Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I first served this deliciously creamy cake for brunch, but it also makes for a great dessert. Not too sweet and with a consistency somewhere between cake and cheesecake. It’s good warm, but even better after refrigerating overnight.

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Recipe

3 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
6 T. melted butter
1 c. part-skim ricotta
1 c. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten Free flour (or AP flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 350-degrees and grease an 8” or 9” springform pan with a tablespoon of butter. In a large bowl beat together the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the melted butter, ricotta, yogurt, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder to combine.

Pour the batter into pan and sprinkle the top with blueberries. Bake 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. It will still be slightly jiggly; let rest for 30 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap — it’s even better the next day!

* For a prettier look, use round or square biscuit cutters to cut individual servings — best to do this the next day though after it’s been refrigerated overnight.

– inspired by a King Arthur Flour recipe

Fig, Yogurt & Almond Cake

You can tell Fall has begun in the Northwest - fig trees are loaded with delicious fruit - and what better way to celebrate these little gems than in a cake! Another fabulous recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi doesn't disappoint. This moist, dense and sweet cake is perfect for afternoon tea.

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Recipe

13 T. butter
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
3/4 c. ground almonds
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
1 tsp ground star anise
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
9 figs

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Butter and flour a 9" springform pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and pale. Beat the eggs lightly and add gradually to the butter/sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition. In another bowl mix together the almonds, flour, salt, vanilla and anise and fold into the batter. Mix until smooth, then stir in the yogurt.

Pour batter into the springform pan and level with a palette knife or spoon. Cut each fig vertically into four wedges and arrange on top of the batter, skin side down, pressing lightly. Put in the oven with a baking tray underneath to catch any drips and bake for 15 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350-degrees and bake another 30-35 minutes.

Yotam Ottolenghi

Chocolate + Earl Gray Pudding

I love chocolate pudding. Add an Earl Gray tea component, some melted chocolate and maple syrup for sweetener and you've got yourself a dessert! Look for silken tofu (the really silky, extra soft kind) at an Asian market for the best quality (I got mine at Uwajimaya). It doesn't need much time in the fridge to set up, a few hours tops. And it's vegan! 

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Recipe

1/2 c. boiling water
1 T. loose Earl Gray tea (or use a tea bag)
12-oz. silken tofu, drained
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3.5 oz. Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate bar, broken into pieces (+ extra for garnish if desired)
1/4 c. maple syrup
Red Ridge Farms Vermont Maple Sea Salt (or other flaky sea salt)

Add the boiling water to a cup and steep the tea for 30 minutes to get a nice strong taste. Use a tea ball to make straining easier, or use a tea bag.

Wrap the tofu in a clean towel and press it to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Transfer to a food processor. Add the steeped tea and vanilla and process until smooth.

Put the chocolate pieces and maple syrup in a heatproof bowl over simmering water and let it melt, whisking until smooth. Add to the food processor with the tofu/tea mixture. Process on high until silky smooth.

Transfer the pudding to 4 ramekins, bowls, or festive dessert glasses and refrigerate for a few hours to set up to a thicker pudding consistency. To serve, sprinkle with the salt. Add some grated chocolate if you like – use a vegetable peeler to shave off some nice curly pieces.

– based on a recipe by Anna Jones

Buttery Orange Cake

Orangey, moist, buttery goodness. Need I say more?!

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Recipe

15 T. unsalted butter, melted
1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large orange
3 eggs
1 c. plus 2 T. sugar
1/4 c. orange liqueur

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a bundt pan with butter or use a cooking spray.

Zest the orange and set aside to sprinkle on the baked cake. Then peel, cut the orange into chunks and puree in a food processor. 

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light in color and fluffy. Mix in the orange puree. Fold in the flour mixture, then mix in the melted butter and orange liqueur.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before unmolding. Let cool completely, then sprinkle on the reserved orange zest.

– Mimi Thorisson, "French Country Cooking"

Espresso Panna Cotta

How can you go wrong with espresso and heavy cream? This easy recipe from Tyler Florence is served in tiny espresso cups with very small spoons. It's just the right amount to top off a heavy meal. The flavor is enhanced by steeping peels of fresh orange skin in heavy cream with roughly ground coffee beans. Add a shortbread cookie on the side for the perfect dessert. Can be made up to a day in advance but only needs a few hours to set up. Serves 4.

Recipe

1-1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. espresso (or dark French roast) beans, roughly ground in coffee grinder (only about 4 quick presses of the grinder)
3 T. sugar
3 strips of orange peel (no pith), using a vegetable peeler
1 tsp. powdered gelatin
4 cookies for serving (optional)

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 T. powdered sugar

Add the heavy cream, espresso beans, sugar and peel to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and let it steep for 15 minutes. Add the powdered gelatin and using a whisk stir well to dissolve. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve (to remove the peel and bits of espresso beans), then pour into the espresso cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.

When ready to serve, make the whipped cream and put a dollop on top of each pan cotta. Serve with a shortbread cookie.

– Tyler Florence, Food Network

Strawberry Upside-Down Cakelets

These individual strawberry cakelets are just perfect for a 4th of July dessert - easy and quick to prepare. Not too sweet, they're light and creamy with the addition of buttermilk, mascarpone and pureed fresh strawberries in the batter. Makes 6 half-cup ramekins, or you could use muffin tins.

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Recipe

Cooking spray (for ramekins)
1/4 c. sugar (for ramekins)
6 large strawberries, tops removed, sliced into 4 pieces
1-1/2 c. self-rising flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. butter, softened
1/4 c. mascarpone, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. pureed strawberries
Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spray the bottom of the ramekins with cooking spray and sprinkle the bottom of each with a teaspoon of sugar. Arrange the sliced strawberries in a spiral pattern on the bottom of each ramekin.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In another large bowl cream together the butter, mascarpone, vanilla and sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in half of the flour mixture until incorporated, then add the buttermilk and mix. Mix in the remaining flour mixture followed by the pureed strawberries. Mix until smooth with no lumps. Pour the mixture into each ramekin so they are about 3/4 full; tap on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake for about 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool for about 15 minutes, then run a knife along the outside edge of the ramekin and invert onto serving plates. If the strawberries adhere to the bottom, just remove them with a knife or spoon and arrange on top of the cake. When cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

– Recipe by Aaron McCargo Jr., FoodNetwork.com