Cinnamon Mini Cakes with Peach Wine Compote

Hello Lovely,

I made these mini cakes in early August for a party with some friends. Once it was time for dessert, these went so quickly, I didn't even get to have one! My friends LOVED them! I love cinnamon. It's used in so many things because it just compliments EVERYTHING! This recipe comes from the Cakes By Melissa cookbook, but I came up with the topping all on my own! I started by making a cinnamon sheet cake and I cut out the mini cakes with a round cutter. While all of this was happening, I had some canned peaches soaking in red wine. You could have a cinnamon cake with cinnamon icing, but how basic is that? Go deeper into flavour profiles and see how you can related them to people or to other delicious foods that you love. For example, cinnamon cake with a peach wine compote topping - yum!

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Cinnamon Mini Cakes with Peach Wine Compote

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup diced peaches
  • 1 cup red wine (any kind)
  • powdered sugar for dusting
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Directions

  1. Have all your ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the pan of your choice or line the pan with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Before you start mixing, soak the peaches in the wine.
  3. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the sugar to the butter and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the vanilla; then add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through.
  6. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt in a separate bowl.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When it's mostly incorporated, add half the milk. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it (30-35 minutes).
  9. Let cake cool completely before cutting with round cutter.
  10. Top each cake with peaches and a little powdered sugar.
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The only thing about this recipe I changed was the amount of sugar in it. The original recipe calls for 2 cups. I can't imagine why anyone would need 2 whole cups of sugar; that's waaaaaaay too much. So I shortened it. Truthfully I may have only used 1 cup of sugar. Adjust it according to your taste and dietary needs.

Mint Leaf Doughnuts with Matcha Icing

Hello Lovely,

Ever since starting the keto diet in May, I haven't even touched a doughnut! I loooooove doughnuts but I couldn't buy them any more. And with the past few months being as hectic as they were, I definitely didn't have time to make any. So when I saw a recipe for Mint Leaf Cake in my new cook book, Cakes by Melissa: Life is What You Bake It, I couldn't resist trying it in doughnut form! I have a mint plant that has miraculously survived this gruesome weather so I was really excited to finally use it for something other than a mojito.

Just like Melissa, I'm not one for peppermint (unless I have an upset stomach) but I do love fresh mint! Although the original recipe didn't call for matcha icing, I just decided it would be a good fit; probably because they're both green. This recipe is enough to make 12 mini doughnuts (baked) and 6 muffins. I did make a few adjustments to the recipe though. For the doughnuts, there was no way I was putting 2 cups of sugar in it and topping it icing; that's waaaaaaay too much sugar. So I used 1 instead. I also felt the matcha frosting wasn't sweet enough by itself (matcha leaves a strong after taste) so I added 2 teaspoons granulated sugar and that did the trick, but the sugar didn't dissolve as well as I needed it to. I didn't use all of the mint leaves required because I thought it was excessive since the scent was so strong while mixing, but after baking, I couldn't taste the mint at all, so that may have been a mistake. So I'm still listing the full recipe as is, and you guys can make any adjustments you need.
 

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Mint Leaf Doughnuts with Matcha Icing

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ¾ cups whole milk

Matcha Icing

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ¾ cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 drop green food colouring

Instructions

  1. Have all your ingredients at room temperature. With a hand mixer or food processor, combine the sugar and mint leaves and process until the leaves are completely incorporated.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease your doughnut pan with non-stick spray.
  3. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high speed, then scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the sugar-mint mixture to the butter and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl midway through.
  6. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When it's mostly incorporated, add half the milk. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the middle feels springy when you gently press your finger against it ( approx. 15-20 or 20-25 minutes). Let the doughnuts cool completely before icing.
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Matcha Icing: 1. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter on high speed for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and whip just to incorporate.

2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioner's sugar and matcha powder 1 cup at a time, until completely incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl between additions.

3. Add the salt and the food colouring and whip on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

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I really hope you guys try this recipe. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Share your thoughts in the comment section below! And if you do try it, don't forget to tag #LifeByOlivia when you share it!

 

Simple Blueberry Galette

Hello Lovely,

Who doesn't love a good blueberry pie? I love pies, but I don't always have the time to make the crust from scratch; especially before I got my food processor, it was just a nightmare. The scent of blueberry pie bubbling away in the oven is comforting and familiar, even in high summer, when pie baking isn't desirable because of the heat. Before I left for my summer travels, my mother insisted that I make a dessert for her. I had wanted to make a blueberry pie for awhile, so I figured it would be the easiest thing to do. I already had frozen pie crusts in the freezer and blueberries happened to be on sale. This recipe is easily done in , so you can have a warm blueberry pie on table in no time!

