Cakes

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

We’re starting Monday off with a bang! This super simple no-bake Lemon Blackberry Ice Box Cake is channeling summer as we try to soak up the last week of August. I love lemon flavors all the time, but I especially love eating it in the summer since it makes me think of fresh ingredients and sunshine. Combine the lemon with some fresh plump blackberries and we are in full summer mode over here!

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I made this cake because I wanted to participate in Sally’s Baking Challenge over on Sally’s Baking Addiction. If you aren’t familiar with her blog, she posts a new challenge recipe every month to inspire more people to bake. I participated last month making cherry hand pies you can check out over on my Instagram and I had so much fun that I decided I wanted to participate again this month. The challenge for August is a chocolate chip cookie layer cake, which sounds amazing, but it is HUGE. Since there’s so many challenge months I missed out on, I decided to head into the archives and make a dessert from a past challenge.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last year, she posted one for a lemon blueberry icebox cake. Matt’s not a blueberry fan so we settled on blackberries and that’s how this cake came to be on your screen right now. Well after I made it, photographed it, edited it and loaded it up of course. While all that was happening, this light and tart cake was devoured so it’s safe to say it was a big success. Don’t be fooled by the challenge part; icebox cakes could not be easier since there is absolutely no baking involved.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though I’ve eaten plenty of them, I’ve actually never make an icebox cake before. An icebox cake is typically made by layering cookies and whipped cream then placing it in the freezer. The cookies soak up moisture from the whipped cream and develop a soft “cake-like” texture. This version has multiple layers and each of them have me doing a happy dance.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

First, for our cookies we’re using graham crackers. You will need about six full-sheet graham crackers, which is just shy of one whole sleeve. For the whipped cream layer we are making a quick homemade lemon whipped cream. Beat together heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until you have soft peaks – done! I love a pillowy homemade whipped cream, but the brightness from the lemon takes it to a new level.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, we have our homemade blackberry sauce that you can make with a saucepan in under ten minutes. We’re going to layer each component multiple times so you have a show-stopping cake slice like the ones pictured here that will have everyone thinking you spent hours in the kitchen. Below is a quick shot I took to show you how I layered the graham crackers; it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t wait for you all to try this one! I’ll be busy over here dreaming up other icebox cake variations to make in the near future.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake
 
Yield: 10 servings
Ingredients
for the blackberry sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
for the cake
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 6 full-sheet graham crackers, a little less than 1 standard sleeve
  • Lemon zest and blackberries for garnish, optional
Directions
for the blackberry sauce
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, lemon juice and warm water until the cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the blackberries and sugar. Continue to stir until the blackberries have started releasing some of their juices, then add the cornstarch mixture. Stir for another 2-3 minutes while the blackberry sauce starts to thicken, mashing up some of the blackberries as you stir. Remove from the sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Set aside until it’s completely cool. Feel free to put it in the fridge if you want to speed up the cooling.
for the cake
  1. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, making sure there is overhang over the edges so you’ll be able to easily life out the cake. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment. Continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Soft peaks are when peaks are just starting to hold, but flop over quickly.
  3. Make an extremely thin layer using a couple tablespoons of the whipped cream you just made on the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. This is to help the bottom layer of graham crackers stick. I'm going to describe the layering order here, but there is a quick list in the recipe notes section for reference. First, use about 2 graham crackers to make a single layer (see reference photo in the post). Next, a layer of whipped cream using about ¾ cup of the whipped cream. Then, layer half of the blackberry sauce. After the blackberry sauce comes another whipped cream layer of about ¾ cup followed by another single graham cracker layer. Layer another ¾ cup of whipped cream followed by the remaining blackberry sauce. Then another ¾ cup of whipped cream, a single graham cracker layer, and finally the rest of the whipped cream. Done!
  4. Once you have all your layers, you can top with lemon zest and blackberries for garnish, if desired, then cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours. The icebox cake can be frozen 2-3 days before serving.
  5. When you’re ready to serve, let it soften in the fridge for 1 hour before serving or allow it to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Use the plastic wrap overhang on the sides to remove the cake from the pan and cut into slices. All leftovers (if you have any!) should be stored in the fridge.
Notes
Layer the following components in this order:
- Single graham cracker layer (about 2 crackers)
- Whipped cream layer using about ¾ cup of the whipped cream
- Blackberry sauce layer, using half of the blackberry sauce
- Whipped cream layer (3/4 cup)
- Single graham cracker layer (about 2 crackers)
- Whipped cream layer (3/4 cup)
- Blackberry sauce layer (remaining half of blackberry sauce)
- Whipped cream layer (3/4 cup)
- Single graham cracker layer (about 2 crackers)
- Whipped cream layer (the rest of the whipped cream)

Recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

I’m back with my annual 4th of July red, white and blue dessert! This year I decided to switch it up. As much as I love berries, they can get expensive, especially if you are cooking for a crowd. Also, berry desserts can sometimes be tricky to make ahead. Instead, I made a tie-dye white Texas sheet cake loaded with red, white and blue batter and tons of festive sprinkles.

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

I’m surprised I’ve kept it together this far into my post because I am SO EXCITED about this cake! I will try to explain to you how buttery and moist this vanilla cake is, but I know I won’t be able to do it justice. It tastes like funfetti box mix cakes, but with no box mix involved. Check out the photos and look at those big crumbs! Yum!

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

The vanilla icing slightly hardens on top and the thin layer of icing creates the perfect frosting to cake ratio since the cake is also very thin. The thin layer of icing is also good because it is definitely sweet. This cake is for all the butter and sugar lovers out there! Any baked good is dangerous around me, but this sheet cake was especially addictive.

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

This is the best type of cake to make for a crowd because the cake is the size of a standard jelly roll pan or half sheet pan. Matt and I ate some, then I gave away multiple slices each to six of my girl friends and I STILL had a whole bunch that I packaged for the freezer! If you do have leftovers it does freeze well, but if you bring this cake to a big party I promise you there will be nothing left!

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

The tie-dye batter was really easy and didn’t add much extra time. I divided the batter into three bowls and left one white while dying the other two red and blue. I then poured the white batter into the prepared sheet pan and smoothed it out. Then I drizzled the red batter followed by the blue batter and swirled it all around with a butter knife. Ta-da! Red, white and blue tie-dye cake batter!

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

The 4th of July sprinkles and mini flags definitely give it that extra patriotic look though – you can find those here and here. I cannot wait for you all to try baking this cake! Make sure to save me a slice ;-).

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake

4th of July Tie-Dye White Texas Sheet Cake
 
Yield: 16-20
Ingredients
for the cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup yogurt, see note
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Red and blue food coloring
for the frosting
  • 4½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
for the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a half sheet pan, 13” x 18”. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and baking soda. Add the beaten eggs, yogurt and vanilla then stir until just combined.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the 2 sticks of butter over medium heat. Add the buttermilk and salt. Bring to boil, removing from the heat as soon as it starts to boil. Let cool slightly then pour into the flour mixture. Stir until just combined and smooth.
  4. Pour ⅓ of the batter in a bowl, ⅓ of the batter in a second bowl and leave the remaining ⅓ in the original bowl. Use food coloring to dye the batter in one bowl red and the other bowl blue. Leave the third one as is. Pour the batter you didn’t dye into the prepared sheet pan. Smooth into an even layer. Pour the blue batter over the white batter. I zigzagged back and forth. Repeat with the red batter. Using a butter knife, lightly swirl the batters around. Don’t over-mix or they will be one color instead of tie-dye.
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, while the cake is cooling make the frosting (the frosting needs to be added when the cake is still a little warm).
for the frosting
  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl then mix in the salt.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add the milk and bring to a boil, removing from the heat as soon as it starts to boil. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the butter mixture into the bowl with the powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. Pour over the cake as soon as it has cooled for 20 minutes and spread in an even layer. Try to do this quickly as the frosting will start to set as soon as you start spreading it.
Notes
You can use any plain yogurt. Vanilla might also be okay, but I haven’t tried it with that. I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt. If you do not want to use yogurt you could also substitute sour cream.
To make your own buttermilk pour 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (I like to use lemon juice) in a liquid measuring cup then add enough milk to equal 1 cup. The fat percentage of the milk does not matter - I use nonfat milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before using in the recipe.
The fat percentage of the milk in the frosting does not matter. I used nonfat milk.

