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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sweets

Peach Upside Down Ginger Cake

Peach Upside Down Ginger Cake // Karista's Kitchen

I’ve made this classic Peach Upside Down Ginger Cake for years. It’s a throwback to my Mom’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake that always seemed to have a permanent place on the kitchen counter when I was a kid.

Before I proceed… as you can tell, we got a new baby! Meet Angus the Blue Heeler. Although we’re now calling him Gus. Gus and my youngest sassy gal decided to photo bomb my cake picture.

Gus arrived a few weeks ago and we are totally in love. I’ve posted him all over Instagram and Facebook and decided I had to post about him here too. Tank mostly likes his new little brother. Tank is a senior dog and likes his quiet time on the sofa so all the puppy shenanigans sometimes annoy him. 🙂 I’m sure he will be used to it in no time.

Me and my Blue Heeler Gus // Karista's Kitchen

The photo above was snapped just a few hours after we arrived home from our very long car ride. We found our boy in Southern Central Oregon on a cattle farm. I have no cattle at my house but we do have a portly terrier named Tank; who is often referred to as pork chop and our little golden nugget of love. Yep, my girls love nicknames. I also anticipate loads of hiking and running with this little guy once he gets old enough.

Gus and his girl // Karista's Kitchen

My oldest gal did a bit of Gus sitting for me the other day. She managed to capture this adorable snap. GAH! melted my heart.

Mia and Gus Gus // Karista's Kitchen

This is my youngest gal who was snuggling with Gus a few days after he came home. He’s growing so fast!

Ok, now back to a most important subject, cake! The classic upside down cake is simple and easy to mix together, assemble and bake. Making it the perfect snack cake or easy dessert. I’ve used several different recipes for upside down cake and I believe I like this one the best. It’s similar to my Mom and Grandmother’s recipe but I’ve also tweaked the measurements a bit to give the cake a lighter texture.

I also add ground ginger to the cake mix rather than the peaches. This gives a slightly spiced taste to the cake and allows the sweet flavor of summer peaches to shine.

Recently, I made this cake on my food segment over at the morning show, AM Northwest in Portland with the lovely host, Helen Raptis. Can I just tell you how much fun I have doing these food segments? I am a bundle of nerves 5 seconds before the camera goes on and then I realize, I’m teaching a recipe that I love! You can view the food segment HERE!

Peach Upside Down Ginger Cake // Karista's Kitchen

This is the quintessential summer cake that is lush and light and filled with the taste of summer.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Peach Upside Down Ginger Cake

Serving Size: 8


  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
  • 4-5 cups sliced peaches (about 4-5 medium-large fresh peaches. You can also use frozen peaches)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger (can substitute 1 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon)
  • ½ cup butter melted or room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk you can easily make it with one cup whole milk minus one tablespoon and then add one tablespoon white vinegar. Stir and let sit for about five minutes)


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F
  • Place the 2 tablespoons of melted butter into the bottom of a 9-inch round baking pan or a 9x11 baking dish. Then sprinkle with the brown sugar and drizzle with the maple syrup.
  • Place the peach slices in a circular pattern on top of the butter and sugar.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground ginger. In an electric mixer or another bowl, mix together the ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup sugar until nicely combined. Then stir in the egg until the mixture looks creamy.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and buttermilk. Then mix in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until it’s well combined.
  • Pour the batter over the peaches and then place the baking pan in the oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch or a knife comes out clean.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes. Then flip the cake onto a cake platter or cake plate. If any peaches fall off while flipping just place them back onto the cake.
  • Serve this gorgeous summer cake with fresh whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

    Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

    Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m a little late on that promise!  I promised to post this decadent little recipe yesterday and I got completely side-tracked with other projects. I think my brain is mush these days.  I try not to multi-task and that’s the problem.  I like to focus.  Focus generates quality.  And I like quality; especially if it’s got my name on it.

    I found that my thoughts on this subject have been researched and I most recently came across this study conducted at Stanford University which states “Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully”.   I feel so validated.

