Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

If this doesn’t scream “Mother’s Day,” what does??

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

In-season fresh strawberries dot a vanilla- and lemon-laced Bundt cake, topped with the sweetest, tangiest lemon drizzle. This Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze is one for the books and I can guarantee that just about any mom in her right mind will go crazy for this if you make it for her this weekend.

This is yet another post I’ve created with my friends over at Sonoma Syrup Co., and I must say it was so fun to make and came at just the perfect time. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know that over the past year or so I’ve partnered with Sonoma Syrup to make some really fun drink recipes, like this Honey Citrus Detox Elixir and this Spiked Lavender Lemonade, but every once in a while I love to flex my creativity and use their amazing syrups (and, in this case, vanilla extract) in a super tasty baked good, like these Vanilla-Ginger Doughnuts with Pomegranate Glaze.


So when they approached me to create a fun Mother’s Day recipe using their Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush,” I jumped at the chance. And of course I couldn’t stop there, I had to add some of their No. 1 Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup as well because who doesn’t love hints of fresh lemon paired with strawberry and vanilla?

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m even more excited for this Mother’s Day for a few very important reasons that I have to keep under wraps for now, but I promise to let you know soon! We have both of our parents coming to town, plus some siblings, and a couple of big surprises to unveil that are going to really put the icing on the cake for the weekend (pardon the pun.) All the more reason to have some Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze to celebrate!

And really, this recipe is not at all hard to make. That’s one of the greatest things about Bundt cakes. They look so pretty and elegant with almost no effort at all. Forget the fancy frosting techniques, let the shape of the cake mold do all the work!

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - A beautiful and delicious Bundt cake laced with fresh strawberries, vanilla and lemon. The perfect spring dessert!

So, we start with a fairly basic Bundt cake batter, with a hefty dose of Greek yogurt to be sure it turns out nice and moist. We happened to have a huge jar of homemade limoncello in our refrigerator, so I added some of that to the batter to really up the lemon factor, but you could just as easily use fresh lemon juice if you don’t have any limoncello on hand. We’re saving the Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup for the glaze so it can REALLY shine.

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - Moist cake batter in Bundt pan laced with fresh strawberries.

I also put in a hefty dose (we’re talking one whole tablespoon) of Sonoma Syrup’s Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush.” Now what, you might be wondering, is the difference between the Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush” and regular vanilla extract? Well, the crush is not only made from some of the finest vanilla beans you can get your hands on, it’s also laced with actual vanilla bean SEEDS, making it especially delicious and intense in flavor. I love the extra-vanilla-y taste it gives all of my baked goods, I’ve even been known to throw some into a smoothie every now and then!

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - Baked cake without glaze.

Once our Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake has baked and cooled slightly, it’s time to put together the super-simple Lemon Glaze. This glaze is really similar to the Pomegranate Glaze I made for the Vanilla-Ginger Doughnuts I mentioned above, but using the No. 1 Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup instead of the pomegranate. To really punch up the flavor, I also added lemon zest and even MORE of the Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush.”

I really love that the light glaze is not too overwhelming with the delicate, fresh flavors of the cake, which also makes it just as suitable for brunch as it does for dessert after a heavier lunch or dinner. This means that you have no excuse not to order some of these syrups right this instant and make a Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze for all of your favorite moms this Mother’s Day.

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - A slice of this cake and a hot cup of coffee is all you need this Mother's Day!

Even better, Sonoma Syrup is offering all of you, my dear readers and biggest fans, 10% off of your next purchase. Simply use the special discount code CALI10 at checkout on their site and you’ll be well on your way to making a delicious dessert that all your guests will love. Now hurry up and order so you can get to baking!

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins
 

A moist, delicious cake filled with fresh strawberries and laced with hints of lemon and vanilla, all topped with a tangy lemon glaze.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 10 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush"
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello (or fresh lemon juice)
  • 3 cups flour, divided (plus more for pan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
For the glaze:
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons Sonoma Syrup Co. No. 1 Meyer Lemon Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush"
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a Bundt cake pan with shortening or melted butter and then coat with flour. Set aside.

  2. First, make the cake. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla bean extract, limoncello (or lemon juice) and Greek yogurt. Beat until combined.

  3. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, sift together 2 ¾ cups flour, the baking soda and the salt. Add this mixture to the wet mixture and beat until just combined. 

