Monday, August 29, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts. Cheesecake throughout most of my childhood were the boxed, no bake mixes. At the time, I thought they were to die for. Then, as I got older, I was exposed to REAL cheesecake. One of my mom's co-workers made delicious cakes, and I'll never forget the Valentine's Day when my mom brought one home for my sister & I!

Since then, I've enjoyed making one when I know people will appreciate them. (My husband enjoys them, but due to lactose intolerance, I'm the one eating most of my cheesecake!) This one takes a bit of work with the 3 layers, but I would definitely make it again. It was so light & refreshing!

LEMON CHEESECAKE (Adapted from Chowhound and

2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (Approximately 2 packages of graham crackers)
6 tablespoons butter; melted
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine crust ingredients thoroughly. Press crust evenly onto bottom and sides of buttered 10 inch springform pan. Bake crust 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Cover pan with aluminum foil.

3 8 ounce packages cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Beat cream cheese until soft. Add sugar, and beat until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in lemon juice, rind, vanilla and lemon extract. Pour into pan with crust, and place pan in a water bath. Bake 50-60 minutes.

2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together sour cream and remaining sugar and vanilla. Gently spread sour cream mixture over top of cake. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes. Turn oven off and cool cheesecake in oven with door propped open for 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely on wire rack.

1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Yellow gel food coloring (optional)

Combine all glaze ingredients and blend until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened (3 minutes). Chill until cool, but not set. Spread on top of cheesecake.

Chill overnight.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry spinach salads are a common spring & summer salad. I love the combination. However, I've never had them with a strawberry dressing, let alone make one to eat with the salad. I served this with our Easter dinner (I'm only 4 months late in posting this!), and it was a wonderful, light start to the meal! We added feta cheese to the salad, and I think some nuts would add some wonderful texture (we were out, or I would have added some.) I can't wait to enjoy this more often!

STRAWBERRY DRESSING (Adapted from Annie's Eats)
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. champagne
1 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, combine the strawberries, vinegar, champagne, sugar and salt. Process until the mixture is well combined and completely smooth. Transfer to an airtight bottle or container and refrigerate until ready to use.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Although summer is quickly coming to an end, and school has already started in parts of the country, it is never too late to enjoy a tasty Pina Colada when the weather is warm & balmy. These cupcakes are an edible version on a favorite summertime drink. They have a very moist pineapple cake base, with a wonderful coconut cream cheese frosting. They were enjoyed by all (especially the kids, who loved the umbrellas).

Makes 18-24 cupcakes

1/3 C coconut rum (or any rum you have on hand)
3/4 C coconut milk
1/4 C pineapple juice (I used the juice from the crushed pineapple)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1 C + 3 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs
1 C shredded baker's coconut
1 C drained, crushed pineapple

In a small bowl, combine rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Alternately add the flour mixture and the rum mixture, beating well after each addition. Fold in the coconut and pineapple. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.


8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 C unsalted butter, room temperature
4 C powdered sugar
1/3 C coconut cream

Mix cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Mix in coconut cream.

Frost as desired. ENJOY!