    Yes, there are moments I am forced to multi-task.  But as I tell my children… it’s not my favorite.  These are the words I often say when one of them is standing in front of my desk talking and all I see are lips moving because I’m so focused.  This does not make my people happy – but I know they will completely understand one day.

    Until then, let’s eat chocolate!

    I created this lovely recipe this past spring for the fabulous folks at Home By Design Magazine.  However, I’ve been making this Mexican Chocolate Sauce for years.  The one thing I love about chocolate?  It’s not seasonal!  Which is great news because I have to admit, I keep a chocolate drawer in the kitchen.  And I have a little piece each day.  Unless I indulge in a slice of this cake, slathered with the chocolate sauce and topped with fresh papaya.

    If you’re not keen on baking a cake during this hot summer season, just buy one.  But definitely make the sauce and find a fresh papaya.

    Perfect for a weeknight, weekend dinner guests or a weekend barbecue.  And I’ve been known to have a slice for breakfast.  🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya

    Serving Size: 8

    Chocolate Pound Cake with Mexican Chocolate Sauce and Fresh Papaya


      For The Cake
    • ¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ½ cup boiling water
    • 1 cup butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • Papaya slices
    • Sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
      For the Sauce
    • 8 ounces dark chocolate, crumbled
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • ½ cup water
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 6 drops almond or coffee extract
    • Pinch of cayenne


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F and grease a standard 5 x 9 loaf pan.
  • Whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or electric mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time while mixing and then mix in the unsweetened cocoa mixture until all ingredients are blended.
  • Add the flour to the batter and mix gently or on low speed until the batter is smooth and combined.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place it into the oven. Bake the cake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool 10 minutes before slicing.
  • To prepare the Mexican Chocolate Sauce, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.
  • In a medium saucepan add the cream and water over medium low heat. Once the cream and water are heated through, whisk in the melted chocolate and cinnamon. Take the sauce off the heat and whisk in the extract and pinch of cayenne.
  • This sauce can be refrigerated up to one week. Re-heat as necessary.
  • To serve, top each slice with fresh Mexican chocolate sauce and papaya slices. Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint if desired.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Lemon Yogurt Cake with Lavender Icing

    Lemon Yogurt Cake with Lavender Icing//Karista's Kitchen

    When I was a kid I remember walking down the quiet country road near our house, passing a little gas station and quick market that sold the best bologna and cheese sandwiches, to our neighbor’s house.  Our neighbor, Ms. Nancy, was one of the best home cook’s.  She could cook anything but her specialty was pie, cake and donuts.   Aunt Nancy, as we called her, would welcome me in and cut me a slice of pie or cake without even asking if I’d like a slice.  I think she could see the excitement in my face as I eyed the sweets on her counter.

    It’s these brief memories that always remind me how food brings people together.  It’s love and comfort, nourishment and medicine, not only for the body, but often for the soul.  These are the moments I remember most.  My life around the table.

    This delicately sweet lemon yogurt cake with lavender icing reminds me of my time spent in Aunt Nancy’s kitchen.  It also reminds me of summer and the sweet memories visiting lavender fields with my children when they were little.  We’d sample lavender ice cream, lavender creme brûlée, lavender chocolate, lavender tea and my oldest gal’s favorite a lavender steamer.

    Lavender pairs beautifully with lemon and gives this lemon cake just a hint of fragrance.  It’s light and simple and is lovely for breakfast or a dessert.  It’s one of those cakes you can leave on the counter for a quick treat or if you’re a member of my family, a quick bite in passing.  As a result, I always find a selection of used forks in the sink. 🙂

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Lemon Yogurt Cake with Lavender Icing

    Serving Size: 6-8

    Lemon Yogurt Cake with Lavender Icing


    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon extra for dusting the pan
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • Zest of one lemon
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 cup plain, whole milk Greek yogurt
    • ½ cup vegetable oil, plus a little extra for greasing the pan
    • 1 standard loaf pan (8 ½ x 4 ¼ )
      For the Lavender Icing
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
    • ½ cup boiling water


