Dark Cherry Fruit Leather Roll-Ups

As stated in previous posts, I am loving all the fruit this summer.  I can’t say it enough.  I don’t know if I just forgot how good berries and cherries and melons were or if it’s the fact that we are consciously trying to eat more fresh fruit, but everything is just sooooo good this year.  And as usual when the cherries show up in the store, I find myself standing in front of them, debating wether or not to spend the money and get some.  Like, every. time.  I will seriously stand, debate, put some in my cart, put them back, stand there some more, see if I can cut something else from my grocery list then resign myself to the fact that they are a little too pricey and slowly walk away.  How sad is that?!?  So when I found some gorgeous cherries at Braum’s (of all places!) on sale for a ridiculous price, I snatched them up.

Of course I initially wanted to eat all of them right away.  But then I saw this recipe for fruit leather from Baked by Rachel and that was it–I KNEW what I was doing with those cherries.  I was nervous since I’ve wanted to make fruit leather, gummies, etc before but have always been scared of leaving my oven on for 15 hours and not having it turn out and some people said it worked, some said it didn’t so I just never tried but this time I was going for it!  Of course, I STILL put the leather in my oven a little too late in the evening for the five hours baking required and ended up waiting until 12:30 at night to pull it out of the oven.  Yes, I’m 31 and that’s late for me.  Anyway…

I pulled it out and knew immediately it wasn’t coming off the parchment paper.  Ok, not to panic.  Haha, yeah right, I totally panicked.  And then I went to bed.  That’s right, I went to bed and FORGOT about the fruit leather sitting on top of my stove.  And you know what?  It worked!  Apparently setting the pans out in the open air overnight for about eight hours was the right thing to do because the next day I was able to slice and VERY GENTLY peel them off the parchment paper!  Sweet!  And wow, are these things amazing!!!  Jeremy loves them, I love them and my niece and nephew love them (and the kid test is the true test if you ask me).  I totally plan on making them again but trying a different fruit and subbing sucanat for the sugar so they are a little more healthy.

Have fun!

Dark Cherry Fruit Leather Roll-Ups
 
Ingredients
  • 5 c. Dark Bing Cherries, pitted
  • ¼ c. plus 1 T. Water
  • ⅓ c. plus 2 T. Sugar in the Raw (or granulated sugar which is what the original recipe calls for)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine cherries and water and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking and stirring until all the cherries are soft and have broken down a bit. It will take about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender and blend until completely smooth (mine had the tiniest pieces of cherry left in it and I actually loved it). Return to saucepan, add sugar and cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Divide mixture evenly between the two baking sheets. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large wooden spoon to spread the mixture as evenly and thin as possible without the white of the parchment paper coming though. Spots that are not thin enough, may not cook/dry completely (I had one small spot like that but it wasn't a big deal).
  5. Bake in the oven, rotating pans every hour for 5 hours or until just slightly tacky. Remove from oven and let air dry on the baking sheets for at least 8 hours.
  6. With the parchment paper, lift and move the fruit leather sheets onto a cutting board. Using a pizza slicer (or extremely sharp knife), cut the sheets into 6 strips each (for a total of 12 strips). Starting at the edge of one sheet, gently peel the leather away from the parchment and roll up. Wrap a piece of parchment around each roll-up and secure with string or tape. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 12 fruit leather roll-ups.

 

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Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake

I wanted to make something extra special for my father-in-laws birthday because he definitely deserved it.  He is one of the most selfless, giving people I know and his birthday lunch needed a fabulous cake!  Jeremy told me he had mentioned pineapple and yellow cake so I thought hmmm, Pineapple Upside Down Cake??  Sounded good to me!  Now I had never made one before but I had had plenty in younger days…Pineapple Upside Down Cake seemed to show up at every church potluck and family gathering we had.  You know the kind, made with boxed yellow cake mix and canned pineapple slices..and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that version but I wanted to try my hand at a totally from scratch Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

I found this recipe on simplyrecipes.com and only made a couple of changes, nothing major at all.  As for the cake, I really liked the way it turned out, more like a pound cake.  I thought the addition of almond flour was somewhat odd but it added a nice texture to the cake.  It was definitely better the second day after the pineapple juices and butter/brown sugar mixture had time to seep into the cake a bit more.  I served it at room temperature with vanilla ice cream and everyone loved it.  I’d say it was a successful birthday!

Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake
 
Ingredients
Topping
  • 1 c. Firmly Packed Regular or Dark Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 5 Slices Fresh, Cored Pineapple (or 1, 20 oz. Can Pineapple Slices)
  • Maraschino Cherries
Cake
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 6 T. Cake Flour
  • 6 T. Almond Flour/Meal
  • ¾ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ c. Sour Cream
Instructions
For the Topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch, round cake pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly into pan. Pour butter evenly over brown sugar. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of the butter/sugar mixture and fill the center of each pineapple with maraschino cherries (I used 5 cherries in each center).
  2. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, almond flour/meal, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, beating well after each addition. Pour cake batter into pan.
  3. Bake in oven for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until a tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely or turn out onto a platter after 10 minutes and serve warm.
Notes
Serves 16.

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Banana Splits

Today is National Banana Split Day!  Woo hoo, get excited!  Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of banana splits…I mean, if I’m going to have ice cream, I don’t want anything even remotely healthy going on or in it.  Give me the sugary, fatty bad stuff all the way.  But then I came upon these banana split inspired recipes and OMG I am drooling all over my keyboard.  Talk about decadent, over-the-top, gloriously evil, sweet temptation!

Enjoy!  And try to keep the drooling to a minimum.

Banana Split Cake

Banana Split Truffles

Banana Split Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake

Banana Split Cupcakes

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Black Forest Cake

A couple of weeks ago the sun was shining, birds were singing and people were cruising around with their windows down and hair blowing in the wind.  Naturally, this kind of weather called for grilling!  So we headed over to my in-laws house to chow down on some grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.  Our contribution to the meal was a cake and not just any cake but a Black Forest Cake!  My aunt Tammy used to make this cake years ago and someone mentioned it the other day which sparked the memory of cakes past and got my mouth watering.  So since I had never made one I decided it was time.  Here are a few pics of it all coming together.

Cherries

Chopped chocolate

Cherries and chocolate…these are a few of my most favorite things.

Cakes coming out of oven

All the yummy layers.

2 Layers

More 2 layers

4 layers

Attempting to frost with the whipped cream–quite the challenge.

Frosting

More frosting

And the finished product!

Finished close up

Finished

So, a few things I learned.

1. This cake requires a great deal of patience.  While not difficult, it is time consuming to make all of the components and put it all  together.

2.  Whipped cream doesn’t make the best frosting.  Don’t get me wrong it looks pretty and tastes amazing but what a pain in the butt to put on!  I will probably frost the sides with a dark chocolate frosting next time and leave the whipped cream for the layers and the top of the cake.

3.  Never throw an almost completed cake in the trash no matter how badly you want to!  I had just a few issues with the cake (little lopsided, some “juicing” out the bottom, difficulty frosting, etc) and I really thought it was just no good but thankfully my husband talked me off the ledge and boy am I glad he did!  The cake was soooo good!

I haven’t made a lot of cakes in my time (this was probably the third?) but it’s always a learning experience and the finished product is definitely worth the effort!

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients

2 1/8 c All-Purpose Flour
2 c White Sugar
3/4 c Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 t Baking Powder
3/4 t Baking Soda
3/4 t Salt
3 Eggs
1 c Milk
1/2 c Vegetable Oil
1 T Pure Vanilla Extract
3, 14.5 oz Cans Pitted Sour Cherries, drained with juice reserved
1 c White Sugar
1/4 c. Cornstarch
1/4-1/2 c Kirsch

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two, 9 in. round cake pans and line with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat until well blended.  Divide batter evenly into two pans and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Loosen edges and remove to racks to cool completely.

Combine 1/2 c. reserved juice, cherries, 1 c sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan.  Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently.  (Be patient, it will take awhile)  Stir in vanilla and cool.  Move to fridge to speed up cooling.  Stir in kirsch.

(While cake and cherries are cooling, make simple syrup, ganache and whipped cream.  See recipes below.)

Split each cake layer horizontally.  Place one cake layer on cake plate/stand.  Brush on simple syrup with a pastry brush.  Spread on thin layer of ganache.  Cover with layer of whipped cream and then cherries.  Repeat with next three layers, but instead of spreading cherries on top layer, first frost the whole cake with the whipped cream and let firm up in freezer.  Apply final frosting of whipped cream and then spread the cherries into center of the top of cake and pipe whipped cream around the edges.  Decorate sides with chopped chocolate.  Or frost sides with chocolate buttercream instead of whipped cream.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Simple Syrup

1/2 c Juice (from drained cherries)
1/2 c White Sugar
1/4 c. Kirsch

Simmer juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Add kirsch after syrup has cooled.

Ganache

12 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 c Heavy Whipping Cream

Place chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.  Pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth.  Let cool completely.

Whipped Cream

5 c Heavy Whipping Cream
1 c Powder Sugar
3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

Chill mixing bowl and whisk in freezer for 30 minutes.  Remove and place heavy whipping cream in mixing bowl.  Whip on high speed until cream thickens.  Add powder sugar and vanilla extract.

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