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summer desserts

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 Sweets vegetarian VRAI Magazine

    Summer Fruit “Cocktail”

    Summer Fruit Cocktail laced with wine or your favorite liquer

    I have back to back recipes posting over at VRAI Magazine.  More deliciousness coming your way along with photos and travel on the Oregon Coast.

    This lovely little Fruit Cocktail is my version of boozy fruit salad but more of a “cocktail” to enjoy after dinner or after a summer brunch.

    summer fruit cocktail with wine or your favorite liquer

    Fruit abounds this time of year and lacing it with a favorite wine or liqueur is a fun and delicious way to enjoy our seasons bounty of fresh fruit and berries.

    Click HERE for the recipe and a little tour of the Oregon coast.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,



    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sweets

    Max’s Five Ingredient Blueberry Cobbler

    Easy five ingredient blueberry cobbler // Karista's Kitchen

    I love it when children get excited about cooking.  When they realize they can take a few simple fresh ingredients and transform them into something delicious to eat.  The dazzled little expressions on their precious faces says it all.

    We have several “little Chef’s” in our extended family.  Our two tweens, Max and Amelia, definitely get motivated about good food.  Not that our teenagers and young adult members don’t cook, but I have to tell you, when Max and Amelia get cookin’ in the kitchen it’s usually a delicious masterpiece of a meal.

    Easy Five Ingredient Blueberry Cobbler // Karista's Kitchen

    This yummy blueberry cobbler recipe is compliments of our Chef Max.  While visiting my sister one summer, Max whipped this up in a snap and I fell into blueberry heaven!  It was so simple, so fresh and so delightful.

    The cobbler is incredible when prepared exactly as written.  However, I played around with the recipe a bit and added a few different flavors that compliment blueberries.  The first cobbler I added fresh ground cardamom, another I added a pinch of cinnamon and the last cobbler I added lemon zest and dried lavender buds.  They were all astoundingly delicious!

    However you decide to prepare this blueberry cobbler, you won’t be disappointed.   A great big special thanks goes out to our Chef Max for sharing this delectable dish!

    Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Max’s Fresh Blueberry Cobbler

    Serving Size: 6-8

    Max’s Fresh Blueberry Cobbler


    • 1 cup self rising flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
    • 3 cups fresh blueberries
    • Zest of one lemon (optional)


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Melt the butter and add it to the bottom of an 8x11 glass baking dish or baking pan.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar and milk. Pour it on top of the butter.
  • Toss the lemon zest with the blueberries and then sprinkle the blueberries over the top of the flour mixture.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cobbler is golden brown on top.
  • Serve with Vanilla Bean ice cream or fresh whipped cream.
  • Notes

    For a variation you can add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom or ground ginger to the blueberries. Or try adding 1/4 teaspoon of dried lavender buds.

    To make your own self rising flour: for each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix together. You can store this in a sealed container.

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    Kid Friendly Sweets

    Peach, Cardamom and Cinnamon Crisp

    As spring ends and summer begins I start craving our beloved Northwest stone fruit.  Unfortunately, the delicious, ripe and juicy fruit won’t arrive for another month or two, depending on the weather.  So what’s a girl to do when she’s in need of a yummy peach crisp?  Buy frozen peaches!

    For desserts, I often opt for frozen fruit, especially if using peaches.  Most frozen fruits are packaged at the peak of ripeness and  make a good substitute for fresh, especially when you’re craving a yummy peach crisp.

    In addition to a passion for fresh stone fruit I adore the aromatic spice cardamom.  I typically use cardamom in my apple pies, however, I was thinking I’d be a little daring and try a smidge of cardamom in a peach crisp.  Cardamom is a unique tasting spice used in many savory Indian dishes and is one of the spices included in the lovely spice mixture garam masala. 

    I purchase whole cardamom pods, crack them open and then toast them before grinding in a coffee or spice mill.  However, if you want to skip those steps, feel free to purchase ground cardamom in the jar, or in the bulk spice section of your market.  I’ve given instructions for using either whole pods or ground cardamom. 

    These tantalizing spices beautifully compliment the peaches and makes a delicious and mouth-watering dessert.  Serve with fresh whipped cream or a vanilla bean ice cream.  Or, if it’s hot outside and you like preparing homemade ice cream, try this dessert with a homemade peach ice cream.  Yum! 

    Serves 8


    For the peaches

    4 cups sliced frozen peaches, thawed (or fresh peaches when in season)

    ½ cup sugar

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or tapioca starch

    1 teaspoon ground cardamom*

    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the Crisp

    1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free baking mix

    1 cup quick cook oats

    ½ cup brown sugar

    Pinch of Kosher salt

    12 tablespoons chilled butter, diced into small pieces


    Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, toss together the sugar, flour, cardamom and cinnamon.  Add the peaches and vanilla extract and coat well with the sugar mixture.

    In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together on low the flour, oats, brown sugar and pinch of salt.  Add the chilled butter and let the mixture continue to mix together until it begins to look like small pieces of dough.  Don’t allow the mixture to mix too long as you’ll end up with one big piece of dough and this will not crisp. 

    Pour the peaches into a 9×13 baking dish and top with the crisp mixture.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top of the crisp is golden brown and the peach mixture is heated through and bubbly. 

    Let the crisp cool slightly and then serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream. 

    *For whole Cardamom pods:  6 pods should give ½ teaspoon of seeds.  Remove the seeds and toast them.  Put them in a coffee mill with about ¼ cup sugar and grind.

    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!