Tag Archives: cake

Honey Holiday Parsnip Loaf ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Nov

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I made a Honey Holiday Parsnip Loaf for this month’s Recipe ReDux theme of Creative Quick Breads:

The holiday baking season is upon us. And this month we’re going way beyond grandma’s banana bread. From sweet to savory and whole-grain to gluten-free, show us your new quick bread creation fresh from the oven.

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This recipe uses a mix of oat, whole wheat and almond flours so we can all feel good about getting our whole grains and fiber. Continue reading

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Scenes from a Bachelorette Cake: Joy the Baker’s Basic 3-Layer Yellow Cake with Classic Buttercream Frosting

10 Jul

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My friend Michelle is getting married this fall. A few weeks ago, we celebrated with a weekend full of bachelorette and wedding shower festivities.

I took on the challenge of making a cake for the bachelorette party. Naturally, I turned to my trusted source for cakes, Joy the Baker and her latest cookbook, Homemade Decadence. Below is a series of pictures of the cake making process.

But first,  a snapshot of myself and the bride-to-be.

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Not-for-the-Faint-of-Heart Molasses Bundt ~*Recipe Redux*~

22 Dec

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I recently became a member of a community of health and dietitian bloggers called The Recipe Redux. The Recipe Redux was founded by registered dietitians Regan Jones (of ReganMillerJones, Inc.), Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly (both of Teaspoon Communications). The Latin “redux” means to revisit or reinvent, and the aim of The Recipe Redux is to reinvent the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach.

On the 21st and 22nd of each month, members of this community receive a unique recipe challenge. This month’s challenge: Grab a Book & Cook. ReDux has been around for 42 months! To celebrate, the “reduxers” are playing a little party game this month: Grab a cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 42 or 142. Continue reading

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

12 Jun

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I moved from Northern California to New York City three years ago. Determined to find a full-time job in a restaurant kitchen, I spent my first few weeks “trailing” (a fancy term for trying out) at a handful of restaurants, mostly in pastry.

Typically at a trail, I got a quick tour of the restaurant, I was assigned some kitchen prep tasks, and eventually if all went well, I was allowed on the line during service to observe and help out with some small finishing touches on the dishes.

At one of the restaurants, my task was to peel rhubarb stalks. The peels were eventually going to get candied.

Rhubarb tends to have this “skin” that can be delicately peeled off into hot pink (and sometimes light green) strands. This is not an easy task when you have an entire box of rhubarb to peel and you haven’t eaten or peed for six hours and your hands are trembling with nerves (trembling because earlier that day I incorrectly measured out the dry ingredients for a giant batch of cookies). Nonetheless, I put on a smile, bit my lip, and persevered. Trying out for a new job, after all, is not an easy task.

*Side note, I met my friend Elizabeth at that trail. She was working the line and I was allowed to observe her. I was fresh in New York, and she was the coolest, funniest, nicest person I had met since moving (and still is!), and I knew I had to keep her close. Plus, she had experience in the kitchen and could offer me advice. I never ended up working at that restaurant and she left shortly thereafter, but Elizabeth and I became fast friends.  

My back-of-the-house restaurant life has been on hiatus for the last two years as I finish up graduate school and try to become a registered dietitian.

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While I feel somewhat nostalgic for candied rhubarb tendrils, in the comfort of my own home (if you call comfort a shared apartment with three dudes), I tend to crave a more rustic dessert.

Rhubarb pudding cake fits the bill. It’s a rhubarb compote plopped on top of cake batter and baked. The rhubarb gets chopped and simmered into a compote until just soft. Fast, easy, and absolutely delicious. I did pull out my KitchenAid mixer for the cake batter, but at least I didn’t have to deal with cleaning a giant hobart mixer.

The “pudding” in the cake is created by pouring a hot, vanilla-infused rhubarb compote over a thick sour-cream (or yogurt) batter.

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To memorable restaurant experiences, to good friends, and to pink vegetables that taste like fruit. Bon Appétit!

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

adapted from Vintage Cakes

makes 8-10 servings

1 pound rhubarb, trimmed of leaves and ends, diced (~4 cups)

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise)

1/2 cup water

1 2/3 cup (8 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine Kosher salt

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (9 ounces) sour cream or plain yogurt, room temperature [I used a 6-oz container of low-fat Greek yogurt mixed with some milk to equal a cup]

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch round or square cake pan or a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter. (I lined mine with parchment paper, too).