  • Prepare the Lavender tea by combining the dried lavender buds with the boiling water. Let this steep for 15 minutes.
  • While the lavender tea is steeping, prepare the cake.
  • Grease the loaf pan with oil and then lightly dust with a tablespoon of all-purpose flour, shaking out the excess.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, Greek yogurt and vegetable oil.
  • Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients making sure all the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, strain the lavender buds from the water, making a tea. Mix together the confectioners’ sugar with 2 tablespoons of the lavender tea. If you feel the icing is to thick to be drizzled on, add a dash more lavender tea to thin the icing.
  • When the cake is done, let it cool for a few minutes before removing it from the pan. Then drizzle the lavender icing over the warm cake. Slice and serve.
  • Notes

    I originally created this recipe for Home By Design Magazine April/May 2015 Issue.

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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream // Karista's Kitchen

    It has been one of those weeks that desperately required a sweet.  Not just any little ole sweet but a down and dirty, honest to goodness, sweet.  Which for me is anything that includes chocolate.

    I think this cake has it all.  It’s totally and unabashedly sweet. The kind of sweet that requires either a large glass of milk or a lovely cup of tea.  A cake rich with banana, dark chocolate, marshmallow cream and another drizzle of chocolate.  I believe I have achieved my goal.

    This cake recipe came from one of my favorite chocolate cookbooks written by Max Brenner, Chocolate, A Love Story.  The original title is so fun it caught my eye immediately – Lipstick Banana Chocolate Cake Bonbons enrobed in well-behaved white chocolate and a nutmeg lady’s coat.  How fun is that?  It stopped my page turning immediately.  I read through it, bookmarked it and now it’s one of my go to sweet recipes for when I need a little indulgence.  I’ve made the recipe as written and then I’ve deviated.  I think you know by now I love to deviate.

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream // Karista's Kitchen

    This is my deviated version, or one of them at least.  I was too lazy to cut squares out of the cake to make the bonbons, so I decided to make the recipe using these cute little cupcake papers.  Rather than topping these cakes with the white chocolate glaze, I did what I often do… top that cake with some marshmallow cream.  I know, you can’t believe I have marshmallow cream in my pantry!  I do.  It sneaks in the pantry once a year around the holidays for baking and for dipping into with large spoons for general holiday merriment.   For some reason my jar of marshmallow cream was never opened this last holiday.  So I put it to good use on these cakes.

    These are fun, festive and most of all, satisfies the sweet tooth!

    I’m taking a little time off to enjoy my family this next week.  A little hiking, a little biking, lots of reading, my daughter hopes a little shopping is included, definitely exploring some new restaurants and popping open that bottle of Rocca wine I’ve beens saving.  If you are on Instagram I’ll be posting some candids of our week so be sure to check it out.  And I promise I’ll post something completely delicious when I return.  Happy Spring!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    6 large mini cakes or 12 cupcakes or 1 8-inch loaf

    Banana Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Cream

    Cake recipe by Max Brenner from Chocolate, A Love Story


    • 4 ripe bananas
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche, room temperature
    • 3/4 sugar
    • 1 large egg, room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons aged brown rum (I used 1 teaspoon rum extract)
    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3 ounces dark chocolate chips (I probably used a bit more)
      For the Topping
    • Marshmallow Cream
    • 1/4 cup dark chocolate
    • 1 tablespoon water


  • Preheat the oven to 400F
  • Either butter and flour an 8 inch loaf pan or use cupcake liners for a cupcake tin
  • In an electric mixer or by hand, mix together the mashed bananas, butter and sour cream until smooth. Gradually mix in the sugar, egg and rum or rum extract.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, mixing just until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan or cupcake tin and then place them in the oven. Turn the heat down to 325F. Bake until puff and golden brown on top. The loaf pan should take about 40 minutes, the cupcakes should take about 20-30 minutes.
  • Gently heat the dark chocolate and tablespoon of water in the microwave 10-15 seconds at a time, whisking gently until the chocolate is smooth enough to drizzle.
  • Let the cake/cupcakes cool and then top with marshmallow cream and chocolate drizzle right before serving.
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    Appetizers Beef Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes Seafood Soup

    Cinco de Mayo Recipe Round-up!