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Simple Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pillsbury frozen pie crust, thawed
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Line pie dish with one pie crust. The pie dish I used was smaller than needed so I actually had a little leftover. I folded it over to form the top crust in Step 5.

3. In a saucepan, add blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, water, and lemon juice. Stir just to combine.

4. Cook the blueberries over medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until it begins to thicken. Remove it from heat and let it cool down.

5. Pour berry mixture into the crust. If you have enough to cut: Cut remaining pastry into 1/2 - 3/4 inch wide strips, and make lattice top. Crimp and flute edges. Or fold the edge of the crust over to make a galette, like I did.

6. Bake pie on lower shelf of oven for about 50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cool before serving! I got greedy and didn't wait and that's why my pie fell apart, but it was still delicious!

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If you try this recipe, don't forget to share it with the hashtag, #LifeByOlivia! Happy baking!
 

The Tye Dye Mini Cake

Hello Lovely,

The day of The Elevation Awards, I was pretty nervous. Depiste covering it last year, I didn't know what to expect this year because instead of being media, I was now a nominee. Win or lose, I couldn't believe I am now Elevation Award Nominee Life By Olivia. And if I had won....OMG! I don't know what I would do with myself. So to fill the seemingly endless hours before show time I tried to relax in front of the TV. Problem was, none of my usual shows were on. I ended up watching an hour of Antiques Roadshow (super boring could not get into it) before stumbling upon a show on The Food Network called, The Kitchen. I had never heard of the show before (I don't know where I've been) but I AM HOOKED!!!! I happened to catch the birthday episode with a ton of birthday recipes. Even though I don't eat steak, I was really impressed with the Cast-Iron Skillet Porterhouse Steak but what really blew me away was the The Tie Dye Cake .

I instantly looked up Melissa's cookbook on Amazon and just had to try the tye dye cake. Now I've never been good with decorating cakes because icing confuses the hell out of me, so I decided to make a two layered mini cake instead (even though the batter was enough for four layers). If this didn't work out, it wouldn't hurt me as much because it wasn't a lot of batter wasted.

Bear in mind I was nervous AF so I was randomly throwing together ingredients. My thought process was literally whatever I could get my hands on (hence the combination of coffee and orange zest). But you couldn't tell me I wasn't a celebrity chef while I combined everything. While mixing the food colouring to get just the right colour, I felt like a chemist! It was just so much fun! I was so nervous I forgot to spray the pans before pouring the batter and then I had to pull the pans out of the oven because I forgot to take a skewer to the middle to create a pattern with the colors.

Then it was time for the moment of truth. This is where I always mess up, but I learned where I was going wrong. I found an old bread knife in the drawer that we never use and that was perfect for levelling the cake. For once, I had an even layered cake. Decorating was starting to look, well, like a piece of cake! (Sorry I just had to do it). When I was done, I had finally successfully frosted a cake! I swear this is one of the biggest accomplishments of my baking career thus far! I was a little disappointed in how the colours inside the cake turned out, but now I know better for next time how to make pink to brighten up the mix. The orange zest is brilliant and you really can't taste the coffee, which I was afraid would overpower or compete with the zest. Here's the recipe!

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The Tye Dye Mini Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chilled coffee
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup diary free milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Red, yellow, blue and green food colouring

Cake Decorating

  • 4 tablespoons vanilla frosting
  • pastel coloured sprinkles
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 5 inch baking pans. Set aside.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the cake except the cake colouring. Do not overmix.
  3. Divide cake batter evenly amongst four ramekin dishes. Add food coloring to each bowl--1 drop at a time--until the desired intensity of each color is reached. Scoop each color into a disposable pastry bag and snip the tip of the bag. I didn't want to waste pastry bags so I carefully scooped it into the prepared pans.
  4. Pipe the batter into the first pan, one color at a time, one over the next. (Remember you could also use a spoon, but the pastry bags might make this much easier.) Repeat until all the batter is gone.
  5. To make the tie dye effect, carefully drag a skewer completely through the batter from the center out to create a pattern with the colors. Don't overmix the colors.
  6. Bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it, 15 to 20 minutes. Set the cakes aside to cool completely before icing.
  7. Level the cakes with a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake turntable and frost the top with the Vanilla Icing. Add the second cake layer and frost the top. From watching the show, I learned how to fully frost the cake. Continue to pipe icing in between the layers, then with the knife, go around the cake, smoothing out the frosting until the cake is completely covered.
  8. Mix the glaze (combine the powdered sugar and milk) then add pink food colouring or only two drops of red (it will make pink). Working with an offset spatula, spread pink glaze over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. Work quickly before the glaze starts to dry. Then top with sprinkles and serve!

