4th of July dessert recipe

Cheesy Cherry-Blueberry Coffee Cake

Cheesy Cherry-Blueberry Coffee Cake

If you need a really special dessert for your next party or cookout, consider making this cheesy cherry blueberry coffee cake. It is one of my favorite coffee cake recipes ever. This is a great dessert for the 4th of July.

The cake is not too sweet, and the combination of cream cheese, with the fruit,  reminds me of a cherry-blueberry blintz.

The streusal topping adds a nice little crunch.

It is fine served all on its own. You can also serve it with ice cream or whipped cream. You can also top with more blueberries and cherries.

While I think of this cake as a wonderful dessert, it can be served as a breakfast or brunch dish.

As if this weren’t enough- this cake freezes great. Who are we kidding? There won’t be any leftovers – but you could freeze them, if you had some.

So here is the recipe. Enjoy!!

Cheesy Cherry-Blueberry Coffee Cake

1 1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter

2 eggs

2 1/4 c. flour

1 T. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 c. milk

1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

1 c. pitted and coarsely chopped cherries

8 oz. cream cheese, cubed

1 t. grated lemon peel

Topping:

1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. flour

1 t. grated lemon peel

2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 375. Grease and flour a 13×9 inch baking dish. Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine 2 cups of the flour with baking powder and salt and beat into batter alternately with the milk. Toss fruit with the remaining flour and fold into the batter along with the cheese and lemon rind. Pour batter into prepared pan. Combine sugar, flour and lemon peel for topping and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter and bake for about 45 minutes. Use toothpick to test for doneness. Serves 12.

Right out of the oven

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a recipe for mini strawberry shortcakes.  Now, we go to the other extreme. One giant shortcake.

Seriously, it is a fun way to make shortcake. You could make one for any special occasion or party.

This is a great dessert for a party, picnic or barbecue. Instead of making a bunch of individual shortcakes, make one really big one. It makes quite an impression.

When ready to serve it, just cut into slices, like cake or pie. I often serve this shortcake with ice cream on the side. Feel free to switch up which fruits you use. I used kiwi fruit with the strawberries, but you can add different fruits. Peaches would go well with the strawberries or blueberries. Just have fun and use fruit combinations you like. For the 4th of July, you could use a combination of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.

Giant Strawberry Shortcake

1 egg

3/4 c. milk

1/2 t. lemon juice

2 c. flour

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 stick cold butter plus 1 T. softened

1/2 c. plus 1 T. sugar

1 qt. strawberries, sliced thin

2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced thin

1/4 c. chopped nuts, toasted

whipped cream, optional

In small bowl combine egg, milk and lemon juice and set aside. In larger bowl combine the flour, brown sugar and baking powder. Cut in cold butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Add egg mixture and stir until mixture forms into a soft dough. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface about 10 times. On greased baking sheet pat dough into a 15×6-inch oval. Sprinkle dough with the 1 tablespoon of sugar and dot with the softened butter. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Place on wire rack to cool. Toss the berries with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Allow to stand 30 minutes. Split the shortcake lengthwise and remove the top. Spoon over the half the berries and replace top of shortcake. Combine the kiwi with the remaining berries.Spoon over the remaining fruit and sprinkle with the nuts. Dot with whipped cream, if desired. Cut in wedges to serve. Serves 8.

Note: you can bake shortcake day ahead and prep the fruit day ahead, keeping it chilled and just assemble when ready to serve.

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake Roll

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake Roll

This is the perfect summer dessert. Fresh berries, a light, citrus-scented cake and ice cream. What more could you want?

When you say cake roll, I think a lot of people first think of a pumpkin roll or Buche de Noel (yule log).

There are so many more desserts you can make with them. Cake rolls can be made in many flavors and they can be filled with custard, frosting, fruit, ice cream and more.

For this sponge cake roll, I used homemade strawberry ice cream to fill it, recipe follows. You could use store bought ice cream, if you prefer.

Start with the sponge cake roll recipe below, and use whatever flavor ice cream you like. You’ll need about a quart of ice cream- or a little more.

Once finished, you just wrap it up and pop the cake in the freezer until needed. Great to have on hand for summer parties and cook outs. You can decorate with fresh berries when serving. Blueberries would make this a fun red, white and blue dessert for Memorial Day or the 4th of July.

Sponge Cake Roll

This sponge cake roll can be filled with whipped cream or ice cream, or use your favorite filling.
5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup cake flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons melted butter
Beat egg yolks until thicken and lemon colored; gradually add 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Beat egg whites until almost stiff then gradually beat in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold yolk mixture into whites. Sift dry ingredients into a separate container; add to egg mixture, folding in carefully. Fold in melted butter. Pour batter into waxed paper-lined 10x15x1-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Turn onto a clean kitchen towel which has been generously dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Trim edges, if necessary; roll cake up, towel and all, while still warm. Let cool completely. Unroll and fill with whipped cream or ice cream then re-roll cake. The trick is to let the ice cream soften up a few minutes before spreading it on the cake. But don’t wait too long. Rather than trying to let the ice cream get soft enough to spread I used a spatula to sort of cut slices of ice cream and place them on the cake.  Store ice cream cake roll in freezer until ready to slice and serve.

*If you don’t have cake flour you can make your own. Measure out a cup of all purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and replace them with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. For larger amounts place 7 cups of flour in a bowl and combine with 1 cup of cornstarch. Mix well or even sift together. Store in an airtight container.

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 c. chopped strawberries

1 c. sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 c. cream or  half and half or a combination. You can also use some milk or even almond or rice milk.

