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
Print
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

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

I have the best of both worlds for you today!

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right, I’ve combined my favorite carrot cake recipe with a not-so-traditional coconut pecan frosting, reminiscent of what you’d find on a German chocolate cake and, let me tell you, I wish I had thought of Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting years ago!


Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some classic decadent cream cheese frosting, but I also looooove the combination of carrot, coconut and pecans. It’s like the ultimate spring ingredient combo. Plus, doesn’t it feel great to have so many superfoods in a super-delicious dessert? I mean, there are plenty of indulgent ingredients in the recipes for both the carrot cake and the frosting, but having those other healthy ingredients in there to counteract everything else is EXACTLY how I roll. We’re all about that balance, right?

Quick backstory on my love for carrot cake, and specifically this recipe: I think I’ve mentioned it before, but my parents met and got married in Hawaii, where my dad grew up and my mom worked as a pediatric nurse. During my parents’ courtship, my mom was given this carrot cake recipe by a dear Hawaiian “tutu” named Mrs. Kealoha. And on the back of the recipe, she wrote a note: “Make this for Ken, and he will never leave you.” Well, I’m proud to say that truly was the case (my parents are still together 40 years later!), and now I ask my mom to make this cake for me without fail every year on either my birthday or Easter. It is, after all, the perfect spring-like dessert to bust out in March or April, as the days are getting longer and the sun is getting warmer.

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting | CaliGirlCooking.com

Mrs. Kealoha’s recipe calls for the classic cream cheese frosting, which includes pounds of both butter and cream cheese. As delicious as that is (and I will never turn my nose up at it,) I do often find that I can’t quite finish alllll of the frosting that comes along with my slice, it’s just a leeetle too rich. So naturally I started thinking about other ways to frost my favorite carrot cake, and when my mind wandered to the caramel-y, pudding-like coconut- and pecan-laced frosting that traditionally graces the top of German chocolate cake, I knew it would be the perfect fit.

I had never made coconut-pecan frosting from scratch, but I soon learned it’s much like a pudding, where you have to combine the likes of evaporated milk and egg yolks with staples like sugar and butter to get that creamy consistency. Since this was my first time making it, I followed this recipe from MyRecipes to a tee and didn’t stray at all. We’ll save the improvisations for the next time around! I am happy to report, though, that this recipe did not disappoint. I have to admit that I was doubtful for a minute – Did I cook the egg yolks enough? Would the frosting just look yellow?  But after making sure I let everything cook and sit for the designated amount of time, I was left with a perfectly normal looking coconut pecan frosting that spread onto the three layers of cake like a dream.

Speaking of the layers of this cake, there is one disclaimer I have to make: I doubled Mrs. Kealoha’s recipe to make a four-layer cake, because I wanted it to be really grand and fun to photograph. BUT unfortunately one of my layers didn’t turn out of the pan properly, so I was stuck with just three, which turned out to be plenty. The layers of Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting are quite thick, and I still haven’t been able to bring myself to eat a serving of all three layers (usually I skim just one or two layers off and save the rest for another day…hehe!) So, use your judgment and scale this recipe down if you don’t want such huge servings. OR, you could do what I did and use any extra cake layers to make into yummy chocolate-coated carrot cake balls, which turned out to be really easy (I’ve included the basic recipe below in the recipe notes.)

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting | CaliGirlCooking.com

You should have plenty of frosting to cover all four layers should you decide to go that route, especially if you go for the “naked” cake look like I did here (that also helps with the cake-to-frosting ratio I was speaking of earlier.)

Other than the quantity, the only thing I changed from Mrs. Kealoha’s original carrot cake recipe is that I used pecans instead of walnuts in the batter. I figured if I was using pecans in the frosting I might as well use them in the cake as well!

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting | CaliGirlCooking.com

So that’s the long and short of it: Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting has been born and it’s here to stay. Do you have any fun family baking recipes you’ve adapted to make your own? Let me know in the comments below!

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 5 mins
 

Carrot cake gets a modern update with a coconut-pecan coating in lieu of the standard cream cheese frosting. The perfect cake for spring!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 4 8-inch round cake layers
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour plus 1/2 cup for coating carrots
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mace
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
For the frosting:
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
To make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the oil, eggs and sugar until creamy. Toss the carrots with ½ cup of flour and then add them to this mixture along with the pecans. Next, add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, mace and salt. Mix until well combined.