    8 Cinco de Mayo recipes from Karista's Kitchen

    There is nothing more delicious than a blog post filled with Mexican and South American inspired recipes.  The rich, bold and spicy flavors remind me summer is on the horizon and it makes this chef delirious with anticipation.  Outdoor grilling, fresh local summer produce, casual dining, flip flops or barefoot; it positively makes me giddy just thinking about it.

    Cinco de Mayo is Monday, May 5th and to celebrate,  I’ve got a fabulous line up of festive recipes.   So sit back, relax, fire up that grill, shake up a tasty cocktail and enjoy the deliciousness of the season.


    Spicy Cabbage Salad

    The Dreamiest Chocoflan

    Slow Braised Barbacoa with Cucumber Avocado Salsa

    Spicy Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema and Avocado

    Roasted Chicken Tacos with Spicy Avocado Crema

    Enchiladas Poblano with Spanish Rice Cakes

    Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad

    Smoked Salmon Wonton Tacos


    Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,






    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Huckleberry Upside-Down Ginger Cake

    Huckleberry Upside Down Cake

    Huckleberry Upside-Down Ginger Cake

    Pardon my silence these last few weeks.  Life is… Well it’s life.  And sometimes it throws a few curve balls.  The darn thing is, I’m a terrible catcher.

    But I’m a good sprinter and if I can’t catch those curve balls, I can certainly chase them down.

    During my sprint however, I thought about you all, hoping your summer is perfectly grand.  And although my posts have been few, I’ve been testing lots of new recipes to share.

    Huckleberry Upside Down Cake

    Huckleberry Upside-Down Ginger Cake

    I have a lovely stash of  Washington Huckleberries in the freezer that are begging to be used.  I’ve made barbecue sauce and pie with those gorgeous berries. Today, I made cake.

    Because I’m forever the optimist, I thought it would be an easy cake.  I thought wrong.

    It took several test runs before I decided an upside-down cake would work best with the intensely purple crayon colored berries.

    We  now have lots of cake at my house.  I’m sure you guessed that.  🙂  Although some went into the garbage, a piece or two fell onto the floor which Tank happily snapped up, and one cake wasn’t fit to eat. Tank even snubbed a bite.

    The final cake however is fresh, not too sweet, rich in flavor and beautiful in color.

    Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Sugar

    Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Coconut Palm Sugar

    I used a new sugar I’m completely excited about.  It’s Wholesome Sweeteners new Coconut Palm Sugar.  It gives the cake a rich caramel color and a much deeper caramel flavor than regular dark brown sugar.  A perfectly tasty summer cake.

    Wishing you all a most delicious week!

    Loads of Love, Karista

    You can find Wholesome Sweeteners at most conventional markets along with PCC Natural Markets and Whole Foods Markets. You can also order the sugar from Wholesome Sweeteners.

    Huckleberry Upside-Down Ginger Cake


    Serves 8

    2 cups organic all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 1/2  teaspoons ground ginger

    1/2 cup grapeseed oil (substitute with 1/2 cup coconut oil or softened butter)

    3/4 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Palm Sugar or dark brown sugar

    1 large egg

    1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine just a tad less than one cup milk with one tablespoon white vinegar. Let it sit for about five minutes)

    2 cups fresh huckleberries (or thawed previously frozen) (Blueberries make an excellent substitute for this cake)

    2 tablespoons melted butter

    ¼ cup Wholesome Sweeteners Coconut Palm Sugar or dark brown sugar


    Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Lightly butter an 8×8 baking dish.

    Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground ginger. Set aside.

    In another bowl, or kitchen aid mixer, beat together the oil/butter and sugar. Once combined add the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

    Gently mix in the buttermilk.  Once nicely incorporated, mix in the dry ingredients.

