Dessert

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.

Beach Crab Cupcakes

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

This past week was my family’s beach week down at the Delaware shore. Every year my Dad’s side of the family gathers together at the beach for a week of lazy beach days, plenty of Leebreezes, and general family shenanigans. As usual, it went by too quickly and we’re already counting down until next summer’s beach week! Do vacations ever seem long enough?

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wanted to bring down a fun treat and when I saw these Beach Crab Cupcakes on Pinterest I knew I had to make them. How cute are these? I don’t normally have the patience for decorating, but these were actually very simple.

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

The hardest part was finding a gummy that would work for the eyes. I ended up using Sour Patch Cherry, which I didn’t even know was a thing. You stick a candy eye onto each Sour Patch Cherry, or whatever small round sour gummies you can find, for the crab’s eyeballs. The claws are made out of gummy peach rings that are cut in half. The crab’s body is made of gummy orange slices and finally the whole thing is propped up onto your cupcake and frosting of choice with some halved toothpicks. Don’t forget the graham cracker crumb “sand” on top!

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used my Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting for these since they were already screaming summer even before I topped them with these adorable crabs. These are great for kids and adults alike, especially the gummy candy eaters like Matt.

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I will definitely be making these again, although I already started brainstorming cute cupcake ideas for next beach week! Happy Friday, everyone!

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Beach Crab Cupcakes
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 24 cupcakes
  • Batch of frosting to frost 24 cupcakes
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 48 Sour Patch Cherries
  • 48 candy eyes
  • 60 toothpicks, cut in half
  • 24 gummy peach rings
  • 24 gummy orange slices
Directions
  1. Frost the cupcakes, reserving a small amount of the frosting for the eyes. Sprinkle the tops of the frosting cupcakes with graham cracker crumbs.
  2. To make the eyes, use a small amount of icing to attach one candy eye to each small round sour gummy. Insert 1 toothpick piece into each prepared eye.
  3. To make the claws, cut the gummy peach rings in half. Insert 1 toothpick piece into each crescent shaped gummy peach half.
  4. To put together the crab, insert a toothpick piece into the bottom of the flat part of the gummy orange slice. This will be how the crab gets set on top of the cupcake. Take the two prepared eye toothpicks and insert them both onto the top curved part of the gummy orange slice. Finally, insert one prepared claw onto each side of the crab. Insert the crab onto a frosted cupcake then repeat for the remaining cupcakes.

Inspiration from Clean and Scentsible.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting  |  Lemon & Mocha

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting! Yes! These cupcakes are pure bright, summery and creamy heaven. I love cupcakes, but ever since I started making filled cupcakes I am so spoiled by them. Filling cupcakes isn’t difficult, but it gives them that something extra special. First of all, with filled cupcakes you get that surprise factor when you bite into it. Secondly, it adds a third flavor and texture element to the cupcake making the depths of deliciousness that much deeper.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting  |  Lemon & Mocha

These Key Lime Pie Cupcakes are filled with Monday’s creamy key lime curd. I wanted a base cupcake that would pair well with the key lime curd so I went with a moist vanilla cupcake that has a hint of spiced cookie to it since some of the flour is replaced with graham cracker crumbs. I got the idea from June’s S’mores Muffins – remember those bad boys?! I love the taste the graham cracker crumbs provided to the muffin so I figured why not replicate it in these vanilla cupcakes.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting  |  Lemon & Mocha

I initially was planning on making a cream cheese frosting for these loaded cupcakes, but I had some mascarpone cheese in my fridge that was begging to be turned into frosting. Mascarpone is made using whole cream so it’s a lot creamier and richer than cream cheese. Cream cheese also has more acidity to it and we’re already getting enough acidity from the key lime curd filling that mascarpone seemed to be a better fit for the frosting.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite component of this recipe, but this mascarpone frosting? Insane. I can’t even describe to you how hard it was to save it for topping the cupcakes and not eat it all. There’s not even any butter in the frosting because the mascarpone is rich enough on its own to hold up to the sugar and vanilla. I don’t like overly sweet frostings; I would much prefer a whipped cream frosting over a buttercream frosting. The mascarpone frosting reminded me of a cross between a whipped cream frosting and a cream cheese frosting because it was rich and creamy without being too sweet.