  4. In a separate bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup flour. Fold the strawberries into the batter. 

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before turning out of pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over the cooled cake and let set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream

I’m going to blow your mind today!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’ve never heard of or yet gotten to experience the magic of candy cap mushrooms, that is. I have to admit, it’s taken me quite a while to figure out how I wanted to showcase these little gems here on the blog, but now that I have this recipe for Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream under my wing, I’ll never think twice!


Yes, we’re talking about MUSHROOMS here, and mushrooms that shine their brightest when used in sweet, rather than savory, dishes. Don’t be scared. These things seriously taste like maple syrup. No joke. Which is why I naturally decided to add them to syrup’s ultimate breakfast vehicle – Belgian waffles!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

I had heard some buzz about these magical candy caps around the interwebs last year, but I hadn’t really had the opportunity (or motivation) to track some down and try my hand at cooking/baking with them. But my whole outlook changed when my friend and fellow blogger Hana-Lee and I headed up to Napa at the end of last year, and had none other than CANDY CAP CHURROS for breakfast at Sam’s Social Club one morning. We both took one bite and immediately fell in love. The little flecks of candy cap mushrooms that you could barely see speckled throughout the churro dough added such an intense, delicious maple-y flavor, I really couldn’t believe that something so small could have such a big impact on the taste buds. Pretty amazing.

So, I finally had the extra motivation I felt I had been waiting for to give these candy cap mushrooms a shot in my own kitchen, now all I had left to do was track some of these bad boys down. I found a rather large pack of candy cap mushrooms on Amazon (my usual go-to for any slightly “out there” food products that I don’t feel like going on a wild goose chase to find locally) but was still a bit hesitant to make such a big purchase when I had never even cooked with these things before (although I am happy to say that, after the success of these Candy Cap Waffles, I would easily make that investment so I could have them for breakfast every weekend morning from here to eternity.)

It wasn’t until the hubs and I took another trip up to Napa a couple of months later and visited the new Culinary Institute of America site at Copia that I truly discovered what I knew I had been looking for to embark on my candy cap mushroom culinary journey: candy cap sugar!!! That’s right, the cute little store at the CIA was selling sugar that was already infused with small flecks of dried candy cap mushrooms. It started perfuming our car with that heavenly scent of maple syrup as soon as we started driving north to our accommodations for the night. I couldn’t wait to get back in the kitchen and use it!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

But if you can’t find any candy cap sugar in your neck of the woods (or don’t feel like ordering it here), have no fear, you can easily make your own! Simply get your hands on some dried candy cap mushrooms (like these ones you can get on Amazon) and mix them with ohhhh, about ½ cup to a cup of sugar in an airtight container. Let the ingredients sit and get to know each other for a day or so and you’ll be ready to whip up some Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream just in time for the weekend.

And after some brainstorming and messaging back and forth with some other culinarily adventurous friends, I settled upon these Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream. I’m so glad I did. To be fair, this recipe is nearly identical to a Belgian waffle recipe my mom passed down to me at my cooking-themed bridal shower last year, and yet another thing that has been on my “to-make” list for way too long. I mean, we even got the fancy shmancy Belgian waffle maker to go with it!

It’s not a quick-and-easy recipe, yet it’s not difficult, more just a little time consuming. This is mostly due to the fact that you separate the egg yolks and whites and fold in the stiffened whites at the very end of the batter-making process to yield an incredibly light yet moist flavor. That being said, if you find yourself up early one morning or able to tide the troops over with some fresh fruit or cartoons for a later breakfast, this recipe is TOTALLY worth it.

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

The only change I made to my mom’s recipe to make these Candy Cap Waffles was subbing in the candy cap sugar for the regular amount of sugar called for. It’s only two tablespoons, but that’s all you need to really make that signature maple flavor pop (and make your house smell like breakfast for a good couple of days.)

Oh, and then there are the sautéed maple apples and fresh whipped cream, which you probably shouldn’t skip out on. You see, I figured that since the waffles would already taste like maple syrup, they might need a little more of a three-dimensional topping than just MORE maple syrup. To me, there’s hardly anything better than warm, cinnamon-y sautéed apples gracing the top of a baked breakfast item, so that was an easy solution for me. And whipped cream, well, you’ve just got to!

Once you have the batter made, you’ll be turning out waffles as quickly as your waffle maker’s light turns from red to green. If you’re cooking for a crowd and want to serve everyone at once (including yourself,) simply preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and throw the waffles in, right onto the oven rack, to stay warm while you cook the rest. Be sure not to place them on a baking sheet or paper towel, as this will make them soggy, and no one wants a soggy waffle!

I might also take this opportunity to mention that, conveniently, there is a very special holiday coming up this weekend that perfectly warrants a big batch of these. I mean, what mom wouldn’t want a heaping plate of Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream placed in front of her on Mother’s Day morning?

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Belgian waffles get an elevated twist with the addition of candy cap mushroom-laden sugar, sauteed maple apples and homemade whipped cream.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4 waffles
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the waffles:
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons candy cap sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the apples:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 Fuji apples, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. First, make the waffle batter. In a large bowl, sift together both flours, the sugar, the baking powder and the baking soda. Set aside.

  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg yolks, butter and vanilla.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until a lumpy batter forms.

  4. In a separate, small mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain. Let batter sit while you make the sautéed apples and whipped cream.

  5. To make the apples: melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices, cinnamon and maple syrup and saute until the apples are crisp tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. Turn heat to low and set aside.

  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a clean hand mixer) combine the whipping cream and vanilla extract. Beat on high until a whipped cream forms. Place in refrigerator while you are making your waffles.

  7. Scoop approximately ¾ cups of the batter (depending on the size of your waffle maker) onto a preheated waffle iron and cook according to the iron’s directions. 

  8. If you’d like to serve everyone at once, place waffles directly onto the rack of a 200 degree preheated oven to keep warm while you make more. Remove right before serving. 

Recipe Notes
  • You can purchase the same candy cap sugar that I used here.
  • If you'd like to make your own candy cap sugar, simply purchase candy cap mushrooms from Amazon here, dice them up finely and add them to regular granulated sugar. Let sit for at least a day before using.

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Or as those of you who love cocktails as much as I do may call it, Cinco de Drinko! I am beyond stoked to bring you today’s cocktail because (a) it is only the second frozen cocktail I’ve ever posted on the blog (second only to this delicious Frozen Cantaloupe White Wine Sangria, which would also be perfectly fitting for this occasion) and (b) it is the ultimate spring-summer hybrid, so perfect for this time of year! Yes, this Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita I’m sharing with you today is so refreshing and tasty, you’re going to have to seriously pace yourself because you’re just going to want to be drinking these non-stop today and all through the weekend.


Unfortunately, seeing as I’m busy learning and hobnobbing with the big names at the Everything Food Conference in SLC today, I won’t be able to enjoy any of these for this festive holiday, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find some way to celebrate, and there will be plenty of time to enjoy a Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita down the road as the weather gets even warmer in sunny California!

And since I won’t be making my normal rounds to all of the Mexican restaurants/bars with the hubs and his work crew this year, I’m dying to live vicariously through all of you. Tell me, what fun things are you up to today to celebrate? I’ll probably even be jealous if your plans amount to no more than making huge vats of Kimchi Bacon Guacamole and Spicy Homemade Salsa (and maybe some Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas?) and enjoying them in front of the TV in the comfort of your own home. Ain’t no shame in that game and you’ll probably find me doing the same once I’m done with the conference for the day.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

So, about this Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita, there’s really nothing genius about it, just a whole lot of really fantastic flavor. Now, I’m not one for frozen drinks that are made “frozen” by a heavy scoop of ice, as I find this just makes them incredibly watered down as they melt. Instead, I prefer to freeze my fruit (or any other solid ingredients you’ll be using) so it both makes the cocktail icy but also imparts a whole lot of flavor whether you drink it all right away or want to nurse it a bit (which is always a good idea with tequila!) That being said, I froze both the watermelon (seedless, mind you) and peaches before adding them to the blender with all of the other ingredients.

And speaking of “all the other ingredients,” we’re talking the classics that you see in just about every margarita recipe. So tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Like I said, nothing fancy! I want to keep this as easy as possible for you so you have no excuse to whip some of these up because they are sooooooo tasty.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and pour into frosty margarita glasses. Maybe garnish with a lime wheel and/or give those glasses a salt rim if you’re feeling fancy (or need some sodium in your life…haha!) No judgment here. These recipes are for YOU.

Speaking of, I’m working on my summer content calendar right now and would love to hear from you regarding what you’d like to see more (or less of) on the blog in the coming months, anything you’ve really enjoyed that I posted, any other topics you’d like me to cover more of (traveling, eating out, or working out, for example,) etc.  After all, this blog would be nothing if it weren’t for all of you lovely readers out there 😉

I hope you have a fun, fabulous and safe Cinco de Mayo, filled with plenty of Frozen Watermelon Peach Margaritas!! Xo

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This fun frozen cocktail is the perfect spring-summer hybrid, with both watermelon and peach amping up your everyday margarita flavors.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces frozen peach slices
  • 8 ounces frozen seedless watermelon chunks
  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces Cointreau q
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
Instructions
  1. If you like your margaritas with salt, rim two chilled margarita glasses with lime juice and salt before preparing the cocktails. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into two chilled margarita glasses, whether with salt or without. Garnish with a lime wheel, if desired.

Frozen Watermelon Peach Margarita | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spicy Homemade Salsa

Hey, hey, hey friends!

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

I am so excited for today’s post because I’ve partnered up with some of my favorite event and wedding planning babes, A Savvy Lifestyle, to bring you the most delicious Spicy Homemade Salsa you’ve ever tasted. I’m serious here. If you like spicy, you’re going to LOVE this. You probably won’t even be able to put down the chips. It’s a good thing the recipe makes a huge batch so you just might be willing to share some with your friends for your Cinco de Mayo get-together!


I have to tell you a little story about the Savvy group because they really are a special bunch. When my husband and I first got engaged, one of the first people I told was my good friend Brittany who also happens to be a wedding planner. Now, I used to be an event planner but I am definitely no expert in weddings, so I needed all of the help I could get! Brittany just so happens to work for A Savvy Lifestyle’s parent company, A Savvy Event, so I knew I would be in good hands with her.

Seeing as we wanted her to be able to actually ENJOY our wedding (and not have to work for once!) she quickly connected us with one of her amazing coworkers, Jamie, to be our actual planner leading up to and the day of the event. All spare you all of the lovey-dovey, romantic details of our wedding planning process, but let’s just say it was so special to work so closely with such an amazingly friendly group of talented ladies! So when they asked me to contribute a festive Cinco de Mayo recipe for their lifestyle brand, I jumped at the chance.

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

Coincidentally, this recipe is one that my husband has had in his arsenal since his good ol’ Isla Vista college days, so we’re putting our marriage to work to bring you this Spicy Homemade Salsa! We whip up a batch whenever we’re having a barbecue, family get-together or pretty much any other large gathering of people, and it’s always a hit, especially with our spice-lovers!

Seriously though, the spice-level on this recipe (as written) is not for the faint of heart. But there is some great news that goes along with that so as not to totally scare you away:

  1. When I say the salsa is “spicy,” think of it as a slow, gradual buildup. It doesn’t hit you all at once, and it certainly doesn’t burn off all of your taste buds with the first bite. I’d say if you normally buy “medium” salsa at the store, you’ll easily be able to tolerate at least small doses of this recipe as is.
  2. If you’re REALLY averse/sensitive to heat, you can easily just cut down the amount of habaneros used, or even use seeded jalapenos instead. Once you take the seeds out, peppers really just add flavor and hardly any spice at all.

The most recent evolution of this recipe, which you can find here in the A Savvy Lifestyle post, is our addition of some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Seriously, do not skip this step if you can at all help it. The smokiness of the peppers adds such a fantastic flavor to the salsa, it truly makes the dish three-dimensional and out of this world.

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

CLICK HERE FOR THE SPICY HOMEMADE SALSA RECIPE!

So what are your plans for Cinco de Mayo? I for one am headed out to Salt Lake City tonight through Sunday for the Everything Food Conference, so no big Cinco celebration for me this year, but I am beyond excited. This will be the first full-on “food blogging” conference that I’ve attended and I’ve already got so many brands and people on my list to meet I just know it’s going to be a blast and go by way too fast. If for any reason you’re headed that way as well, be sure to drop me a line so we can connect!

So since I’ll be too busy mingling with my fellow bloggers and living it up in the SLC, do me a favor and enjoy some Spicy Homemade Salsa for me, will ya? And maybe a margarita or two?

Spicy Homemade Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

And be sure to check out A Savvy Lifestyle for the recipe and tons of other great posts about events, wine country and so much more!!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter

Comin’ at ya with the most delicious non-recipe recipe today!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m calling it right now: Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platters may just become summer’s “it” entertaining item. Because, I mean, when it’s sunny and 75 degrees out, who doesn’t want a plate piled high with pineapple, papaya, kiwis and allllllll the cheese?