Recipe adapted from Genius Kitchen.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before you run away thinking I’m a crazy person for putting vegetables in my chocolate I have to tell you that you cannot actually taste the zucchini in this bread. As anyone who has tried zucchini bread before knows, even though there may be a ton of it in the bread all the zucchini does is make the loaf incredibly moist. So take that soft and sweet loaf, add in chocolate chips and cocoa powder, and the chocolate-addict in me is absolutely hooked.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

I was a little skeptical of this recipe when I first tried it, but all that went away when I tried my first slice. I found myself eating it for breakfast, snack, dessert – you name it – until the next thing I knew it was completely gone. Based on the ingredients and a note from the original recipe author I know this Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread will freeze well, but I have yet to have a loaf make it to that point. Although you could always make two loaves and freeze one to have on hand, which is an excellent idea.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

This recipe calls for instant coffee powder or espresso powder. As with my Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes, you cannot taste the coffee flavor; it just acts purely as an enhancer to the chocolate. You can certainly omit it, but I highly recommend to include it to help bring out that rich chocolate taste of the loaf.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt is the only coffee drinker in our house and he drinks espresso every morning. Since I don’t typically have instant coffee powder or espresso powder (which is not really for drinking, it’s a specialty ingredient used in baking) in the house, I found this awesome hack by Bright Eyed Baker to DIY my own espresso powder. Lay used espresso grounds on a baking sheet then bake on your oven’s lowest temperature for about 1 hour, or until they are toasted and crunchy. Then run through your coffee grinder to make a fine powder. Voila! Espresso powder and no wasted grounds!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

So espresso powder hacks aside, this Double Chocolate Zucchini bread is perfect for using up all those extra zucchinis everyone tends to have in the summer, but don’t wait until then to try it!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
 
Yield: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini, about 2 zucchinis, lightly patted dry
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon instant coffee powder, or ¼ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, instant coffee and ¾ cup of the chocolate chips. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, yogurt, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in the shredded zucchini. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Top with the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chips.
  4. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack. Once cooled, removed from the pan. Store in an airtight container for 5 days or even longer in the fridge. Bread also freezes well and can be thawed in the fridge.
Notes
You can be flexible about the yogurt in this recipe. If you would prefer full or low-fat yogurt instead of the nonfat feel free to substitute. You could also use regular non-Greek yogurt or vanilla yogurt instead of plain.

Recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Don’t worry, I promise this cake isn’t scandalous. Definitely delicious, but certainly not scandalous. It is called a naked cake because the sides aren’t frosted, but I will get to that in a bit. Last month we celebrated Matt’s 30th birthday!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

When Matt and I first started dating during our sophomore year of college we celebrated his 20th birthday – that’s a whole decade of birthdays! We had only been dating for a few weeks, but I made him these very literal cupcakes.

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I’ve clearly come a long way- ha! I’ve made Matt many birthday desserts over the years, but I wanted this one to be extra special.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I decided to turn one of Matt’s favorite desserts, this Summer Berry Trifle, into a layer cake. The cake layers are angel food cake that have been brushed with a simple lemon syrup to keep them extra moist and bursting with light lemon flavor. The creamy filling and topping is a sturdy whipped cream. Basically, the base of a cream cheese frosting folded in with lots and lots of Cool Whip to make it light and fluffy. Piled in the middle and on top are sweet fresh berries. I used a combination of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Altogether, they make a fresh and light cake – perfect for eating a big slice.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

When you get a big bite of the syrup-brushed cake with the cream filling and the berries it is completely magical.

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now, to the scandalous aspect of the cake. A naked cake simply means that there is little or no icing on the sides of the cake, letting the layers bare all. The layers of whipped filling in the middle and on the top of the cake are thick enough that you really don’t need the additional filling on the sides of the cake. Leaving the cake naked lets the beautiful berries in the middle of the cake peek out. It also saves you time from having to try to make the sides look perfect and smooth – a win-win!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I think a cake this delicious is great any time of the year, but it is especially fitting for a summer gathering with berry season soon approaching. Enjoy!

