Sunday, January 30, 2011

Spiced Apple Cake with Oat Streusel

There's one thing that cold snowy days possess me to do and that is to bake. I turn the fireplace on, brew some coffee and spend time with my cinnamon red KitchenAid, that my husband so lovingly asked me to by for myself. Seriously. He told me I needed to do that! I argued at first because, since having children, I have forgotten how to actually spend money on myself. But I quickly came to my senses, channelled my younger self, and took the plunge. It's my baking friend and makes me smile :) Oh yes, back to gifting you all with one of the best creations that has ever been spatulaed out of my friend!
This spiced apple cake was a sweet surprise to our snowy Friday afternoon. It's soft and spicy with chunks of apple througout. The oat streusel tops it will crunchy sweetness and leaves a smile on your face and a giggle in your belly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1 stick of softened butter
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened applesauce
2 cups of unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 apples diced (I left the skins on)

For the topping:
1 cup instant oats
1/2  cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of Olive Oil (or melted butter)

Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and applecause until very smooth. Add in (without stirring yet) the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. With the mixer on low, gently mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in apples. Use your hand to mix the streusal ingredients together. Top with the oat streusel. Bake in a 9x9 pan for 45 minutes and then cover with foil. Bake for another 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

*I covered my cake with foil because my topping was browning more than I wanted*

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dreamy Chocolate Lava Cake

Did I get your attention?
Warm Chocolate...
Now I know I have your attention!
You are 20 minutes away from bliss.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

1 stick of butter
4 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 TBSP unbleached flour

Whipped Cream:
Heavy whipping cream (yes you MUST make your own whipped cream!)
2 TBSP powdered sugar

Melt butter slowly in a pot. Add in cocoa and whisk until a beautiful dark syrup appears. Whisk in eggs, powdered sugar and flour. Pour into your desired greased baking vessel. I used silicon muffin pan and it worked just fine. Bake at 425 for 11-12 minutes. Do NOT go much longer or your gooey center will bake into cake. If the top is firm and cakey and the time is up then out they come.

Pour 2 cups heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle in powdered sugar. Beat on high until whipped yumminess. Top cake and devour... slowly.... with a big sigh.... after all the children are in bed! The only allowance for not making the whipped cream is if you happen to have some ice cream on hand.

Make Ahead Vegie Frittata Breakfast Sandwich

If you're like me and have little ones, then you're probably feeling the grief over breakfast as I do! Grief for myself, not my children who are provided with full bellies and onto their playing before I can even figure out what day of the week it is! I have the desire for breakfast to be that meal that starts my day and gives me the energy that I need to be the best mommy for them, but after feeding two, sometime frantically hungry mouths, I'm reaching for the coffee pot! Well, those were the days! I have found the secret to a quick and very healthy breakfast that I can feel very good about. The secret is this vegie fritata that is baked in a cake pan, cut into squares and re-heated as the english muffin toasts. It's life changing I tell ya! Life changing. Ok. I may be just a little more excited than the rest of you, but I was really baffled by breakfast!

1 container of liquid egg whites (or any egg white you may have on hand)
3 whole eggs (If you didn't want to use egg whites, you could use 6 or so eggs)
1/2 cup milk
Onion, Pepper, Tomato, spinach, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower (anything you have on hand)
1-2 tsp Salt
1/2-1 tsp Pepper (depending on your preferance)
Feta Cheese (really any choice of cheese and your desired amount)
100% whole wheat english muffins or thin bagel
Olive Oil

Oil a 9x13 pan. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper up until a very smooth combined consistency. Combine the vegies and toss with some additional salt and pepper. Vegies could be sauteed together if desired. Spread the vegies evenly in the pan and sprinkle with cheese. Pour egg mixture over the vegies. Making sure they are all covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the frittata is solid and not still eggy in the very middle. Cool then cut into 12 squares. Store in refigerator for up to a week. I use a toaster oven to re-heat.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Elderberry Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies were for a friends wedding and I was so excited to bake outside the chocolate chip box! A wonderfully light shortbread cookie  baked with jam in the center. Lightly dusted with powdered sugar to give them a whispy look.
A very simple but elegant cookie. Beautiful for a wedding. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup unbleached sugar
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups unbleached Flour
1/2 cup desired flavor of jam
2 TBSP powdered sugar

Mix together the butter, sugar and egg yolks. Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Using either your finger or a small circular utensil make an indent in the center of each cookie. Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of preserves. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

While cooking dust with powdered sugar.

Josh's Favorite Carrot Cake

Once upon a time there was a girl who prayed for a boy.....
My husband is a blessing to me and to anyone who spends time with him. He is kind, honest, upright, joyful and content. This is the cake I bake him to celebrate the joy he brings to life!
Carrot cake oozing cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger....
Celebrate someone special or just an ordinary day with this wonderful baked goodness!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Set out butter and cream cheese to soften for icing

3 eggs
2 cups unbleached sugar
1 1/3 cups light olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking soda
4-5 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 pound grated carrots

For the frosting:
3/4 pound of room temperature cream cheese
2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 or 2 1/2 cups of powder sugar ( depending on your sweet tooth)

Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the sugar and oil. Mix for 2-3 minutes to really combine. With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients. Then the carrots. Divide into two round pans or one cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes then check the cake with a toothpick. Continue baking until toothpick comes out clean. Could take up to 55 minutes total.

Whip up all ingredients until the frosting is light, silky and smooth

With a long seraded bread knife, carefully slice the cakes across the middle. Stack and layer icing in between the layers. This step is not necessary but will add a more dramatic and elegant look to your cake.