Now, I know what you may be thinking: “Ick, how does tropical fruit and CHEESE pair well together?” Well that, my friends, is all in the cheese. You see, I take my job as a food blogger very seriously and would never want to lead you astray, so I was sure to taste multiple cheese and tropical fruit combinations before I settled on the ones you see here. True, there are some pairings that just don’t work, but hey, there are a lot of pairings that do and I’ve taken all of the hassle of figuring that out off of your shoulders and come up with some fantastic pairings that will make your next Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day or Memorial Day get-together to the next level.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I actually came up with the idea for this Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter last October, when my dad and I took a “business” trip to Oahu, which essentially entailed us eating our way through the island for a week. If you’re in tune with the Oahu restaurant scene at all, then you’ll be no stranger to local celebrity chef Ed Kenney’s restaurants that have been making waves (haha, pun intended) all through Honolulu over the past 10 years or so. We ate at three of his four restaurants while we were there (and only skipped the fourth one because we had eaten there multiple times when I lived there) and were duly impressed by each one. Be sure to check out my Travel Diaries: Honolulu post for more deets on all of those, but right now I want to tell you all about the basket cheese we had at one of these said restaurants, Mud Hen Water.

We were able to talk my aunt and uncle into joining us for this dinner, which was all the better since everything is served family style and this way we could order double the amount of dishes to share. I was immediately intrigued by their menu offering of “Homemade Basket Cheese” so we decided to give it a shot. What was delivered to our table just moments later was a soft, ricotta-like cheese served with a multitude of fresh tropical fruits and, let me tell you, my mind was blown.

Up until that point, I had only thought that grapes, apples, apricots and the like were acceptable to be served with cheese, but boy was I proven wrong. The creamy, mellowness of the basket cheese paired perfectly with the mango and papaya that were served alongside it, and it immediately got the food blogger wheels churning in my head about what other types of cheeses might pair well with what are some of my favorite genre of fruits.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Of course, Hawaii has the luxury of a tropical climate (and plenty of local fruit) year round, but I decided to wait until the weather started warming up a bit again here on the mainland before giving my Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter a shot for this here blog. With temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s expected for us in Santa Barbara this weekend, and so many fun holidays right around the corner, I figured what better time to finalize this idea on paper! (Er, I mean on screen.)

So here’s what I ended up discovering in my in-depth research of the perfect tropical fruit and cheese pairings: Any of the mild, soft ricotta-like cheeses are a DREAM pairing for allll the tropical fruits. Especially if you add a little honey! I took some creamy mascarpone I had sitting in the refrigerator and sweetened it up a little, and let me just say you’re lucky I saved some to photograph because I could have very easily sat there and eaten the whole bowl with my pineapple and papaya spears.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sticking with the creamy theme, I also found that a good, simple goat cheese is a great pairing for most tropical fruits. It adds a simple tang (much like unsweetened or Greek yogurt would) without overwhelming the fruit with too much funk or contrasting flavors.

The only hard cheese that made the cut in my taste test was a basque cheese I picked up from Trader Joe’s. It has just a touch of funk, but not so much that it fights with the other flavors on the platter. It’s fairly mild compared to some other hard cheeses, and the slight saltiness is a great contrast to the sweetness of the fruit.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Some other small touches that I found make a big difference that you may not think of:

Papaya is an interesting fruit, and can be fairly one-dimensional and almost a bit musty tasting at times. I find that a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top really transforms the flavor palate so be sure to serve some lime wedges on your platter for people to add as needed.

Of course another typical component you see on most traditional fruit and cheese platters is some sort of nut. This adds a crunchy and often salty element to the mix to contrast all of the sweet- and savory-ness. In sticking with the tropical theme, I added some macadamia nuts to the platter which added the perfect finishing touch.

And that’s it, folks! Really, the only “cooking” involved in this super easy party dish is stirring some honey into the mascarpone and plopping it into a bowl. Easy as that! Now, as I mentioned, we’ve got Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and a whole summer of entertaining ahead of us, so start scoping out the best tropical fruit you can find and get to making this to-die-for Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Tropical fruits are paired with a delicious selection of cheeses, honey and macadamia nuts - perfect for your next warm weather get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
Assorted tropical fruits, such as:
  • Pineapple spears
  • Papaya spears
  • Sliced kiwis
  • Mango slices
  • Lime wedges
Honeyed Mascarpone:
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Other ingredients:
  • Creamy goat cheese
  • Basque cheese
  • Macadamia nuts
Instructions
  1. Make the honeyed mascarpone by combining the two ingredients in a small serving bowl.

  2. Arrange all ingredients on a large platter and serve!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com