  3. Unless you have four 8-inch round cake pans (I only have two), you will need to work in two batches to bake up all of the cake layers. Spray however many pans you have with nonstick cooking spray, then one-fourth of the batter into each one. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

  4. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan onto a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat baking process however often is necessary until all of your batter has been used up.

To make the frosting:
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the evaporated milk, sugar, butter and egg yolks and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring constantly, 12-14 minutes more or until mixture is a light caramel color and is bubbling and pudding-like. 

  2. Remove from heat and stir in pecans, coconut and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or until it is of a spreadable frosting consistency.

Assembly:
  1. Place the first cake layer on your serving plate and, using a long, serrated knife, even out the top. This will help all of the layers stay put on top of each other rather than sliding off once you add the frosting in between the layers. 

  2. Slather a hefty helping of the coconut-pecan frosting over the top of this first layer, being sure to get all the way out to the edges. Repeat the process with however many more layers you are using. You do not need to even out the top layer as you don’t have to worry about another layer sliding off of it.

  3. Keep cake in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

*Coconut pecan frosting recipe from MyRecipes.

To make the cake balls:

Combine any extra cake with 1 cup of frosting of your choice (preferably one without anything chunky, I used a whipped cream cheese frosting) in a food processor. Pulse until a dough forms. 

Use a cookie scoop to ball up the cake dough. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Melt at least one bag (maybe even two) of chocolate chips of your choice (I did some white chocolate and some semisweet) in a heatproof bowl with one to two tablespoons of coconut oil.

Dip balls in melted chocolate and place back on parchment covered cookie sheet. Cover with sprinkles of your choice and refrigerate balls until hardened. I also recommend storing them in the refrigerator so they hold their shape.

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream

I’m really not messing around with this one.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

This Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream just MIGHT become the one and only “everyday” cake I make forever and ever and ever…It’s dense and moist, with REAL pistachios (none of that pistachio pudding or flavoring) and the richest, most decadent dark chocolate buttercream that has ever graced the bowl of my stand mixer. It is that good.


Let me tell you a little story about how this cake came to be. I often have people asking me if I ever run out of ideas, how I come up with my ideas, etc. The answers: no, I have not run out of recipe ideas (yet, I have two running lists that I am constantly adding to and working off of) and recipe ideas come to me every day, everywhere, at the most unexpected times (hence why I have a list of ideas on my phone and another list in my Google docs.)

This particular idea for Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream was actually inspired by one of my favorite Trader Joe’s trail mixes, Happy Trekking, which is full of almonds, cashews, cranberries, cherries and, yes, pistachios and dark chocolate! Whenever I’d be mindlessly munching on the mix, I’d stop for a second and savor every bite I got that had that heavenly combo of pistachios and dark chocolate. So, I figured why not make a delicious baked good that featured those two perfectly partnered flavors?

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

The result was AMAZING and I really hope this flavor combo takes the world by storm, because everyone should be exposed to life-changing things such as Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream.

I originally thought about making this into a cupcake recipe (which you can certainly do, simply bring down the baking time to 18-20 minutes) but then I realized I haven’t really ever posted a full-on CAKE recipe on this here bloggy blog. There were times that I debated making this one of those fancy two- or three-layer cakes with thick slabs of frosting in between each layer, but in the end I decided to keep it simple and less intimidating. I wanted this to be a cake that you can enjoy a slice of (without guilt) every day, rather than having to save it for a special occasion.

The other thing was that a MUST for this Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream was using real pistachios rather than the green pudding mix or other artificial flavoring. I wanted to keep the flavors as close to the trail mix as possible. I did some quick Internet research and found this method on AllRecipes for grinding toasted pistachios with a bit of sugar and then folding them into the batter at the end, which worked out perfectly! Highly recommend.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

I then used a very similar method for both the batter and buttercream that I used for these Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream, changing a few things up here and there to fit the flavor profiles I was looking for.