Additional sugar to taste

Place strawberries, vanilla  and sugar in saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and chill. Combine chilled berry mixture with cream. Add additional sugar if you like. Remember that once it is frozen the ice cream will not taste as sweet so make this mixture a little sweeter than you want the final product to be. How much sugar you add varies with personal taste, and how sweet the berries are. Place in an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Once finished put in an air- tight container and place in freezer. Makes about 1 quart.

Spread softened ice cream over cake and re-roll.

Berry White Cake

Berry White Cake

What else would you call a white cake, studded with berries, but Berry White? While this red, white and blue cake would be lovely for a 4th of July party, it would be great anytime. You can use fresh, or even frozen berries. They really make a simple white cake special.

I topped it off with a lemon butter cream frosting and since it was for the 4th of July I added a few star sprinkles.

To make the cake, start by making a white cake batter. I used homemade -recipe follows- but you could use a box mix if that is what you prefer. After you pour the batter into your pan, or pans, sprinkle with some blueberries and raspberries- or whatever berries you happen to have. Don’t fold the berries into the batter. Fresh or frozen berries could be used. I used about 2 cups of berries in all. Once cooled, frost the cake. I used a lemon butter cream- recipe follows.

Classic White Cake

2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
4 egg whites or whole eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 c. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch pan. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle berries over the surface of the cake. Bake 35-40 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch. Makes 1.

Note: I actually made 3 smaller cakes from this recipe- reduced baking time to 20- 25 minutes.

Lemon Butter Cream

½ cup butter
4 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 T. milk
1 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a bowl beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in the milk, juice and vanilla. Slowly beat in remaining sugar. Beat in additional milk, if needed, to make of spreading consistency.

Top the cake batter with berries before baking

Ready for the oven

Freshly baked

Freshly baked

Cherry and Almond Sorbet

Cherry and Almond Sorbet

I love all sorts of sorbets. I make them all year long, but I seem to make more when summer arrives. The basic recipe is simple –  just pureed fruit, some sweetener and usually, some flavoring or herb, to add interest. They are so light and refreshing. The perfect dessert for summer.

So far I have make sorbet from pineapples, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries (with red grapes), peaches, cranberries and coconut. I am sure I have forgotten some of them.

I picked up fresh cherries at the market, so I could make cherry sorbet.

Fresh cherries are one of my favorite fruits of all time. I love both sweet and sour cherries. For the sorbet, I just pitted a pound of cherries, added sugar and some lemon juice. It needed a little something more- so I added almond extract. Really worked well with the cherries.

So here is the recipe. Simple and sweet.

Cherry Almond Sorbet

1 lb. cherries, pitted

3/4 c. sugar, or to taste*

3 T. lemon juice – it helps the cherries retain their color

1 t. almond extract

Place cherries in blender or food processor, with the sugar and extract. Blend until smooth. Adjust sweetener to suit your taste. Place in a container with a lid and freeze. Once mixture is frozen, remove from the freezer, break into chunks and place in food processor. Process until mixture looks creamy and smooth. You might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Eat or return to freezer until ready to use. Makes just over a quart of sorbet.

*Feel free to use other sweeteners you like in place of the sugar. Honey or maple syrup would both work nicely.

Cherry Almond Sorbet

Cherry Almond Sorbet

This summer, I have been obsessed with making sorbets. The basic recipe is simple –  just pureed fruit, some sweetener and usually, some flavoring or herb, to add interest. They are so light and refreshing. The perfect dessert for summer.

So far I have make sorbet from pineapples, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries (with red grapes), peaches, cranberries and coconut. I am sure I have forgotten some of them.

I picked up fresh cherries at the market, so I could make cherry sorbet.

Fresh cherries are one of my favorite fruits of all time. I love both sweet and sour cherries. For the sorbet, I just pitted a pound of cherries, added sugar and some lemon juice. It needed a little something more- so I added almond extract. Really worked well with the cherries.

So here is the recipe. Simple and sweet.

Cherry Almond Sorbet

1 lb. cherries, pitted

3/4 c. sugar, or to taste*

3 T. lemon juice – it helps the cherries retain their color

1 t. almond extract

Place cherries in blender or food processor, with the sugar and extract. Blend until smooth. Adjust sweetener to suit your taste. Place in a container with a lid and freeze. Once mixture is frozen, remove from the freezer, break into chunks and place in food processor. Process until mixture looks creamy and smooth. You might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your food processor. Eat or return to freezer until ready to use. Makes just over a quart of sorbet.

*Feel free to use other sweeteners you like in place of the sugar. Honey or maple syrup would both work nicely.

Cherry Bombs

Cherry Bombs

These little treats make a great addition to your 4th of July party. They are simple to make, with only three ingredients.  You can make them in no time at all. It is a fun treat for kids to make, too.

Think of the cherry bombs as a type of candy. A simple, sweet treat that can be served just as they are. They can also be used to top a cake or other dessert. You can even garnish a cocktail with them. I did the same thing with strawberries, but “strawberry bombs” did not have the same ring to it.

 

To make the cherry bombs, you will need cherries, white chocolate and blue sugar. If you don’t have blue sugar, you can put granulated sugar in a bag, add a few drops of blue food coloring, seal the bag and shake it up. The sugar will turn blue.

Wash and dry off some large, sweet cherries. Melt white chocolate, stirring until smooth. Dip the cherries in the white chocolate, then the blue sugar. Place on wax paper to firm up. Store in fridge.