Lemon, Poppy Seed and Blueberry Streusel Pound Cake

Okay, so the honest truth is that I had to make this cake a total of four times. Yes, you read that right. Four times before I got it right. I was ready to scream, pull out my hair, denounce pound cakes for life and give up on everything because a little ol’ pound cake was defeating me. This is why I never make pound cake by the way, because I feel like they’re always so difficult, for some unknown reason. It’s not like they require a lot of ingredients or attention for that matter. In theory, they’re kind of simple to make. Yet it’s my baking kryptonite. For those of you that think I never mess up in the kitchen, think again. Even I, with all of the baking experience I have, still make mistakes from time to time. It’s totally normal. In fact I’d be worried if I didn’t mess up because those little hiccups humble me and make me a better cook/baker. So don’t be hard on yourself if things don’t always come out right the first time. Just keep trying.  

The very first attempt of this cake, I forgot to toss the blueberries in flour so they all sank to the bottom of the loaf pan, causing a not-so-pretty wet mess at the bottom, forcing me to lose half of the cake to moisture. No good. I clapped my forehead and called myself a dummy for forgetting such a crucial step. Sure I was disappointed, but I started all over again without thinking twice about it. So off Julian went to the grocery store for me and got more blueberries and cream cheese and almonds so that I could go in for round two. I made the cake again, this time a bit faster since I didn’t have to photograph it step by step. I was thankful for that. The second time was also a failure. When I removed my precious pound cake from the oven, the center had completely caved in. I started laughing (masking the irritation) because I haven’t had a cake cave on me in many years since I started baking. I don’t know what happened, maybe I opened the door too soon or maybe there was a movement or loud bang by the oven at some point and it scared my cake into ruin? Who knows. Anyhow, I was ready to give up at this point but Julian (and my mother, through various frustrated phone calls all made by me to her) kept telling me to try again. Believe me I didn’t want to. So there I went off again to the grocery store to buy yet another box of blueberries and cream cheese and almonds and butter this time around and I got home and did it once again. Mind you it’s like 11:30 at night at this point and I’ve made this cake for a total of three times now. 

This time around I felt really confident. I told myself this was it, this time it would work. So I made it all again (with my eyes closed practically), poured the batter into the pan, topped it with the streusel and popped it into the oven. I even kiss the pan and said a little prayer before closing the oven door. I crossed my fingers and continued with some other work. I made sure to not make any sudden movements by the oven door, tip-toeing when I needed to, nor did I open it prematurely. This time around, I waited until the time was up. I open the oven door and all I saw was horror. Complete and utter horror. Low and behold, it was the biggest disaster of my entire career. Not only did the cake batter bubble over out of the pan and onto the baking sheet, but it also caved in (big time) and the blueberries sank once again. The trifecta of cake mishaps. I threw the cake away, with the pan, slammed everything shut and went to bed. I lost hope. I started looking at other jobs, getting ready to stop blogging and photographing and baking and cooking altogether—I exaggerate for the effect. Before bed Julian (and through one last phone call with my mother) convince me to not give up and just try again. Take it slower and do it carefully, they said.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I already shared some photos of the process and got you all excited about this cake on instagram, I would’ve just scratched the entire idea and done something else. I realized though, that I couldn’t just leave you guys hanging. I promised you a blueberry pound cake and by George I was going to deliver one. So I woke up super early the next morning, took one last trip to the grocery store for some more blueberries—which I single handedly have kept the blueberry growers rich—and more cream cheese and almonds and a lemon. I get home and start for the fourth time. Although this time around I changed the recipe a bit by removing an egg, adding more butter, losing the baking powder and baking soda and calling it good, making sure to toss those blueberries in flour. I poured it into the pan, topped it with streusel and put it in the oven without much hope. One hour and a half later I had the most perfect pound cake I have ever made/seen. I let it cool (in a kitchen cabinet above the sink because Napoleon has gotten into the bad habit of trying to eat anything in sight) and did the biggest celebratory dance ever known to mankind. That is the story of my adventure of making four pound cakes in less than 24 hours. I have to say though, it all paid off. This cake is pretty epic. 

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Steak and Avocado Breakfast Burritos

I’m going to be completely and totally honest with you and confess, right here right now, that I’m not really much of a breakfast eater. Don’t get me wrong, I happen to love breakfast…for dinner or lunch or even brunch. I love a good brunch. It’s one of my favorite weekend meals—that is when I’m not having a love affair with lunch or dinner. I especially love the brunches that involve mimosas or Bloody Marys. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good morning cocktail, but we’re not talking about that right now. There’s always something that comes up and prevents me from eating in the morning. I know a lot of people who wake up super hungry, and the first thing they think about as soon as they open their eyes is what they’re going to eat for breakfast. I wish I could be like that, unfortunately most of the time I’m running around with so much to do that eating doesn’t even cross my mind, which is totally weird since my job is centered around food. You’d think I’d be eating all of the time! 