The last time I made something so complex was my Cookies n Milk Cake (boy that was stressful). I usually shy away from recipes with too many steps, but I'm glad I challenged myself to this one. I ate my slice with a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream (because cake and ice cream are the perfect couple) and it didn't feel too sweet. 

Apple Pear Skillet Pie

Apple Pear Skillet Pie

Today’s post will surely get your sweet tooth going.  Apple Pie in a skillet is going to be the easiest apple pie you've ever made! Make this for your loved one for Valentine's Day. If you want to make a statement and wow your table guests or hosts this month, I highly recommend taking a stab at this spin on the classic apple pie!

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CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

Hello Lovely,

Do you love brownies? Do you love cheesecake? Well, today I have combined the two to create these delicious Cheesecake Brownies! A thick and fudgy brownie layer topped with a creamy, swirled layer of cheesecake... Absolutely divine! I never get good photos of my brownies. I don't know why. But I also don't make brownies very often.

I made these brownies on Saturday before finding out that my step-dad Mike had died. I was hoping to surprise him with them because he always loved when I baked, and even though he hadn't been eating much, he still ate whatever I gave him. The last thing he ate from me was a bowl of chocolate and peanut butter oats. I'll share that recipe the next time I make it. So I'd like to dedicate this recipe to him.

I know you're super busy this holiday season. So this recipe is another quick and easy one to throw together. Simply make the brownie batter in one bowl,using your favourite store brownie mix, and the cheesecake batter in another, bake the brownies until almost done, top with the cheesecake, swirl some brownie batter into it, and bake again. Cool to room temperature, and then serve. Done!

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CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

  • Betty Crocker Brownie Mix
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows 

FOR THE CHEESECAKE

  • 1 cup full fat cream cheese 500g, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 100g
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE BROWNIES

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the brownie mix. I make mine healthier by using applesauce instead of oil. I also substituted coffee for the 2 tablespoons of water recommended for a caffeine boost. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the marshmallows into the brownie mix.

FOR THE CHEESECAKE

  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Beat in the egg, then fold in the vanilla extract.

  2. Pour the mixture over the brownie layer and spread out evenly. Using a toothpick or knife, create swirls.

  3. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into bars, and serve.

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The Easiest Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl Recipe for Thanksgiving

Hello Lovely,

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I think I mentioned before that Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here in The Bahamas (just another excuse to eat and have sales). I hope you guys are enjoying some well-deserved rest with family and friends. I've been trying to organise a Friendsgiving with my friends since last year, but something always comes up. It's hard staying in touch with such busy schedules but it's days like this when we're reminded of the importance of appreciating one another. So, this year, I want to say that I am grateful for my family. We've grown this year and I can't tell you how happy this has made me. There have been A LOT of changes this year but all of them have been for the best and throughout all of it, my family has been an amazing support system. I'm looking forward to spending my first Christmas with them in two years (but they already know I'm making plans to travel for my birthday).

So, if you're reading this at the dinner table with your family (first of all, put your phone away), but secondly, thank you for keeping Life By Olivia a part of your holidays. If dinner isn't quite done, then I've caught you just in time! I made this pie about a week ago and completely forgot to share the recipe with you all. This came after I was beginning to lose confidence in my baking skills. A few failed attempts at pumpkin cannoli’s left me both devastated and broke (groceries are not cheap here)! In my fear of getting it right (AKA not burning it this time), I made one error: I didn't pre-bake the crust. It tasted so raw because I didn't pre-bake it that it actually took away some of the sweetness of the pie. So PRE-BAKE THE CRUST! That's the only thing I strongly suggest! (Well that and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup when you serve this). This dessert is low-cal and low sugar (not like anyone is REALLY counting calories this time of year) because I have a diabetic step-dad and my mum doesn't like things too sweet.

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So, before your guests start ordering take out, whip out your baking gear and let's get started!

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Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl


Ingredients (makes 1 8" pie)

  • 1/3 cup Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 4 oz. cream cheese

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place pie crust in 8-inch glass pie plate as directed on package for one-crust filled pie. Bake about 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugar, flour and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. 
  3. Beat remaining ingredients on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.
  4. Spoon cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion for marbled design. 
  5. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

 

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Top with some whipped cream, or ice cream before serving and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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For more pumpkin inspired recipes, check these out:

For more Thanksgiving inspired recipes, check these out: