Category: Dave’s Birthday

Fourth of July Berry Cake–Buy a Pound Cake if You Don’t Want to Bake

Fourth of July Berry Cake–Buy a Pound Cake if You Don’t Want to Bake

I first posted this recipe in Oct., 2012, but think it’s perfect for the 4th, so am reposting.

Just looking at this cake will tell you that it’s not difficult to make and it’s NOT.  A quick glance at the recipe, however, might put you off.  Don’t let it.  There may be a little reading involved, but the cooking and baking are fairly simple and don’t take long.  In fact, though it’s two layers, you only bake one cake.  After it’s cool, you cut it in half.

But listen, if you’re not a baker, this is just the cake for you… because you can get away without baking a cake at all!  Just buy a Sara Lee pound cake(or one from your bakery) and cut it into layers–maybe three?–and do a loaf-shaped cake on a pretty rectangular tray.  Follow the rest of the directions for the berries and filling and there you are!   You could also bake a box cake into cupcakes, slice them, put half in a pretty coffee cup and decorate from there.  Whatever you do, this is a beautiful, tasty cake for 4th of July, Easter, Mother’s Day, or the Memorial Day picnic.  (Assemble this cake where you’re serving it.)  If you don’t have a special cake plate, don’t worry about it.  Whoever eats this will be happy no matter what.  Next time you run in Good Will, see a funky antique shop or a garage sale,  keep an eye our for great serving pieces.  No need to spend a fortune at the department stores.

Another idea comes from my mother-in-law, who, when I was  a young wife, often made a similar cake using a homemade or store bought angel food cake.  To cut calories, she used Cool Whip, but I can’t go that far.   If I’m eating cake I want to eat cake.  Let them eat cake!  But if you really must cut the whipped cream for health or allergy reasons, try the Cool Whip version.



  • Easy Berry Butter Cake (Aida Mollenkamp–courtesy Food Network)
    Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins, plus cooling time | Active Time: 25 mins | Makes:8 to 10 servings
     For the cake:*
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened, plus more for coating the pan
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup whole milk
    *Or use a purchased cake like Sara Lee Pound Cake
    • For the filling:
    • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    To assemble:
      • 1 1/2 pounds mixed berries*, washed (if you’re using *strawberries, they’ll also need to be hulled and quartered)  You might not need quite this many berries; mine didn’t fit on the cake. 
      •  
    INSTRUCTIONS
    For the cake:
      1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with butter and flour, tap out the excess flour, and set the pan aside. Combine measured flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until evenly combined; set aside.
      2. Place measured butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium high until light in color and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium high until white in color and the texture of wet sand, about 3 minutes more.
      3. Add eggs one at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated, then add milk and continue mixing until smooth. Add the rest of the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated, about 2 minutes more.
      • Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake and turn out onto the rack, right side up, to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the filling.
    For the filling:
    Place mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cream, sugar, and almond extract, increase speed to medium high, and whip until ingredients are combined and firm peaks form, about 15 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
    To assemble: *
      1. Slice cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Divide filling evenly between the cut side and the top of the cake. Divide berries evenly over the filling. Stack cakes on top of each other and serve.
     
    If using a purchased cake like frozen Sara Lee pound cake, you might want to slice it (into thirds, perhaps) while it’s still partially frozen.  (Recipe first posted in May of 2012)

     

    Note:  I’ll share with you that whenever I’ve made a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp, it’s been incredible.  I don’t see her on Food Network anymore; is she still on?  But she does have a lot of recipes.  One that immediately comes to mind is her lasagna. Can’t make that very often.
     

     I like berries because of all the things they can do for us…provide tons of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants,  memory ability boosters, and more…  But I also love them because they’re gorgeous, inexpensive (relatively),  taste incredibly good, and are low in calories.  Many of them are also easy to grow at home.  And while we’re out of berry season in most places in the country, I just got a couple of pints of Michigan blueberries much like the tiny wild Maine berries that are often lusciously sweet-tart and make such great pancakes and muffins.  For more on berries and why we should eat them, click here.  

     My gorgeous partner of 39 years turns 60 on Wednesday.  Happy Birthday, Honey!  He wanted a big backyard Burgers, Brats, and Beer Party and that’s what I did yesterday.  A very good time was had by all. Wednesday night, we’ll celebrate at the Twins game.  Tickets to see the Yankees play our Twins on Fireworks night are my birthday gift to him.

     Sing  a new song,
    Alyce
Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake

Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake

Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake–Made and photographed this year in St. Paul

I don’t double blog.  Or if I do, I do it rarely.

This cake, however, belongs on both blogs.  I’ve made it for Dave’s birthday since l984 and for lots of other occasions since.  In different reincarnations.  Chocolate, pumpkin, toffee, cranberry compote.  You get the idea.

Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs (I prefer vanilla wafer crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling

                                                           Directions:
First:  Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter and press into a 10″ spring form pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  1.  Preheat oven to 500º.  Make sure your oven is clean before you start!
  2.  Beat cream cheese with electric mixer in large bowl until very smooth. Blend in lemon juice and vanilla. Sift sugar, flour and salt together and gradually beat into cheese. Beat until creamy, smooth and light, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and yolks one at a time. Blend in cream. Pour into crust.  Place filled pan on a  baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.  
  3.  Bake 12 minutes.
  4.  Reduce oven temperature to 200º. Continue baking until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. The original recipe said for 45 minutes but I find it takes much longer–an hour and a half or more.  Keep testing. (You can also set the oven at 300 and it’s less time–perhaps only 65 minutes.  I think the 200 might have been a typo??)
  5.  Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan. Cool cake completely and refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.

 

 

Note:  In July, 2016 Dave and I took a week-long Alaskan cruise and our last night was in Victoria, British Columbia. You know where we went for dinner:

IMG_4020The meal was lovely, the service attentive, and the cheesecake divine. Dave said it wasn’t as good as mine. But he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Bake on,
alyce