My mom doesn’t believe me when I tell her that sometimes I completely forget to eat breakfast. It just slips my mind, cross my heart and kiss my elbow. One minute I’ve just woken up, crossing off tasks from my to-do list left and right like a boss, and all of a sudden the next minute, it’s dinner time which also happens to be my first meal of the day. That’s awful kids, don’t do that. Although, as long as I’m being honest, I feel like even if I did remember to eat in the morning, I wouldn’t be able to have a heavy meal before work. I would get so sleepy if I did, and then I’d somehow find myself back in bed for a quick catnap and I wouldn’t get anywhere and my entire day would be shot. So really, when you think about it, it’s a good thing I don’t eat breakfast most weekdays. On the rare occasion that I do, I’ll have a granola bar or a handful of almonds or a bowl of cereal or a pb&J and call it good. I know that’s not much of a breakfast but I’m sure it’s better than nothing at all, right? Just lie to me and make me feel better about my life choices. 

Hey! It’s a new year so we should definitely be taking better care of ourselves. I’m saying this more for me than I am for you, but if you’re the same as I am and don’t make time for the most important meal of the day, then this goes for you as well. We’re all about making resolutions this time of year and in 2015 I’ve decided to make more of a conscious effort to slow down in the mornings and make a better attempt to eat more breakfasts. To eat all of the breakfasts. I’ll still enjoy my pancakes and hash browns for dinner every now and then, because that’s when they taste the best for some reason, but I’ll also start to incorporate them more in the morning, when they’re supposed to be eaten. One way to ensure I start eating before work is with a breakfast burrito. Nothing screams “GOOOOOOOD MORNING!!!!” more than a flour tortilla filled with potatoes, eggs, steak, avocado and cheese. Am I right ladies and gentlemen? I’m totally right. 

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Salted Caramel Apple and Pear Buckles

I needed a super fancy name for this post, hence the word “buckles.” Although in all reality, these are buckles. Buckles. Buckles. Buckles. I just really like saying “buckles” for some reason. Like that one very popular song I used to love as a kid. One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, close the door….wait, where was I? Oh that’s right, I was talking about how much I love these crumb cakes. That’s basically what buckles are, just really good coffee cake-like dessert. The perfect dessert or breakfast for autumn. Is it a problem that it’s been 80 plus degrees here in Los Angeles, and I’m baking for fall with the air conditioning running on full blast? I think it’s a problem. Clearly, Southern California didn’t get the whole changing of the season memo. Get it together LA! You’re way behind, it’s almost Thanksgiving. This is the part where you change the colors of your leaves and drop them to the ground. This is when you’re supposed to start pouring down on us all of this autumn rain. You’re doing it all wrong, California. You need to be more like the East Coast, or like Seattle. I’m all about Seattle weather. 

You know what I’m also all about? These salted caramel apple and pear buckles. AKA apple and pear spice cakes with a crumb topping. Even though it’s still hot as summer during the day in the West Coast, I still get a craving for a warm apple spice cake every November. I decided to take this recipe over the edge with a little (okay more than a little) salted caramel and of course let’s not forget about the cinnamon and oatmeal crumb topping. It’s like the world’s best coffee cake had a baby with the world’s best cobbler or fruit crisp. It’s like the universe is trying to tell me I should be spending my days eating all of the apple spice crumb cakes in the world.  Hey, what can I say? When the world talks to me, I listen. Especially when there’s cake involved. 

Speaking of cake, I’m having a really difficult time establishing if this cake is actually a breakfast or a dessert. Of course, if this is my mother or my doctor asking, I have most definitely decided that this is in fact not the perfect breakfast. Wink wink. Shhhh don’t tell anyone yet. This all stays between you and I.  Although I did actually make these with the idea on my mind that I need more breakfast recipes. So it can really go either way on this folks. I don’t care about what time during the day I eat it, just as long as I get to eat it. Am I right ladies and gentlemen? Of course I’m right. So now let’s go out and celebrate by making and eating these apple and pear buckles. It’s the only way to celebrate! 

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The Classics: Cinnamon Rolls

I want to start this off by thanking everyone who participated in the giveaway last week! The response was overwhelming and totally humbling. Thank you for taking time out of your day to leave a comment! What’s more, you guys didn’t just leave one worded messages, but instead gave me all of the details. I loved that! I enjoyed reading them all, because I definitely did take the time to read every single comment, from beginning to end. In fact, it was the highlight of my week, so thank you. It was also the highlight of my mom’s week, because she read them all too. I’d get a call from her every hour with, “Jon did you read that one comment?! Awwww, this one comment is great you should pick this one! These comments are so sweet! Jon can I pick the winner, huh huh huh can I? Can I?” It was a great experience over all, so thank you for making the first Candid Appetite giveaway such a success. You guys rock! There will definitely be more giveaways in the very near future, now that I know you guys like free stuff. I mean who doesn’t?!?! So in the end there could only be one winner (bummer I know), and my mamma ended up pulling out of a hat, Emily S. from Durham New Hampshire with her favorite dessert being the classic brownie! Let’s all give her a round of applause. Your book is on it’s way! 

Anyhow, enough about that. It’s time for another installment of my favorite new series called, The Classics. This time around it’s brought to you by the biggest cinnamon rolls you ever did see. They’re as big as my head and I can’t get enough of them. I’ve recently decided to declare today National Eat As Many Cinnamon Rolls As You Can Day, and I think we should ALL celebrate by eating as many cinnamon rolls as we can possibly fit into our faces. I know for sure I can eat six giant rolls without a problem. Don’t ask me how I know this….I may or may not have eaten all of these myself. And I regret nothing. 

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice before (maybe a million times) of how much I love cinnamon. It’s my favorite spice in the world, especially in the fall. There’s just something so great about it this time of year. Sure, it’s still a million degrees outside here in Los Angeles, and sure it still feels like a never ending summer, but in my mind it’s totally autumn and I’m spending my nights in front of a fire drinking lots of hot cocoa topped with a mountain of whipped cream and dusted with lots of cinnamon, eating a giant cinnamon roll. In my mind that’s how it’s happening. In real life, it’s so hot, I’m eating them in front of the air conditioning vent. Someone save me. 

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

I think I might’ve mentioned once or twice on here (more like a billions times, really) how much I happen to love doughnuts. Just in case you didn’t already know this about me, I love them more than life itself. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow. They’re my all-time favorite dessert/breakfast/treat/midnight snack/reason for living. I don’t really care much for chocolate or ice cream or cookies or cake—I’m totally lying because I still love them all just as much—but doughnuts? Doughnuts are an entirely different story. Doughnuts are my one true passion in life. Doughnuts are my body and soul. I can eat them like no one’s business. Night and day. Day and night. Prepare yourselves if doughnuts are anywhere present and I’m not offered one. I’ll go crazy. Probably flip a table over and destroy everything in sight, like Godzilla. That’s what doughnuts do to me. Just a warning though, if you do offer me one I’ll probably eat them all, without shame, and without so much as a second thought.

This year I’ve dropped the ball on the pumpkin recipe game. I’m sorry. It’s not as strong as it has been over the years. Do you remember this delicious Pumpkin Mac and Cheese? Yeah, it’s sort of out of this world. The perfect autumn dinner recipe to blow people’s minds. What about these ridiculously fluffy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies? Are you having withdrawals yet? Then you should probably make a batch soon. Eating just one isn’t an option. This year however, I kind of forgot how much I love this season and how obsessed I am with pumpkin. It dawned on me the other day that I hadn’t posted a new pumpkin recipe all year. We’re halfway through October already, and there was no pumpkin spice anything to be found. I needed to take care of that right away. 

These Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts sort of combine my three favorites; doughnuts, pumpkin and cinnamon. They’re so perfect I don’t know whether to eat them for breakfast before work, or as a snack in between meals, or even as a tasty dessert after dinner. It’s such a dilemma that the only logical solution I have is to eat them all day long. That way, I don’t have to fret too much about when is the right time to binge on doughnuts. The answer to which is, always. It’s always the right time to shove doughnuts in your face. I hope that’s the one valuable lesson you take away from me. Let’s get back to thinking up new ways to incorporate pumpkin into our lives. I’m not complaining. 

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Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake Waffles

There’s a fine line between breakfast and dessert, and I never know if I’ve crossed it or not. Muffins, scones, sweet biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and doughnuts, are they breakfast or dessert? I say breakfast, but only because I’ve been known to eat all of those first thing in the morning—and all at once, but that’s a whole other story. Maybe I’m just calling them breakfast so that I won’t feel so guilty eating them early on in the day. Doughnuts double as a dessert for me though, because I love them in the evening just as much as in the mornings. I love them during midday as well. I just love doughnuts in general, have I mentioned that before? This isn’t about doughnuts though. This post is about waffles. Focus Jon, focus. 

Pancakes, waffles and French toast, now those are for sure breakfast items, right? They’re always present at every breakfast I’ve ever been to. So I’m gonna go with, yes. Mentioning the three together of course brings up a very important question, Which do you prefer? Waffles, pancakes or French toast? I’m all about the pancakes…that is when I’m not scarfing down a stack of French Toast, then I’m all about the cinnamon and bread. But then there are the times when I’d kill for a waffle. A thick Belgian style waffle with a mountain of whipped cream (and if my doctor or mother are reading this, fresh fruit, of course). 

What happens though when said waffles are made to taste just like dark chocolate zucchini cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? That’s totally, hands down, without a doubt, 100% still considered breakfast, right? Of course it is. Phew, I’m glad we settled that. I wouldn’t of been able to enjoy the rest of my day without hearing the right answer. Let’s go have dark chocolate zucchini cake waffles for breakfast, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course. Breakfast, I love you. Really, I do. 

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