ingredients:

4 large (120 g) egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Topping

1 cup (240 mL) whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

citrus slices 

chopped pistachios

directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well in between each addition.  Repeat until all sugar is incorporated, and meringue forms stiff and shiny peaks. *Don't rush this, as adding in too much sugar at once can cause the meringue to deflate.

Beat in vanilla extract, orange zest, and lemon juice.  Gently fold in cornstarch.

Spoon the meringue onto the lined baking sheet, the size depends on your preference. 

In a small bowl, carefully melt dark chocolate, and then spoon into a small piping bag.  Zig zag chocolate over each meringue, and then run a toothpick in small circles through the chocolate and meringue to create swirls in each meringue.

Place baking sheet in the oven and turn the temperature down to 250 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour, or until the meringue is a very light cream colour.  Turn off the oven, leave the door cracked open, and allow to cool completely inside the oven, at least 1 more hour.

Meringue can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for a couple days before serving.

While meringue is cooling, prepare the topping.  In a medium bowl, whip whipping cream on high until soft peaks form.  Add in powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, and mix well.  

Prepare pavlovas directly before serving.   If you assemble them too much ahead of time, the whipping cream will make the meringues go soggy.  I like to serve everything separately so that everyone can assemble their as desired.

Top meringues with a generous scoop of whipped cream, citrus slices, and chopped pistachios.


Happy Pavlova baking!

fluffy white mini egg cake with vanilla robin's egg specked butter cream frosting

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Oh hiiiii!!  You know what time it is.  MINI EGG TIME!!

I'm obsessed with them, as is any sane human around this time of year.  I love eating them by the handful, but I also love putting them in dessert.  It's tradition.  Last year I put them in cheesecake (recipe here), and the year before that I made ice cream with them (recipe here).  So, naturally I decided that a fluffy white cake was next.

I've always had fomo (aka fear of missing out) when I would see everyone making pretty blue robin's egg cakes around Easter, so I decided that this year I wouldn't be left out!  I saw Marcella's (from Hey Modest Marce blog!) recipe for her version and I knew I just *had* to make one this year.  And I'm so glad I did!

The divine, NOT DRY, fluffy white cake that is the base of this recipe comes from Tessa over at Style Sweet Ca, aka Queen of Cake.  This is the recipe that has taught me not to fear white cakes anymore....which is a BIG DEAL.  I have tried soooo many recipes where they came out dry, and I was firmly in the "chocolate cake camp" for many many years.  Tessa's recipe is so wonderful, and has become my new go-to recipe to work with when I can't make something chocolate. Ha!

This cake is perfect for Easter.  Or Spring.  Or just because.

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fluffy white mini egg cake

recipe: adapted from Tessa - Style Sweet Ca
yields: three 6-inch cake layers

ingredients:

5 large eggs whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup whole milk - divided

2 1/2 cups cake flour (*this is a must - don't sub all-purpose flour here)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups mini eggs, coarsely chopped

Topping:

1 tablespoon cocoa powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water - for making brown speckles

mini eggs

large flake coconut
 

directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease three 6-inch cake pans, line just the bottoms with parchment (to keep mini eggs from sticking) and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the egg whites, vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of the milk, and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix on low until combined.  Add in the softened butter and 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low until just moistened.  Turn the mixer to medium-high and mix until completely combined.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

With your mixer on medium-low, slowly stream in the egg white mixture.  Add it in 3 batches, and each addition should take about 15 seconds to pour in each time.  Ensure everything is completely incorporated before adding the next batch, but try not to over-mix since it can make the cake dry.  Use a spatula to gently fold in mini eggs.

Distribute the batter between the prepared pans.  I use a kitchen scale to make sure an even amount is in each one.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  I like to carefully rotated my pans a couple times while cooking to ensure even heating. 

Allow cakes to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans.  Let cool for another 20 minutes, and then use a large serrated knife to carefully level each one.

Cool cakes completely before frosting.  I like to make the cake the day before, and wrap each layer in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge or freezer.  Cool cake layers are easier to handle, and means less crumbs in your icing.

*Tip: I like to use a cookie scoop to ensure an even amount of frosting goes between each layer.  For this cake I used 3 scoops between each layer, and the rest of the frosting went on the outside of the cake.

Mix together 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of water.  Dip just the tip of a pastry brush into the mixture, and flick onto the cake to form speckles.  And repeat until desired speckle amount is reached.

*note: I practiced in my sink to get my technique down.  It's a bit messy, but cleans up easily if you miss the cake at all. 

Press large flaked coconut around the base of the cake.  Form a nest on the top of the cake with coconut, and fill with mini eggs.


vanilla robin's egg frosting

ingredients

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1-3 tablespoons cream (milk works fine too)

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar

royal blue and teal gel food colouring

directions

In a large mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter with vanilla and 1 tablespoon of cream on low speed until incorporated.  Continue mixing on low while gradually adding in powdered sugar.  Scrape down sides of the bowl, and add another tablespoon of cream if needed.  Mix on medium-low until completely smooth.  

*mixing on low helps keep air bubble formation to a minimum.  If your frosting seems to be full of bubbles, simply mix on low for a couple minutes, or run a spatula through the frosting several times to press air out.


Happy mini egg eating!

fresh mint frosting on a chocolate sheet cake - subtle st. patrick's day vibes

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Heyyyyy friends!  Me again!  I decided to do a little subtle St. Patrick's day recipe for you.  I did an easy peasy chocolate sheet cake for ya (these things are seriously my fave thing ever), topped with a subtle mint frosting.

