I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad the weather has changed. The changing of the seasons reminds me there truly is a season for everything in life. Everything is temporary, the good and the bad. I’m thankful for the Sunday dresses, cute flippy sandals, pastels, tulips blooming, beautiful Redbud trees, and the birds chirping, “Rise and shine” every morning through my window. Easter reminds me of hope after a rough winter and it represents a time of rebirth. My prayer is that you will grow recognize the work of God in your life during this time… May you receive hope, good community, and wonderful food. On the food note, I’ve connected with some other fabulous bloggers to share some wonderful recipes for the ultimate Easter brunch. Whether or not you are having a brunch, you can use these recipes in your meal plans. Instead of one person doing all of the cooking, make your meal a potluck or gather everyone to assist you in your kitchen. You KNOW I’m an advocate of cooking together!
One thing I love about my Husband is how his family celebrates their Italian heritage. My Husband’s Dad’s side of the family is Italian while his Mom is Irish. Oddly enough, my Mom is also Irish. People always think they are sisters in public, and they joke that one day they will go to Ireland and find out about their family histories. My Dad’s side of the family is from the Czech Republic. As fun as these nationalities are, there’s nothing like an Italian family! If you were at our wedding then you probably remember the Tarantella, THE Italian dance where I painstakingly tried to jump with each wedding guest for what seemed like an eternity in high heels. It was a blast, but we were so exhausted afterwards that we vowed to never make any other couple do the dance at their wedding. They not only take pride in their music, but also their food.
My Husband’s family still has relatives in Italy who own vineyards and hotels. You can rest assured that my jaw dropped to the floor when I found out, but it was quickly picked up when I found out there had been no contact with them in five years. If there was ever a time for a come to Jesus meeting… I digress. So when I found out that I was hosting Easter dinner this year, I had some choices to make. In the past, we have had wine, fish stew, and spaghetti in addition to a few traditional American dishes for the holidays. For this meal, I wanted it to be more of a traditional American meal with some Italian touches incorporated here and there. Hence the distinct Mediterranean flavor of rosemary for the pork and potatoes. For dessert, I decided on a Lemon Blueberry Mascarpone Cake. I first tried it at Coco’s Italian Market in Nashville and it has become one of my favorite, local desserts. Naturally, I wanted to find a way to replicate that same taste at home.
Lemon Blueberry Mascarpone Cake
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hr, 5 minutes
Start by mixing together the crumb topping ingredients. This will make a sugary and crunchy topping for the cake. When crumbles form, set topping aside.
- 1/2 c flour
- 1/3 c sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp butter (melted)
Now it’s time to grease two, 9″ pans and pre-heat the oven to 350 º.
Using a small bowl, combine the following:
- 2 c flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
In a large mixing bowl, combine:
- 1 stick of butter (heated for 30 secs.)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 c sugar
- 3 eggs (at room temperature)
- 1/4 c lemon juice
Gradually mix these ingredients together, adding the eggs one at a time so that clumps don’t form in the batter. Combine the mixture from the small bowl into the mixing bowl.
Slowly mix in:
- 3/4 c sour cream at room temperature (3/4 c of plain yogurt and 1 tsp of baking soda is a healthy alternative, but it will dry out your cake a tad. It will still be good, just not quite as moist.)
It should look something like this…
Next, divide the batter into the two cake pans and divide 1 1/2 c of mixed berries (any variety of fresh or frozen) on top of both cakes. Now you’re ready to select the top layer of the cake and garnish it with the crumb topping you made in the very beginning. I will call this the “Before” photo. haha
Now you’re ready to put these babies in the oven for 35 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test. I know you’re tired, but you’re not quite done. You’ve got to make that mascarpone layer that will make you want to slap your Mamma. Trust me, this cake is worth all of the dirty dishes in the sink afterwards. Washing dishes burns calories, right?!
In a mixing bowl, beat together:
- 12 oz. Mascarpone cheese (more than likely you need 2 containers)
- 1/4 c half and half
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar
Once the cakes are done, let them cool completely.
If I’m in a hurry, I put them in freezer for 20 minutes or so. When they are cooled, use a knife around the edges of the cake to help you dish out the bottom layer on the stand you plan to use for this glorious creation. Spread the mascarpone layer on top, about 1/2 inch thick. The top layer is going to be tricky with all of the crumbs on top. Let me tell you what I did. Again, use a knife around the edges to loosen the cake. Next, I placed a clean plate upside down on top of the cake. Then, I slowly turned the cake upside down to help guide it out of the pan. Once the cake came out, I placed one hand on the bottom of the cake and one on the plate and turned it right side up to bring the cake and crumbs safely on top of the other layers. I’m proud to report that I didn’t lose many crumbs in the process. 🙂
For MORE scrumptious cakes, check out my Pinterest board of cakes that I love. You won’t regret it!
What are your favorite Spring time desserts? What ingredients do YOU like to bake with this time of year? As always, if you try my recipe, send me pics and comments. I want to hear from you!
As a new blogger, I was terribly stressed last week. I had all of these wonderful Easter recipes I was going to share with you … desserts for kids, desserts for adults, our wonderful Easter meal, yada yada. Yes, I’m a horrible planner when it comes to blogging. I DID get a blogging planner to review so now I will start using that. YAY! However, midst all of the blogging holiday stress while working a full time job, I started feeling like Jesus was saying, “Really Toye?! Is this what Easter is about? Having the perfect eggs, the perfect outfit, the perfect food?!” In his Jesus kind of way he gently reminded me “Heck no!” Jesus didn’t come so every thing in our lives would be the best thing ever.
What is perfect anyway, except Him?
So I quit trying so hard. I made the Aztec Easter Eggs and told myself that was enough crafts . When I found out that the store had run out of lamb tenderloin I didn’t cry and throw in the towel; I learned a good lesson about planning and used pork tenderloin instead. All that other time I could have wasted trying to make everything turn out right, I just gave to God. I used that time to be with Him. To imagine what it must have been like with Jesus through this time. The betrayal, the sacrifice for me… for you… the love like nothing I’ve ever known. The fear of how I would have reacted if I had been present watching Jesus crucified. The confusion I would have felt seeing Him on the third day.
Jesus came so that we would SEEK Him and SHARE His love with everyone around us. Most of the time that means things are messy and don’t go according to our desires, but it’s the best way.
When things start to feel out of control, remind yourself of what is important and what this life is truly about. No matter what is going on, hand it over to God. He will give you wisdom and peace in His time, just keep asking Him and spending time with Him. When you find yourself picking these worries back up, hand them over again. Trust me, it’s a bad cycle many times. This fabulous boss I had once told me, “Life by the yard is hard, but by the inch, it’s a cinch.” It has helped me to give God the steering wheel and direct my course numerous times.
In true fashion to living by inch, I’m sharing the yummy result of that particular instance of letting God plan the menu. The tenderloin pairs well with this roasted rosemary potatoes recipe and a roasted veggie medley.
Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
Prep time: 1 hr 20 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes
Total: 2 hours
1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2.Rinse the meat in cool water and trim any excess fat. Place it in the baking pan.
3.In a small bowl, combine olive oil, rosemary , mustard, garlic, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice.
4.Carefully cover marinade all over pork roast, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
5. Take it out of the refrigerator and place it in the oven checking it after 30 minutes.
I find tenderloins very tricky. Depending on the size, the time in the oven can vary. After 30 minutes, take it out of the oven and go ahead and cut in to it to see if it is still pink on the inside. If it’s not, it’s done; if it is, put it back in and check it every 10 minutes.
For my Easter eggs this year, I was looking for something uber creative. I feel like I made enough traditional eggs when I was a kid. Now’s the time to get crazy. After trying Camille Style’s Marbleized Easter Eggs and failing to no end, ( I don’t own any brands of nail polish that make the egg pretty. *sigh*) I decided to try something extremely different. AZTEC EASTER EGGS!
CRAFT TIME: 30 minutes per egg
To start out, set the eggs out to room temperature and decide if you want to boil or blow out the eggs you plan on using. Your decision really depends on how much time you have to complete the craft and if you want to be able to use the eggs another year. Blowing out an egg is time consuming, but will allow you to keep your eggs another year. My first egg took me 30 minutes to blow out. Ain’t nobody got time for that! If patience is your virtue though, go for it!
If you’re wondering how I came up with this wonderful idea, I started off painting some barn yard eggs in Gold Liquid Leaf and falling in love with the color combo of the barn yard brown with gold. I immediately started thinking of all the different colors and designs that would look good with that color of egg. I’ve been in to Aztec designs for several months now so I thought about testing my art skills out on some Easter eggs. Then, I Googled some Aztec prints to get ideas on what designs would be easiest to draw. I’m no artist, ya know?! After I found what I wanted to try, I got some paper and tested out my designs.
I strongly encourage testing out your designs on paper with the paint and markers you plan on using. It will help you mucho! You can also use a pencil to trace on your eggs if you’d like that extra assurance. The eraser will work on the egg if you make mistakes.
Once you are comfortable on the paper, go for it!
Aren’t they awesome?! I’m proud that my inner artist came out. I knew it was hidden in there somewhere 🙂
What are you making for Easter as far as crafts are concerned? Comment with pics. I want to see 😀