Spring is most definitely spreading her wings and bringing gorgeous, sunny skies to Southern California. With spring, comes two of my favorite things... strawberries and spring break.
As we eased back into real life today, the kids reflected on our fairly inactive and much needed restful break, wishing themselves back into dreamland with no schedule. Alas... the break is over and it's back to school and the regularly scheduled schedule.
Not everyone was spending their break kicking back and relaxing though. I'd like to introduce you to my favorite almost-teen blogger, Bella, of Bellabits, who spent her spring break in the kitchen and at the computer writing a Guest Post for us. A 2011 Young Writer's Program winner, Bella brings a fresh voice to her blog and shows off her talent in the kitchen.
Who can resist a girl who in 2010 wrote about a Christmas shopping spree proclaiming her favorite stop William's Sonoma? Coming home with a Vanilla Bean Paste she was eager to get back into the kitchen, just like she did on Spring Break 2012.
I can't thank Bella enough for sharing her sweet Strawberry Corn Cakes with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream with all of us. You can find her on Bellabits and the Bellabits Facebook page. She's also on twitter at @IamBellabits.
Oh my goodneshhh!! Hello everyone, its Bella!!!
OK so I was doodling what might become Bellabits' new logo, and looking for blogging inspiration, flipping through some of my favorite Food Network Magazines. These are always packed with SCRUMDIDDLYUMPTIOUS recipes, and I happened to stumble upon a delicious looking one of them: Strawberry Corn Cakes! Yummy right?
I've got to tell you that I have been on a cornbread kick lately. My Mom never made cornbread much, but this last winter, we started making it instead of rolls with dinner, as breakfast (cornbread pancakes) and dessert (buttered brown sugar cornbread). So, right then and there, I decided that we absolutely needed to make them.
We followed the oh-so-easy recipe making a few tweaks here and there. Instead of lemon zest, we added orange zest, instead of vanilla extract, we used (my favorite) vanilla bean paste, and for an extra special topper, we made a fresh brown sugar whipped cream instead of the plain whipped cream in the original recipe. Using a cornbread mix really made this quick and easy too.
Here I am spooning the corn cake mix into the muffin pan after preparing it using the directions. I pop them into the oven and make my strawberry filling/topping.
|Once cool, add the remaining berry mixture and a giant dollop of the brown sugar whipped cream on the side. The end result: A delectable, fruity dessert!!!|
When I first bit into one of the cakes, a sensational sweet-tart, warmness put a smile on my face. The cornbread muffin is substantial and quite filling. Make sure to add some of the whipped cream to your spoonful, to make it cool and sweet and moist. My mouth is watering just writing about it!!! This is a recipe that all of you guys NEED to try!!!
Strawberry Corn Cakes with Brown Sugar Whipped Cream
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, April 2012
· Cooking spray, for the pan
· 1 8.5-ounce package corn muffin mix (we used Jiffy, which also calls for an egg and 1/3 cup milk)
· 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
· 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
· 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or you can use vanilla extract)
· 1 cup chopped strawberries
· 2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
· 3/4 cup heavy cream
· 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Prepare the corn muffin batter using the directions on the box, then stir in the flour, orange zest and vanilla bean paste.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are set and the centers are soft but not wet. While the cakes are baking, combine the strawberries and strawberry preserves in a bowl and set aside.
Remove the corn cakes from the oven (remember, cakes will still be soft in the center, but not wet). Gently press the back of a teaspoon into the center of each to make an indentation about 1/3 of the way into the cakes. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the strawberry mixture into each indentation, pressing it in, to tightly fill. Reserve the remaining strawberry/preserves mixture for topping. Return the cakes to the oven to continue baking just until they are golden (about 5 more minutes).
Cool cakes in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack for 10 more minutes.
While cakes are cooling, use your favorite mixer to whip the cream while adding the brown sugar gradually, until soft peaks form.
Top the cakes with the remaining strawberry mixture and serve with a big dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!!!