    Add the two tablespoons melted butter to the bottom of the 8×8 baking dish.  Then sprinkle the coconut palm sugar or brown sugar evenly over the butter.

    Spread the 2 cups of berries evenly over the sugar.  Then gently spread the cake batter over the berries.

    Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the cake is done. It will be nicely golden brown on top and bubbly on the sides.

    Let the cake sit for 5-10 minutes to cool. Then flip the cake onto a platter and enjoy!

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

    Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

    My two sassy gals love this cake.

    A slice of spice

    Actually, my two sassy gals love all cake.  And I can’t forget my main man, Ranger Craig.  He lives for cake.  And seafood with sauce on top. He’s a saucy guy 🙂

    My Two Sassy Gals

    Hmmm… two sassy gals and a saucy guy.  Sounds like my family’s a handful.  They are.  And I love every sassy, saucy moment!

    Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

    Thanks so much to my sweet friend Heidi Rodgers for sharing this fabulously delicious recipe with me!


    1 package (2 layer size) spice cake mix

    1 package (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened and divided

    1 cup canned pumpkin

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    ½ tsp ground ginger

    6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

    ½ cup thawed cool whip topping

    2 tablespoons sugar


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cake mix as directed on package, reducing water to ½ cup and increasing oil to ½ cup.  Add half of the cream cheese, the pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Stir in chopped chocolate.  Pour into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10 inch tube pan.

    Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes then remove from the pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

    Mix the remaining cream cheese, whipped topping and sugar until well blended.  Spread on top of cooled cake.  Cut into 16 slices.

    *You can use yellow cake mix for the spice cake mix if you prefer.

    *I like the cake with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of the frosting.  But the Bennett Crew loves the frosting.

    Kid Friendly Sweets vegetarian

    Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

    Apple Cinnamon Cake

    Ranger Craig and I are always looking for the next big adventure.  Probably Ranger Craig more than me.  Which is why he was the Ranger and I clearly would never pass basic training.   And although I truly love home and hearth, I love to experience new places, new people and especially new food!

    A room with a view, Victoria, British Colombia

    In our quest for a little fall adventure, we sailed over to Victoria, BC for a long weekend.  Actually, it wasn’t long enough.  Not only did Ranger Craig and I walk our way through the city for three days, we ate our way through as well.  It was fantastic!

    Brasserie L’Ecole, Cafe Brio and The Local Kitchen to name a few.  The most amazing food.  Sitting at the bar in Brasserie L’Ecole, the restaurant so full we would have waited an hour for a table, Ranger Craig and I ate in Silence.  Literally, the food so divine we couldn’t speak.  Pure food love!

    Scottish Stone Fired Ale

    A visit to Victoria isn’t complete without a stop at one of the famous Irish or Scottish pubs.  Bard and Banker Scottish Pub found its way into our afternoon one day.  As did a pint of the famous Scottish Stone Fired Ale.  🙂

    Butchart Gardens in Fall

    Butchart Gardens in the Fall

    While walking and eating our way through this beautiful and unique city, Ranger Craig and I also took a quick little detour north to see the famous Butchart Gardens.  Even in the Pacific Northwest Drizzle, the gardens were mesmerizing.

    Darling homes on Fisherman’s Wharf

    Of course, the desserts did not disappoint.  We dined on the most decadent Apple Cake.  Moist with a silky but delicate crumb, filled with sweet and tart apples and just a hint of cinnamon. I had to duplicate the recipe.  Or at least close to it.

    Sweet Washington Apples

    And because the Bennett Crew loves cake for breakfast, I prepared this apple cinnamon cake with less sweetener, lots of apple pieces and plenty of cinnamon.  The perfect beginning to a perfect fall day.

    Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

    Recipe adapted from multiple sources

    I tested this recipe with two different types of flour.  My favorite is the Einkorn flour from Jovial.  It gave the most silky and soft crumb without the cake falling apart.  I also tested the recipe with 2 parts organic all-purpose flour and 1 part cake flour.  A fun little trick taught to me by my good friend and well-known Seattle Pastry Chef, Laurie Pfalzer.   This combination also gave a lovely delicate crumb.   But if you’d like to try the Einkorn flour, an ancient whole grain, check out the website to find it in a store near you.

