Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake

I was first introduced to Wholesome Sweeteners at the BlogHer Food Conference last summer here in Austin.  I loved all of the products we received, but my favorite was the Cinnamon Agave Syrup.  I use it in coffee and tea, and I have been wanting to use it in recipes in place of sugar.  When they reached out to me for a blogger partnership, I was very excited.  They were kind enough to send me two bottles of the Cinnamon Agave, and I used it in the Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake below.

As many of you know, I’m not a baker.  I just don’t seem to have a knack for it.  But a while back, my cousin made the best lemon-lavender sugar cookies and I’ve been in love with that flavor combination since.  I figured a pound cake was something I could do without too much trouble, and this came out wonderfully.

Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake | Sarafina's Kitchen

recipe inspired by BakeYourDay.net

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup  Wholesome Sweeteners Cinnamon Agave Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. dried lavender
  • Lavender Glaze (see below)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one 9×5 (or two 5.75×3 mini) loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until fully incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt, to the creamed butter and sugar and mix just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat on low just until blended. Gently stir in the lavender.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the loaf pans for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Lavender Glaze

  • 1-1/2 cups  powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp.  milk
  • 1 Tbs. dried lavender
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

Mix the sugar and milk.  Stir in the lavender and lemon zest.  Drizzle over the cake.

Biscoff Cheesecake

A few weeks ago, the folks over at Biscoff were kind enough to send me a free package of their amazing cookies.  I, in turn, created a cheesecake from the cookies.

As you know, I have a list of ten things I want to learn to cook before I’m forty, and cheesecake was on of the things on the list.

So, when  Biscoff emailed me offering a package of cookies, the cheesecake immediately came to mind.  These cookies give the crust a little something more than graham crackers do…and it makes me want to experiment more with different crusts.

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes



  • 20 Biscoff cookies
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 Tbsp (70 g) unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit the pinch of salt), melted


  • 2 pounds cream cheese (900 g), room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar (270 g)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (160 ml)
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (160 ml)

Special equipment needed

  • 9-inch, 2 3/4-inch high spring-form pan
  • Heavy-duty, 18-inch wide aluminum foil
  • A large, high-sided roasting pan
  1. Prepare the pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking. Place a large square of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this carefully so that no holes are created in the foil. If there are holes, water will get into the pan and ruin the crust. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second square of foil underneath the pan, and again, fold up the sides of the foil around the pan and press the foil against the pan. Gently crimp the foil around the top edge of the pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°, with rack in lower third of oven. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Put in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Use your hands to stir in the melted butter.
  3. Put all but 1/4 cup of the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the spring-form pan. (Save the rest in case you have any holes that need to be filled in.) Gently press down on the crumbs until they are an even layer at the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool and reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
  4. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes until smooth. Add the sugar, and mix for 4 minutes more. Add the salt and vanilla, mixing after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the sour cream and heavy cream, until incorporated.
  5. Place the cake pan in a large, high-sided pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water. Pour the cream cheese filling into the cake pan, over the crust. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place the large pan with the cake pan in it on the lower rack. Carefully pour the hot water into the large pan to create a water bath for the cheesecake. Fill it until the water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan, about 1 1/4 inches. Cook at 325°F for 1 ½ hours.
  6. Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the oven door 1-inch, and let the cake cool in the oven for another hour.
  7. Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn’t actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator for a  minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.


Pretzel Turtles

recipe from The Pioneer Woman


  • 24 whole Mini-pretzel Twists
  • 24 whole Individually Wrapped Caramel Squares, Unwrapped
  • 8 ounces, weight Good Quality Milk Chocolate, Melted
  • 24 whole Pecan Halves
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Place the pecan halves in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through, until they’re lightly toasted. Remove them after they’re toasted and put them on a plate to cool.
  3. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the pretzels neatly on the pan, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped caramel. Place the pan into the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the caramels are softened (but definitely not melting.) Remove the pan from the oven.
  4. Gently press a pecan half onto each caramel, just enough for the caramel to fill the pretzel. Set them aside to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. When the pretzel/caramels are cooled, remove them from the baking sheet. Spoon small dollops (1 1/2 teaspoon helpings) of chocolate all over the baking mat, then lightly drop each pretzel onto the middle of each dollop, making sure they’re centered.
  6. Allow them to cool completely before serving (you can hasten this along in the fridge.)
  7. Variation: Spoon a little melted chocolate all over the tops of the turtles to cover the whole thing in chocolate.

5 Minute Jello Cake




Kahlua Pecan Pie

This a family favorite.  You’ll never want regular pecan pie again.

(And please, it’s “puh-con”, not “pee-can”.)



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup pecan halves or pieces
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, unbaked
  • whipped cream, (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and flour. Mix well. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in Kahlua, corn syrup, evaporated milk and pecans. Mix well and pour into crust.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake until firm, about 40 minutes. Refrigerate. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Hummingbird Cake

My mother-in-law made this for Easter and it was fabulous.  It’s a beautiful cake and quite tasty.


from MyRecipes.com

©sarafinaskitchen.com, 2012

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped bananas
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
  2. Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.

Mango Soufflé

This is from one of my co-workers.  She always makes amazing dishes.  This is one you should keep handy for a summer dessert…or make it for Easter!
  • 1 cup mango pulp
  • 3 oz cream cheese(softened)
  • 1 cup cool whip
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 sachet of unflavored gelatin dissolved in 3/4 cup of boiling water.


Mix all the above ingredients and refrigerate.
You can add this to a pie crust as well.

Crispix Mix

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar (1 c for Cheerios)
  • 1/3 c white syrup
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 12 oz box Crispix cereal (or Cheerios)
  1. Combine the first three ingredients together in a pan, stirring until it boils.
  2. Add 1/2 t baking soda to mixture, stir, and remove from heat.
  3. Immediately pour over cereal in a large bowl.  Stir to coat cereal.
  4. Microwave 5 minutes, stirring every minute.
  5. Cool, eat, and enjoy!

Banana-Blueberry Dream Pie

Recipe #5 for Forster-Bazzano Week, and by far, my favorite.  This was also my Grandma’s recipe, and it’s my mom’s favorite pie.  Grandma (her mother-in-law) made it for her every year for her birthday.

  • 1 container Cool Whip (4.5 oz)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pkg cream cheese (8 oz package) @ room temperature
  • 3 bananas, medium
  • 1/2 can blueberry pie filling (1 lb can)
  • 1 baked pie shell

Mix together in a bowl whipped topping, cream cheese and sugar.  Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.  Next, slice 1 1/2 bananas and arrange in the bottom of the pie shell.  Spread half of the blueberry pie filling over sliced bananas, then spread half of the whipped topping over the filling.  Repeat the layers again, ending with the whipped topping.  Chill for about one hour before cutting.

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