The cake comes out incredibly dense and moist which is, to me, the best kind. In fact, if you left off the Dark Chocolate Buttercream, I’m pretty sure you could get away with calling this a perfectly acceptable breakfast cake. Since we’re keeping it simple, I just used an 8-inch round cake pan which make the cake come out nice and thick.

The Dark Chocolate Buttercream comes together quickly and easily, especially if you have a handy-dandy stand mixer. You’ll end up having more frosting than you need for the cake, but is there a problem with that? I don’t think anyone ever objected to having a container of Dark Chocolate Buttercream sitting in their refrigerator for those late-night cravings.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

I made both the cake and the buttercream a day in advance, and frosted it on the morning I wanted to serve it. Just be sure to let the frosting come to room temperature before you try and spread it, or else you’ll end up with a mess and a not-so-pretty Pistachio Cake.

This Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream comes together fairly quickly and easily, which means it would be super easy for you to whip up as a special humpday treat. Who doesn’t need some pistachios and dark chocolate to get you through the week?

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 10 mins
 

A perfectly dense and moist everyday cake made using real pistachios and topped with a decadent homemade dark chocolate buttercream.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 8 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1 cup pistachio nutmeats, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the buttercream:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and cover the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. 

  2. Next, make the cake. In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios and ½ cup of the sugar until very fine. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup of sugar, almond milk, butter, eggs, Greek yogurt and vanilla using the paddle attachment until a thick paste forms. 

  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. 

  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in pistachio mix.

  6. Bake in 350-degree oven for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool for about 20 minutes, then turn out of pan onto rack to cool completely. You may need to use a butter knife or inserted spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. 

  7. While cake is cooling, make the buttercream. In a clean stand mixer fitted with a clean paddle attachment, combine all of the frosting ingredients. Mix until ingredients form the buttercream frosting texture. 

  8. Either frost the cake once it has cooled completely, or wrap the cake in plastic wrap and place the buttercream in a resealable container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Be sure to bring the buttercream back to room temperature before attempting to frost the cake. Cake can be kept out at room temperature for up to two days, but for best preservation, keep it refrigerated, which will make it last up to one week.

Pistachio Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Little slice of heaven right here.

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake

Sometimes, it’s the little things.

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake | CaliGirl Cooking

Birthdays are strange. Some years, they fall into place with celebrations that seem to go on for weeks. Others, you feel the urge to just take it easy, not make a huge deal out of it, and spend quality time with the ones you love. Sometimes, all you need is cheesecake.


Yesterday was Chris’ 30th birthday. I’d been asking him what he wanted to do for months, but hadn’t been able to get a solid answer out of him. Usually, I’d be the type of person to put something together anyhow, reach into my event planner background and make something happen. But you see, this here life has gotten me a little crazy for the time being, and between running the blog, working full time, and planning a wedding, I just didn’t have the mental capacity to get creative and think of something on my own. And I told him so.

He knows that I love him deeply, that I would do anything for him, but he also understands everything that I am trying to do right now and supports me 100%. He knows I’m stretched just a bit thin right now. He’s such an easy-going person, and although I know he would have loved to have gotten together with all of his friends this weekend, near and far, I knew he’d also be pretty darn content just relaxing and enjoying a few days off with me. We weren’t able to coordinate getting a big group together, and we couldn’t bring ourselves to spend a ton of money on concert tickets or a big trip with this thing called a wedding looming before us.

But that’s the thing about knowing you’ve found the right person, that you’re about to share the rest of your life with this one human being…You don’t NEED all of that. Yes, it’s a bonus, but at the end of the day, this is the person you are going to have by your side through the good times and the bad, the person that supports you through everything and loves you unconditionally. So you’re perfectly content spending your big 3-0 with just your person by your side, enjoying each others’ company. Oh, and cheesecake, did I mention there was cheesecake?

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake | CaliGirl Cooking

Cheesecake is Chris’ FAVORITE dessert, and from the moment I started asking him what he wanted for his birthday (to do, eat or otherwise), the only solid answer I got out of him was that he wanted cheesecake. Not a fancy, flavored cheesecake (as my creative culinary aspirations would typically lead me to whip up) but a classic, standard, New York-style cheesecake.