Triple Berry Naked Angel Food Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Triple Berry Angel Food Cake Trifle
 
Yield: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box angel food cake mix, batter prepared according to directions on box
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon or almond extract
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces reduced fat Cool Whip
  • 8 ounces strawberries, washed
  • 1 cup blackberries, washed
  • 1 cup raspberries, washed
  • More berries for topping, if needed
Directions
  1. To make two round cakes, I lined two 9” round pans with parchment paper. I divided the batter between the two prepared pans, making sure not to fill them more than ¾ full. You will most likely have some excess batter. I weighed them with my kitchen scale to make sure they would be even layers. Bake at the temperature specified by the box for 20-30 minutes. The cake is done when the top is dark golden brown and the top cracks are dry not sticky. When it’s done baking, tilt the pan on its side. I leaned mine up, cake facing down, against a raised cooling rack. Once it’s completely cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan then carefully remove.
  2. Over medium-high heat in a small saucepan heat ¼ cup of the sugar and ¼ cup of the lemon juice. Stir frequently while heating until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon extract. Set aside.
  3. Beat the remaining ½ cup of sugar and the cream cheese on medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Fold in the Cool Whip until smooth. Stir in the tablespoon of lemon juice. Take one of the cooled angel food cake rounds and brush the top with the lemon syrup. Spoon a bunch of the whipped filling onto the cake and smooth with a spatula. Put half of the berries in a single layer on top of the filling. I left the blackberries and raspberries whole, but I halved and quartered the strawberries depending on how big they were. Dollop some more of the whipped filling on top of the berries then carefully smooth it out over the berries with a spatula. Top with the second angel food cake layer. Brush the top with the lemon syrup. Spread a thick layer of the whipped filling on top and smooth with a spatula. Top with the remaining berries. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from the July/August 2010 issue of The Food Network Magazine.

Babu’s Coffee Cake

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

It is hard to believe that I am writing this post and it is even harder to write it. One month has passed since my family and I lost my grandma, Babu. For those of you who don’t know me personally or haven’t read my Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Mother’s Day post, Babu and I were incredibly close. These past few weeks without my best friend have felt surreal. As most people who have dealt with loss have experienced, the ache does not get smaller, you just get better at handling it.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha
Babu loved hearing about my cooking and the food blog. She would always ask me what I was making for dinner and would listen to me read her my latest posts over the phone. Several times I had prints made of the food photos I knew Babu would like and mailed them to her. Babu would share them with her friends in her building and report back to me with which ones everyone wanted to try the most. Not only did Babu encourage me to follow my food passions, but she also helped foster those passions by baking with me and of course our many, many lunch dates.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha
In my family it is hard to mention coffee cake and not think about Babu. When she lived with us she always made sure there were slices in the freezer. She would make a coffee cake, always waiting to let me help glaze it, then cut it into big slices, wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. I would come home from school, microwave a slice for 30 seconds and it would taste like it just came out of the oven. There would be one slice left and the next day the freezer would be stocked back up with a fresh cake.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

After Babu moved back down to Delaware I came to look forward to having some every time I went to visit, especially when we would do our annual beach trip. Since I always knew I would have some on these trips, I never made this cake on my own. When I was thinking of what I could make that would help celebrate Babu on Lemon & Mocha, once beach week started approaching I knew it had to be her coffee cake.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

It was difficult knowing I couldn’t ask Babu any questions before I started baking or knowing that this would be my first beach trip without her, but I know she was there with me the whole time- cheering with me when the cake came out of the Bundt pan perfectly and laughing with me when I totally left too much batter for the final layer. I hope that this simple cake can bring you as much joy as it has brought me over the years and that you can share it with someone special, too.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Babu's Coffee Cake
 
Yield: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
for the cake
  • 1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.4 ounce size)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
for the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
for the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water and vanilla extract with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon.
  4. Evenly pour ⅓ of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Use a spatula to even the layer. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the batter. Repeat with ⅓ of the batter and the remaining cinnamon sugar. Top with the last ⅓ of batter.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Apply the glaze while still warm, but not hot.
for the glaze
  1. Combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Spoon or pastry brush the glaze over the warm cake.