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting  |  Lemon & Mocha

Having a mouthful of the light cupcake, the tangy key lime curd and the creamy mascarpone frosting was definitely on my top five bites of summer this year. Enjoy, friends!

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting  |  Lemon & Mocha

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
 
Yield: 14 cupcakes
Ingredients
for the cupcakes
  • ¾ cup cake flour (see note)
  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for topping
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest, about 3 key limes, plus more for topping if desired
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup key lime curd
for the frosting
  • 6 ounces mascarpone cheese, cold
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, chilled
Directions
for the cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners (this makes 14 cupcakes) and set aside.
  2. Sift together the cake flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the eggs for 20 seconds. Add the sugar then beat until combined on medium speed, about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla extract, vegetable oil and key lime zest then beat again until combined.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low then carefully add half of the flour mixture. Once just combined, add half of the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining flour then with the remaining buttermilk. Try not to over-mix the batter. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  5. Divide the batter between the prepared 14 cupcake liners. Bake for 12-14 minutes. The edges should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out with just a few crumbs on it. Let cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes then remove the cupcakes to let cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
  6. Once the cupcakes are cool, use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove the middle of the cupcake. Fill the cupcake with about 1 tablespoon of key lime curd - enough so it fills the cavity in the cupcake. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes.
for the frosting
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together the mascarpone and vanilla until incorporated. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Slowly add the heavy cream while still beating the mixture then increase the speed to medium. Continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Once the cupcakes have been filled with key lime curd, frost them with the mascarpone frosting then sprinkle with the graham cracker crumbs and additional key lime zest, if desired. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.
Notes
If you don’t have cake flour, follow this substitution to use all-purpose flour. Measure out ¾ cups all-purpose flour. Take out 1 tablespoon and 1½ teaspoons of the measured flour (you can put these back in your flour container, you won’t need them). Add 1 tablespoon and 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch to the flour and sift together before using in the recipe.
If you don’t have buttermilk, follow this substitution to use whatever percentage milk you have in your fridge. Put ½ tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (I prefer to use lemon juice when I’m baking) into a liquid measuring cup then fill with milk until you have ½ cup. Let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
These cupcakes should be stored in the fridge.

Cupcake base adapted from Glorious Treats.

How to Make Homemade Key Lime Curd

How to Make Homemade Key Lime Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

I had no idea that I had a deep love for citrus desserts until I met Matt. When we first started dating we decided to grab some desserts on campus and eat them on the quad. We went up to the Chocolate Bar, which, first, if you’ve been to Boston College recently it’s not like it used to be and second, it was as amazing as it sounds. I am a chocoholic so I would always get the Oreo frappe or the chocolate croissant. I picked out a chocolate dessert, probably a chocolate croissant, and Matt got a lemon tart. We went outside with a couple forks for our little dessert picnic and I could not believe how much I loved the lemon tart! As our relationship went on, the more citrus desserts Matt ordered, the more I would love them until next thing I knew I was full-on citrus dessert obsessed.

How to Make Homemade Key Lime Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

One of my favorite citrus treats to drizzle on waffles or stuff inside cupcakes is homemade lemon curd. I’ve been making it for a few years now and I figured it was time I branched out and tried the recipe with a different citrus flavor. Key limes have a bright punch to them that pairs well with subtle sweet flavors, like graham crackers or angel food cake.

How to Make Homemade Key Lime Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just like the lemon curd, this key lime curd is smooth and decadent. In addition to be slathered on cookies, spread over cheesecake or generally just eaten with a spoon, I think it tastes particularly delicious stirred into some plain Greek yogurt. Whatever you do with it, make sure you keep some for Wednesday’s post! I can’t wait to show you how I used up my batch of key lime curd.

How to Make Homemade Key Lime Curd  |  Lemon & Mocha

Key Lime Curd
 
Yield: 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • ½ cup key lime juice
  • Zest of 3 key limes
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the key lime juice, key lime zest, sugar and eggs. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the pieces of butter. Whisk the curd frequently until the curd is thick enough that it keeps the mark of the whisk when you touch it to the curd in the saucepan. It takes a bit of time for it to thicken, but just keep whisking!
  2. Strain the key lime curd through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl to get rid of any egg lumps. Cover the surface of the key lime curd with a piece of plastic wrap so that it’s completely touching the curd. Place in the fridge to cool. After cooled, if not using right away store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