I’ve made cheesecake in some form or other before, but never one big, classic cheesecake. I was a bit intimidated but ready to do anything to get my man what he wanted for his birthday. Remember that thing I mentioned back in this post about getting into the kitchen and trying new things? You gotta do it! Trust me, it never turns out to be as intimidating as it seems.

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake | CaliGirl Cooking

So, back to this cheesecake, I did some research and was eventually able to come up with what I thought would make a pretty darn good Classic New York-Style Cheesecake. Now, we all know that cheesecake is not THE healthiest dessert in the book (okay, it’s probably one of the least healthy!) but we also know I’m all about that balance and, if my man wants cheesecake, my man gets cheesecake. I may have thrown in a couple of minor tweaks to help myself not feel so bad about the calorie count, but the thing about balanced living (and eating) is we know we’ll make up for it with healthier dishes the rest of the time, like kale salads and minestrone soup!

As I mentioned before, this recipe may seem intimidating, but if you break it down it’s actually pretty darn easy, and the end result is so worth it! We start with a graham cracker crust that we pre-bake just a little bit to make sure it’s not too soggy once we add the cheesecake filling. We then make our cheesecake filling, sneaking in one package of “light” cream cheese (amongst the four packages the recipe calls for – insert monkey covering eyes emoji here) and we also use light sour cream instead of regular. Aren’t we feeling better already?

The trickiest part of this recipe is the way the cake pan is prepared and how the cheesecake is cooked. We use a springform pan, for ease of removing the cheesecake once it’s done. We then wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil, and place the unbaked cheesecake (once ready to go into the oven) in a water bath. This helps create a steam bath of sorts that enables the cheesecake filling to cook all the way without burning too much.

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake | CaliGirl Cooking

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake | CaliGirl Cooking

There is a bit of prep time, so you’ll want to plan in advance when making this. The cheesecake itself takes over an hour to bake, and then you have to let it cool all the way BEFORE placing it in the refrigerator to set overnight. So, as long as you’re cool with waiting and have a couple of days before you’re ready to actually eat the cheesecake, this recipe will be a snap for you.

This Classic New York-Style Cheesecake is dense, rich, moist and incredibly delicious. It’s creamy, with hints of vanilla and lemon zest. You don’t need much to feel satisfied, which means you won’t be left with a heavy, uncomfortable gut and you can still carry on with your (healthier) day-to-day eating. It’s a special occasion cake for sure, but that’s what birthdays are for!

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake | CaliGirl Cooking

I love hearing about how others celebrate their birthdays (nothing like living vicariously through all of you!) What are the birthday dessert traditions in your family? What is your one special request when your birthday rolls around? Let me know in the comments below!

Classic New York-Style Cheesecake

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake

A classic recipe for creamy, decadent New York-style cheesecake with hints of vanilla and lemon.

Ingredients

  • 24 graham crackers (full sheets), crushed (about 3 ¼ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 24 ounces regular block cream cheese (3 packages)
  • 8 ounces lite block cream cheese (1 package)
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan in aluminum foil. Spray the inside of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To prep the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter in a large mixing bowl. Pour mixture into springform pan and press into bottom to form the crust. Bake in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Next, prep the cheesecake filling. Combine all cream cheese and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, beating until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour, vanilla bean paste, sour cream and salt. Beat once again until combined. Fold in lemon zest.
  4. Now it’s time to prep the water bath. Fill a large roasting pan or rectangular cake pan with about one inch of water. Place springform pan (still wrapped in foil) in water bath. Pour cheesecake batter into pan once it’s in the water bath. Place entire setup in 350 degree oven and bake for 70 to 80 minutes, or until cheesecake seems set and is just barely jiggly.
  5. Remove entire setup from oven, then remove cheesecake from water bath. Place cheesecake (still in springform pan) on a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Once completely cooled, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan, transfer to a plate, and refrigerate overnight. Serve the next day.
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Classic New York-Style Cheesecake | CaliGirl Cooking

Such a beaut!

Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream

This one goes out to all of my moms out there. Consider this Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream my personal gift to you to thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.

Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

I’m not yet a mom myself, but I have MAD respect for all of you out there who are. I have so many mamas in my life – friends that are moms, family members that are moms, soon-to-be family members that are moms (and of course, most importantly, my mom) – I see on a daily basis what hard, yet rewarding, work it is. I look forward to the day that I join the ranks but, for now, I’ll stick with showering all the moms I know with delicious treats like this one.


This Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream is one for the books. No joke. The cake is dense, syrupy, and fruity, and the light-as-air whipped cream is the perfect contrast with that little hint of boozy flavor. If you think about it, it’s sweet (as moms undoubtedly need to be) but has that extra kick that proves we’re not messing around.

Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

And let me tell you a little bit about this sweetness. This sweetness comes from the amazing Heavenly Organics line of honeys which have become my absolute favorite as of late. You may have noticed I already started sneaking them into recipes like this Spring Kale Salad with Honey-Tahini Dressing, because I just can’t NOT use them when I’m looking for that little hint of sweetness. They come in three flavors: Acacia Honey, White Honey and Neem Honey, and all of them are fab. The Acacia Honey is more your classic honey, light and drizzly with a slight tang, it’s perfect for everyday use because it blends in easily to anything. The White Honey is creamier, with a more floral hint to it, and the Neem Honey is the thickest, most robust…perfect to serve on a giant cheese platter!

The other HUGE reason why I love Heavenly Organics honeys is because they are all ethically farmed. Guys, this is really big. I’m sure you’ve heard all the buzz lately (sorry, pun intended) about how all of our bees are disappearing because of unethical farming practices, smoke outs, etc. Well, Heavenly Organics is soooo not about that. Their honeys are collected from naturally occurring, wild beehives using smoke-free methods that not only protect the bee colonies, but also prevent forest fires.

Even better, these honeys are produced by worker-owned cooperatives in remote and conflict-ridden areas such as Northern and Central India and the Himalayas, helping to better these communities and create long-lasting, sustainable economies. Is Heavenly Organics awesome or are they awesome? You know I’m all about that balance, so I am totally behind this company and their message.

Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

So let’s get to this Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream using not one, but TWO of these amazing products. Because of its delicious creaminess and floral notes, I used the White Honey as the “glue” to hold the orange slices on to the bottom/top of the cake. And for the whipped cream, I used the ever-so-versatile Acacia Honey for its easy blendability.

Not only is this cake absolutely delicious, it is incredibly easy to make (the most difficult part is slicing the oranges) and, best part ever, it’s perfectly fitting for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. I mean, it involves Greek yogurt and fruit which makes it pretty much a health food, right? And this means you’re covered no matter how you’ll be celebrating all of the moms in your life this weekend. Now hurry up and get to baking! We only have a whole day devoted to celebrating these fabulous human beings once a year, after all 😉

Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream

Yield: Makes one 8-inch cake and about 2 cups of whipped cream

A delicious upside-down cake laced with honey and fresh oranges, topped with homemade, spiked whipped cream.

Ingredients

    For the bottom of the cake pan:
  • 2/3 cup honey – I prefer Heavenly Organics White Honey
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sliced into thin wheels (not wedges)
    For the cake batter:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon honey – I prefer Heavenly Organics Acacia Honey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line bottom of sprayed pan with parchment paper, then spray top of parchment paper with cooking spray one more time.
  2. Spread White Honey on bottom of cake pan, carefully making sure it reaches as far to the sides as possible without moving the parchment paper. Place orange wheels atop honey in bottom of cake pan. Set aside.
  3. Next, make the batter. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, yogurt, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, mix until these ingredients are combined, then mix in the dry ingredients.
  4. Once all ingredients are incorporated, pour batter into prepared cake pan. Place in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate to finish cooling.
  5. To make the whipped cream, combine heavy whipping cream, vanilla and bourbon in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix at medium-high speed for at least 5 minutes, or until the mixture resembles whipped cream. Serve alongside slices of cake.
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https://www.caligirlcooking.com/honey-orange-upside-cake-honey-bourbon-whipped-cream/

Honey-Orange Upside Down Cake with Honey-Bourbon Whipped Cream | CaliGirl Cooking

A whole lotta sweet love right there.

This post was created in partnership with Heavenly Organics. Although I did receive product in exchange for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I truly LOVE Heavenly Organics products and their mission so I am honored to work with such an amazing company!