    Serves 8


    2 cups organic flour (I used Einkorn Ancient grain flour which makes this cake light, silky and moist.  You can also use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose and 1/2 cup cake flour)

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon cinnamon

    1/2 cup grapeseed oil (substitute with 1/2 cup coconut oil or butter)

    3/4 cup dark brown sugar

    1 large egg

    1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine just a tad less than one cup milk with one tablespoon white vinegar. Let it sit for about five minutes)

    2-3 apples peeled and diced (I used 3, but I love lots of apples in my apple cake)


    Pre-heat the oven to 375F, 8×8 baking dish.

    Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

    In another bowl, or kitchen aid mixer, beat together the oil and sugar.  Once combined add the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

    Gently mix in the buttermilk.

    Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the diced apples.

    Pour into the greased baking dish and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the cake is done.  It will be nicely golden brown on top.

    Let the cake sit for 5-10 minutes to cool.  Enjoy!

    Breakfast Flying Sweets

    Blackberry Breakfast Cake with Streudel Topping… and a flight to Ranger Creek

    My idea of flying with Ranger Craig is a trip over to the islands, to visit one of the fabulous Farmer’s Markets.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fair weather flyer.  A fair weather flyer that likes to land on a nice black top runway.  A runway with lots of space.

    Our Beautiful Mountain

    But Ranger Craig had a new idea this past weekend.  Yep, he talked me into another one of his adventure flights.  I’m always in for some fun, but testing the strength of my heart is not something I want to do on a regular basis.

    Once again… we’re landing where?

    If you’ll notice, there is only one picture of the landing strip into Ranger Creek.  That’s because I dropped my camera into my lap and my hands hung onto the sides of my seat.  I was silent.  Silently praying that is.  Large looming mountains… and one itsy bitsy little runway.

    Of course all was good, the landing smooth and I could’ve kissed the ground when I got out of the plane.

    Tank lacks balance, so he gets a lift across the tree bridge

    We grabbed Tank, our little flying buddy, backpacks and water and off we went to explore Ranger Creek.  The beauty was abundant.  And I suppose, worth the eyeball popping landing.

    Tank’s determined to get in, but the water’s just to fast and to cold. (even for a terrier)

    I don’t know who had more fun hiking, me or Tank.

    Ranger Craig doesn’t call these little jaunts in the woods a hike.  Nope.  My tough guy calls these little jaunts a nice walk in the woods.  Well, we can’t all be Rangers.  Right?

    So how did I get the idea for a Blackberry Breakfast Cake out of a flight to Ranger Creek?   I went blackberry picking.

    You’d think after that adventurous day trip I’d be flat-out exhausted.  But no, the blackberries up the road were calling me.  And Blackberry Cake sounded like a little piece of heaven for a Sunday morning breakfast.

    Blackberry Breakfast Cake

    Blackberry Breakfast Cake with Streusel Topping

    Serves 8-10


    1 cup butter (2 sticks/8 ounces), softened

    1 ½ cups sugar

    4 large eggs

    2 teaspoons vanilla

    1 cup sour cream

    3 cups flour (for best results use 1 cup cake flour and 2 cups all-purpose)

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    ½ teaspoon salt

    ¼ teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon ground cardamom

    4-5 cups fresh blackberries or frozen blackberries thawed and drained

    Streusel Topping

    1 cup brown sugar

    1 ¼ all purpose flour

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    8 tablespoons (4 ounces/ 1 stick) melted butter


    Pre-heat the oven 350F.  Butter a 9×13 baking pan.

    In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.

    In a kitchen aid mixer or with a hand-held electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs until combined. Slowly mix in the sour cream and vanilla.

    With the mixer on slow, add the flour mixture a cup at a time until fully incorporated and smooth.

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then top with the fresh berries.

