Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

I only made two pumpkin recipes this fall. One was my mom’s pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving (which I then enjoyed for the rest of the week because I did a solo, socially distant Thanksgiving thanks to the virus.) The other was this pumpkin coffee cake. And while nothing can beat mom’s pumpkin pie, I was preeetty pleased with how this coffee cake came out. Look, when you’re faced with a canned pumpkin shortage and you have to decide the two recipes you’re going to make for the year, the stakes are high! But if I had to do it over again, I totally would.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUMBLE:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
2 large eggs, beaten

FOR THE GLAZE:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a baking pan, then set aside.

Make the crumble first by combining all ingredients in a bowl with a mixer. Then set this bowl aside.

Make the cake next. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, powder, soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and sugars. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, sour cream, and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently until combined.

Pour the cake batter into the greased pan. Top with the crumble, then bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Pull the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes/

While the cake cools, make the icing by combining the powdered sugar with water in a clean bowl. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cake.

Serve with coffee or, my preference, espresso!

Woohoo! Now it’s officially time to move on to Christmas content. YAY!

Halloween Cheese Board

One of the best parts of my job is the content creation I do for our clients who we manage social media accounts for. It’s a constant push to be creative and improve my photography skills, but it’s also really great motivation to do picture-perfect seasonal activities all the time because it’s good subject material for content!

One of our accounts needed a moody Halloween themed charcuterie board, so I stepped up to the plate. (Please be aware that I make & finalize the content concepts/calendars, so by “stepping up to the plate” I mean “I gave myself an excuse to do this.”) The result was so cute I just had to share!

Look, I’m not the cheese board expert in the family. But I know how to make whatever I’m working with look appropriately festive. So while I can’t be like, “I have it on full authority that you should pair the following three cheeses…” I can be like, “This is how you make it SpOoKy!”

To make a Halloween cheeseboard, start with the cheese: You need a bleu cheese. Not only is it freakin’ delicious (don’t @ me) but the mold looks appropriately creepy. Next go with a hard, orange cheese that you can slice or cube…because of the color, duh! I think rounding it out with a creamy cheese is best because I love a creamy/stinky cheese but honestly make your board however you want.

Next up you’ve got the cured meats: I think it’s hard to go wrong with prosciutto and salami because…it looks closest to something you might find in/on the body. Sorry about that last sentence.

Accoutrements: Cornichons, mixed olives, and nuts add to the dark and moody color palate. You can round this effect out with fruits like blackberries, grapes, and pomegranate seeds (think black/red). I like to add in fig spread, again because it’s a darker color for a moodier effect but also because figs taste like fall to me. And obviously, you need a vehicle. I used these mini toasts because I needed to add in a French component for the client and this was a French brand.

When you assemble your board, get extra Halloween vibes by adding in a mini pumpkin or two. Put plastic spiders strategically on the board to freak guests out. “Stab” a cheese knife into one of the cheeses for a murderous effect, and it never hurts to have a skeleton hand that looks like it wants in on the action.

So much fun, right? I swear that themed cheese/charcuterie boards just taste better. Hopefully this is good inspiration for next year!

Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Popsicles

I figure now that the first day of fall is literally around the corner, I might as well share the summer recipes I’ve been sitting on for, oh, months.

I’ve had a pretty excellent summer, all things considered (pandemic, political unrest, a consistently hefty workload)! Some highlights since we’ve last chatted: Driving with my best friend to my summer cabin in Wisconsin for the best socially-distant 10 days with my family; re-doing my bedroom decor; spending every opportunity by the pool with a good book; slumber parties; a socially-distant weekend trip to the beach; getting a bike; FaceTiming with friends that are far away that I can’t visit; lots of hikes; a week-long stay at a beach house on Figure 8 Island which was technically work but felt like a girl’s trip because I’m so freakin’ lucky. I mean, not bad right?!

So obviously I was busy livin’ and not too worried about writing and I’m not sorry about it! Just like I’m not sorry for sharing a popsicle recipe in the middle of September. It may be in the 60’s this weekend in North Carolina (and my apartment may be decorated for Halloween already) but we all know it will be back up to the 80’s next week so let’s just accept what we have here.

So there’s this fast food chain here called Cook Out – it’s like elite fast food. Better than anything except for maaaybe Shake Shack (but only the Shake Shack on 72nd street in NYC) Yeah, I said what I said. Anyway, they have all these specialty milkshake flavors like “banana pudding” and “orange push-up” but my favorite is their raspberry cheesecake. So obviously I recreated it in popsicle form.

I mean, how precious are these?! That marble effect! And they taste even better than they look. Honestly you should just make them in general but they’d be perfect to serve for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day so file these away for next summer for sure!

Raspberry Cheesecake Popsicles

Ingredients:

RASPBERRY SAUCE:
12 oz fresh raspberries
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
Juice from 1 lime

ICE CREAM BASE:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz graham cracker crumbs

Directions
1. First make the raspberry sauce by combining the raspberries, sugar, and lime juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and heat until the mixture reaches a gentle boil. Cook until the berries have softened and the sugar has dissolved completely. Then remove the saucepan from heat and allow to cool.
2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree. Then strain the puree over a large bowl to remove any seeds. Toss the seeds and chill the sauce completely in the fridge.
3. While the sauce chills, make the ice cream. In a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s smooth and creamy.
4. Add the milk and heavy cream to the cream cheese and mix until well combined. Put the mixture in the fridge and let chill for 30 minutes.
5. Transfer the cream mixture to your ice cream machine and follow manufacturer instructions. Don’t add the raspberry sauce during the churning process!
6. Once the ice cream is finished churning, it should be milkshake-like consistency.
7. Pull the raspberry sauce from the fridge and find your popsicle molds.
8. Fill the popsicle molds about 1/4th of the way with ice cream, then add a tablespoon of raspberry sauce, and continue to alternate between the two until the popsicle molds are filled.
9. Add popsicle sticks to the molds, cover them, and place the molds in the freezer to allow everything to freeze for a few hours at least (but ideally overnight)
10. Once ready, remove a popsicle slowly and carefully from the mold and enjoy!