Let's talk about mint.  Some people love it, some people hate it.  There's such a fine line between refreshingly herby mint, and toothpaste.  Am I right?  I think I got this just right, and kept the mint from being too overwhelming.  This was my first time trying to use fresh mint instead of extract, and it is SO WORTH IT.   This is much more spearminty, and doesn't taste fake....duh.  Totally worth the extra effort of finding fresh mint (grow your own, it's the best!), and muddling it for this recipe.

So I muddled the mint, blended it with some very soft/melty butter and a couple tablespoons of milk to get it nice and smooth (although flecks of mint in the icing would be totally cool too), and then mixed it in with the rest of the butter, icing sugar, and a dash of vanilla extract.  Heaven, I tell ya.  I smoothed it over top of my go-to one bowl chocolate sheet cake, and it makes for such a quick and easy recipe that is so easy to serve to a large group.  


chocolate sheet cake with fresh mint frosting

(adapted from Our Treasured Recipes by Central Heights MB Church)

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoon vinegar

3/4 cup oil 

2 cups warm water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 sheet pan and set aside.

Mix together all dry ingredients; then pour all wet ingredients over top and mix until moist.  That's it!

Pour batter into 9x13 pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes for cake, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes, and then gently invert it onto the cooling rack. (*I often tip it onto a cookie sheet, and then flip back onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and then slide the parchment off the cookie sheet with the cake on it onto the cooling rack since it can be hard to handle without breaking).

Allow to cool completely before icing.  Add sprinkles, topping as desired.  Pop iced cake in the fridge 15 minutes before cutting for a clean cut.

Store in an airtight container.  Freezes very well.

 

Fresh Mint Frosting

ingredients

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons cream (milk is fine too)

2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar

8-12 mint leaves (to taste)

Optional: green food colouring
gold sprinkles

directions

First muddle the mint leaves.  This work best in a mortar and pestle, or use the back of a spoon and be sure to crush and bruise the leaves to release the flavours, don't just finely chop them.  

In a small blender, mix together mint leaves, cream, and 1/4 very very soft butter.  You want their to be enough liquid for it to blend smoothly.  Mix until just smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 3/4 cup of butter, vanilla, and icing sugar.  Add in mint mixture, and beat on medium low for 3-4 minutes.  The frosting should be very smooth and light.  Don't beat on high or you'll form air bubbles; if this happens, beat on low for a couple minutes, or use a spatula to run lines through the frosting to pop any air bubbles.

Note: The frosting will be a natural beige/green colour, so I added the smallest amount of green food colour gel to bring it to a sublte pale green.  This is optional of course, but this icing isn't naturally green.  *If your vanilla is not clear like mine was, then it will be a darker beige.

Spread evenly on cooled cake, or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.  

This frosting also freezes well.  Defrost in the fridge the day before you want to use it.  Mix on low speed to smooth frosting if needed.


rosemary garlic parmesan potatoes

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Oh hey friends, look who has a savoury recipe for you today?  Baking is my true love, but I'm hoping to share more of my everyday savoury dishes with you here as well.  Starting with these crispy, flavourful potatoes!  Gonna be real honest here, I feel a bit silly sharing recipes like this sometimes.  Not a ton of super specific ingredients, ha!  Definitely adjustable to your own taste, but I hope the idea is helpful!

I'm a big big fan of rosemary, and snitched some of my mom's fresh off her patio for this recipe, as well as some fresh oregano.  I added them to some local potatoes, onion, garlic, some spices, and a splash of lemon juice.  And CHEESE!! Perfection.  This recipes makes a TON of potatoes, and is so great if you're going to a potluck or having a big family dinner.  You might want to cut it in half if you aren't a fan of leftovers.  I personally love freezing them, and pulling them out when I want a quick supper side dish, or even make a quick egg and hashbrown brunch with them!  Very handy to have when you're short on time in my opinion.


rosemary garlic parmesan potatoes

recipe: Kelsey Siemens

ingredients:

12-15 medium potatoes (yukon gold or russet work best)

olive oil

1 onion, diced

6-7 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (sub 2 tsp dried oregano if you can't find fresh)

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

salt and pepper

juice from half a lemon

butter, melted

flaked salt (optional)

parmesan cheese

directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 roasting dish and set aside.

Wash, dry, and thinly slice the potatoes.  Arrange them in rows in the roasting dish, you want the roaster to be full, but not too tight.  Drizzle or brush potatoes with oil.  You want the potatoes to be coated, but not too much to be pooling below them.  Spread diced onion and minced garlic over top of potatoes.  In a small bowl, mix together rosemary, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.  Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over potatoes.  Squeeze half a lemon over top of everything.

Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, and baste potatoes with melted butter.  Be generous, and make sure to get between the layers of potatoes.  At this point they should start separating a bit.  Place back in the oven, and roast for another 30 minutes.  Once Tthe potatoes are cooked through, and starting to get crispy edges (feel free to sneak one out of the pan to test one), remove from oven again and sprinkle with flaked salt and parmesan cheese.  Place pan back in oven, and allow cheese to get melty and/or crispy.  Remove from oven and serve.

This is a huge recipe, and is so great for a crowd.  The roaster is easy to transport too, if you're headed to a potluck.  These potatoes will keep in the fridge for several days, and freeze well.


Happy potato roasting!