    In a medium bowl mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter.  Mix with a fork until crumbly.  Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the blackberries.

    Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until cake is done in the center.  Cool completely before serving.

    OPTIONS:  Substitute with fresh blueberries and raspberries.  Or serve as a light dessert with fresh whipped cream.

    Recipe adapted from multiple sources

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Kentucky Butter Cake

    I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a cake so sinfully decadent.  So decadent I need to run a mile after eating it!  Really though, it’s a HUGE treat to have a piece of Kentucky Butter Cake.  Moist, rich in flavor and pairs so beautifully with just about everthing from fresh fruit to chocolate to a cup of coffee or tea.  Yes, I’ve been known to eat this for breakfast.  But don’t tell my family.  🙂

    My friend, Linda, makes one fabulous Kentucky Butter Cake!  And of course every time she bakes one she always brings the Bennett’s a great big piece to enjoy.  My girls giggle with joy when they see Linda walking down the path to our front door with her beautiful cake in hand.  Once it’s in the Bennett house it’s usually gone by nights end.  (I hide a piece for breakfast)

    So if you’re thinking pound cake, think Kentucky Butter Cake!  It’s a fabulous alternative, with just a little more butter.  Yum!

    Happy Baking!


    3 cups flour

    2 cups sugar

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon baking soda

    1 cup buttermilk

    1 cup butter

    2 teaspoons vanilla

    4 eggs

    Butter Sauce

    ¾ cup sugar

    1/3 cup butter

    2 teaspoon vanilla

    3 tablespoons water


    Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan.   In large bowl, combine cake ingredients and mix 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour into bundt pan.

    Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    In saucepan, combine sauce ingredients until butter melts. Prick cake with long fork, Pour sauce slowly over top of cake and into holes. Cool before removing from pan.

    Serve with fresh strawberries and Devonshire cream, Mexican chocolate sauce, or a maple rum sauce.  Yum!

    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Flourless Chocolate Cake

    Cake never lasts long in my house.  Especially flourless chocolate cake.  This light and fluffy cake is rich in dark chocolate and can be topped with whipped cream, ice cream or a simple raspberry sauce.  Although, my youngest daughter loves to smother her flourless chocolate cake with chocolate sauce.

    And I do have the loveliest of chocolate sauce recipes.  A Mexican chocolate sauce.  It’s divine!  Just click on the words “Mexican chocolate” and it’ll take you right to the recipe.  A little sweet, a little spicy.  A perfect topping for a perfect cake.

    Happy Baking!

    Flourless Chocolate Cake


    10 oz dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids)

    ½ cup unsalted butter

    ½ cup granulated sugar

    6 eggs: 2 whole eggs, 4 separated eggs

    1 teaspoon coffee extract (or add 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

    Large 9 inch fluted pan or spring form pan

    For the topping:

    2 cups heavy cream

    1 teaspoon coffee extract

    2 tablespoons granulated sugar

    Cocoa powder for dusting

    Fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)


    Whip together heavy cream, coffee extract and sugar until cream is nicely firm


    Preheat the oven to 350F.  Liberally grease the cake pan with either butter, Crisco or coconut butter.

    In a saucepan melt the chocolate pieces over a double boiler or low heat and then add the butter.  Whisk gently to incorporate the butter.

    In a mixing bowl, whisk the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with the ½ cup of sugar.  Once light and fluffy, slowly add in the melted chocolate and butter, a little at a time so you don’t cook the eggs.

    In a second bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites and a tablespoon of sugar until the egg whites nicely hold their shape.  Add about ½ cup of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and incorporate into the batter.  Then slowly fold in the remaining egg whites being careful not to over mix.

    Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the cake is nice and firm in the center.

    Once the cake is done, cool slightly and then with a knife roll around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan.  Carefully remove the cake from the pan onto a cake platter.   The cake will fall a bit in the center and looks very rustic which is absolutely ok.

    Prepare the whipped cream topping and then pour on top of cake.  Dust with cocoa powder and serve with fresh raspberries, strawberries, or sliced papaya.