Make a compote by tossing together the rhubarb and 1 cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan with a lid. Add the vanilla and water, cover, and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft but has not completely broken down, stirring occasionally. Take the compote off the heat but keep it covered so it says warm while you make the cake.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, then whisk the ingredients by hand to ensure they are well mixed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the eggs one at a time, adding the second egg as soon as the first one has disappeared into the batter, followed by the vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream in two parts, so that you begin and end with the flour mixture.

Spread the batter into the prepared dish or pan and distribute the compote over the top. The compote will be quite runny, but don’t fear: all will be well once the cake has baked. Place the cake in the center of the oven and bake until the edges are firm and the center no longer jiggles, 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool for about 30 minutes, then invert it onto a serving plate and cut into slices, or spoon it right out of the pan.

This cake is best the day it is made, but well-wrapped it can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. 

Vegan Chocolate Loaf with yogurt, warmed cherries, and chocolate balsamic

6 May

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Because it’s Tuesday.

Because I’m in the thick of finals (last semester of grad school!).

Because I like to eat “healthified cake” for breakfast. 

Because sometimes, I like to plate my food up fancy. 

I ate a slice of this chocolate loaf for breakfast today. No shame. Vegan chocolate loaf cake with some plain, low fat yogurt, frozen cherries that were warmed in the microwave and poured on top, the juices seeping into the cake, and a final glug of chocolate balsamic vinegar that I re-discovered I had in the cabinet. This could easily be dessert.

Healthy decadence is my jam.

Nicole from CucinaNicolina and I are on the same page in terms of our mindset that life is too short not to have a slice of something sweet, especially when that sweet something is homemade, with a little bit of health mixed in. Throwing in some whole wheat flour and a sprinkling of ground flaxseeds helps make cake an acceptable breakfast in my opinion. Oh, and there’s a cup of coffee in hiding in the loaf, too. I always have a little extra from my morning French press, so this was a great excuse to use it up.

This weekend, I tasted the Brooklyn based White Moustache yogurt in sour cherry flavor. The yogurt company is a father-daughter business, and the yogurt is made from Hudson Valley Fresh whole milk and live probiotic cultures. While the price is steep, this yogurt was a real treat, and was worth every penny. Plus, you get to keep the container to re-use.

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This sour cherry combo got me craving cherries. Since cherry season is not quite here, I found some frozen cherries and just heated them up and poured them over this vegan chocolate loaf. Cherries, chocolate, and creamy yogurt were meant to be together!

Since I gobbled down my jar of White Moustache yogurt, I served the cake with my other favorite brand, Wallaby Organic Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt. If you want to keep everything vegan, just omit the yogurt or make some sort of coconut based cream.

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Vegan Chocolate Loaf

adapted from Cucina Nicolina

makes 1 loaf or ~8 servings

Nicole says, “As always, replace the whole wheat pastry flour and/or spelt flour with all purpose if that’s all you have. A non-dairy milk or plain water can be swapped for the coffee, but I love the coffee note in there and would be loathe to miss it.” I used whole wheat and all purpose flour to keep things simple, and yes, I LOVED the coffee note.

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used slightly less)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup room temperature coffee

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a standard sized loaf pan with oil or butter (omit butter if keeping this vegan) and lightly dust with flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, flaxseeds, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee, olive oil, and vanilla.

Dump the wet ingredients all at once into the dry and whisk until just combined. The batter will be more firm than wet.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt, some warmed cherries, and a glug of chocolate balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic vinegar would work, too). 

Easy Chocolate “Wartime” Cake

4 Mar

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Raise your hand if you don’t like mayo?! There’s always someone who has a weird, jiggly story to kill the mayo buzz. When you think about it though, mayo is just egg yolk, oil and vinegar. No bigs.

Over the years, I have learned to get along with mayo (especially when you add garlic and call it aioli). If you are still not ready to commit to slathering your sandwich with mayo, maybe a taste of this awesome chocolate cake will get you past your fear…

Mayonnaise is the secret weapon in this cake. It replaces the butter and all but one egg.

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This recipe hails from Cooks Illustrated’s The Science of Good Cooking cookbook. It is a “wartime” cake because ingredients like butter and fresh eggs were scarce during World War II, so cooks came up with cakes that worked without them–often using mayonnaise.

Ready for some science?! Mayonnaise contains lecithin, an emulsifier that helps keep the oil in the mayonnaise suspended in micro-droplets. These small droplets aid the oil’s ability to coat the flour’s protein particles, leading to a supremely tender cake. The test kitchen even tried replacing the mayonnaise with butter and an egg, and oil and an egg, but those cakes were less moist and the crumb less velvety than the mayo cake. The final recipe calls for an extra egg paired with the mayonnaise to give the cake an even richer flavor and springier texture. Now thats my kind of science.