 

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have a huge dessert obsession, except when it comes to fruit pies. I love key lime pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and definitely ice cream pie, but I’m fairly indifferent when it comes to fruit pies. Matt, on the other hand, has a huge fruit pie obsession, specifically cherry pie. Usually if there’s a fruit pie I might take a bite, but that will be the extent of it. However, a few years ago, Matt’s parents came to visit and brought a Raspberry Peach Pie from an orchard near their house. Raspberry is one of Matt’s favorite fruits, but it definitely isn’t mine. I figured I would try a bite and that would be the end of it. Instead, I couldn’t stop eating the Raspberry Peach Pie! The tartness of the raspberries mixed with the rich sweetness of the in-season peaches had me hooked.

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’ve been wanting to recreate that pie for years, but I haven’t been adventurous enough in the kitchen with pie making. I’ve also been all about simple recipes this summer so I brainstormed how I could still get that same mouthwatering combination in an easier manner than test-baking pies all summer. The answer was easy – Raspberry and Peach Turnovers! I love working with store-bought puff pastry because it’s ready to use as soon as you thaw it. If you’ve never bought puff pastry before you can find it in the freezer section of your grocery store, usually near the other frozen desserts and fruit.

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze  |  Lemon & Mocha

Peaches are in peak season right now and I’ve been getting some super sweet and juicy ones at the store. I tossed the fresh peaches with raspberries, cinnamon and a little brown sugar for some added sweetness. The fruit mixture gets stuffed in the puff pastry before being topped with an egg wash and baked until golden brown. The heat of the oven reduced the raspberries to an almost jam-like texture in the turnovers, which paired really well with the sweet peaches and cinnamon flavoring. Pie crust is good, but for me, puff pastry takes the cake pie. It’s light, flaky and definitely buttery.

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze  |  Lemon & Mocha

Since the Raspberry Peach Turnovers are so simple on their own I decided to give them a little something extra. You could top them with powdered sugar OR you could drizzle them with this easy fresh raspberry glaze. Look how pretty the glaze looks on the turnovers! The glaze also helps bring in some additional raspberry flavoring and sweetness. Don’t be shy with the glaze; after I took these photos I smothered the turnovers with all the rest of the glaze!

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze  |  Lemon & Mocha

One bite of these turnovers brought me right back to that raspberry peach pie, but I love how easy then puff pastry turnovers are. These are perfect to make for a brunch treat, a fruity dessert or simply because you have fresh raspberries and peaches to use. The bulk of the turnover is the fruit so make sure your fruit is ripe and bursting with fresh summer flavor!

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze  |  Lemon & Mocha

Raspberry Peach Turnovers with a Fresh Raspberry Glaze
 
Yield: 8 turnovers
Ingredients
for the pastries
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets - 17.3 ounce package), thawed according to manufacturer’s instructions (see note)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 cups diced ripe peaches, skin on
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
for the glaze
  • ⅔ cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Directions
for the pastries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the raspberries, diced peaches, cinnamon and brown sugar.
  3. Roll each sheet of puff pastry into a 12” square. Divide each 12” square into 4 squares.
  4. Scoop some raspberry and peach filling onto the center of each puff pastry square. I found about ⅓ cup was the perfect amount for not over-filling them. Fold one corner of the puff pastry square to the opposite corner to make a triangle. Press the edges together with your fingers and then press down with a fork to seal the turnover. Cut a couple slits in the top of the turnover so it doesn’t puff up too much while it is baking. Repeat for the remaining turnovers.
  5. Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water then brush over the tops of the turnovers. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Let cool before topping with the glaze.
for the glaze
  1. Combine the raspberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and mashing the raspberries frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Strain over a fine mesh colander into a bowl to remove the seeds then let cool. Once cool, whisk in the powdered sugar and milk. If your glaze is too thick, add some more milk. If your glaze is too thin, add some more powdered sugar. Drizzle over the cooled turnovers.
Notes
You want to try to touch and work with the puff pastry the least amount of time possible because touching it makes the pastry warm, which means less of a rise during the baking. I leave the second roll of puff pastry in the fridge until I’m done working with the first one.
The amount of brown sugar you want to use may depend on how sweet or tart your fruit is. I found 1½ tablespoons to be the perfect amount of sweetness for us when we used in-season raspberries and peaches.