Just a little more tasty science: To deepen the chocolate flavor of the cake, the recipe calls for “blooming” the cocoa powder and a touch of chocolate in hot coffee. Cocoa powder contains solid particles of fat and protein with tiny flavor molecules (!) trapped inside. Dissolving the cocoa in hot water causes these flavor molecules, which would otherwise remain imprisoned, to burst forth, amplifying overall flavor. The roasted notes of the coffee reinforce the nutty, roasted notes in the chocolate.

Are you on board yet?

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If you get bogged down with the science, just remember that this is an “Easy Chocolate Cake.” It’s one of those dump-and-stir cakes: mix the dry, mix the wet, dump and stir.

Whether it’s the mayo, the coffee, the cocoa or the science, this is the darn best chocolate cake I have had in a long time, if ever. There’s a magical top layer that forms after baking that I just wanted to cut off and call my own.

If you have any birthdays, occasions, celebrations or cravings, this is the cake you should make. And by gosh, get over your fear of mayo!

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Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar, dollop it with whipped cream, or drizzle it with yogurt (Greek vanilla works nicely!). My new favorite crunch-tastic topping? Rainbow sprinkles!

Easy Chocolate Cake

from The Science of Good Cooking cookbook

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1 cup brewed coffee, hot

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 large egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

confectioners’ sugar or whipped cream or yogurt (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 350. Grease 8-inch square baking pan, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, and flour pan.

2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine cocoa and chocolate. Pour hot coffee over cocoa mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Gently whisk mixture until smooth, let cool slightly, then whisk in mayonnaise, egg, and vanilla. Stir mayonnaise mixture into flour mixture until combined.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Bake cake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.

4. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve either straight from the pan or out of a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, dollop with whipped cream or yogurt, or enjoy as is.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

19 Jan

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My gnarly sick-brain is telling me that cake for breakfast is okay, especially if I throw in some orange segments and raw almonds.

The cake has white flour and sugar, it has chocolate chips, it has butter (a pretty small amount of butter, actually, compared to other cake recipes). But there are oats for good measure, and I mashed up a random half banana that was sitting on my counter and added it into the batter. Note the almonds and orange segments, please!

Oranges add so much color to the plate! These were navel oranges, but I have been plowing through the beautiful pink cara caras and the deep purple blood oranges, too. It’s so unfair that I’ve been eating orange segments up the wazoo all week and I’m still a snotty congested mess! For some reason, though, I can still smell and taste things, so I am spending my quarantined time at home playing in the kitchen.

My favorite step of this cake recipe, as Tracy Shutterbean also notes in her blog post, is pouring boiling water over the oats and butter (I added in a little mashed banana, too) to melt the better and partially cook the oats. So clever! I like the idea of cooking the oats slightly so that they are not totally dormant. I also like that the chocolate chips get splashed with a teeny tiny bit of bourbon (you could always use water or juice) and coated in a little flour to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan during baking.

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As I was gathering my ingredients for the recipe, I realized that I should probably go through my pantry staples for baking. I couldn’t remember how old my baking soda was, probably at least two or three years old. My brown sugar was hard as a rock, and I had to sprinkle some water over it and whack it to un-clump. I should probably store my baking soda in the fridge, and empty brown sugar into an air-tight container instead of it’s original bag. This was all a big reminder to clean out and re-stock the pantry.

Even though I may have used some old ingredients, the cake still came out tasting great! Phew.

I almost omitted the frosting because I rarely have cream cheese laying around and I thought I could be “healthy” by just slathering it in nut butter. But who am I kidding?! Cream cheese frosting is delicious; it’s just a thin layer, and it really finishes the cake nicely. Do it.

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The measurements for some of the ingredients may seem nit-picky because I halved the original recipe. The original recipe calls for a 9″x13″ baking pan, and I just wanted to make enough cake for an 8″x8″ pan. Mostly because I only had one egg left and was too lazy to run to the store to buy another carton.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Shutterbean; originally from Baked

serves 6-8

  • 4 oz. or 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon bourbon
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 oz. or 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed-at room temperature
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

for the frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter the sides and bottom of an 8″x 8″ baking pan.

Toss chocolate chips with bourbon in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the chips and toss until coated. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water to boiling. Place the oats, mashed 1/2 banana, and butter in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over oat mixture. Wait 30 seconds, then stir to moisten oats and and banana, and to melt the butter. Set aside for 25-30 minutes.

Whisk egg, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold in oatmeal, stirring until well combined. Fold in remaining flour, and then stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.

To make the frosting:

Beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until combined. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until smooth (about 1 minute). If the frosting gets too soft, you may need to cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over cake. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.

Store covered cake in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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