Yellow Cake with Chocolate Glaze and Raspberries

2014-05-10 17.17.57It’s been half a year since I’ve posted here. But I’m cool with that. But I baked a rather tasty cake last weekend and I thought I’d share.

It all started with a cake I saw on Pinterest. Total food porn. I got all the ingredients and then I baked the yellow cake. Except that it didn’t turn out. At all. It looked like a limp Dutch pancake.2014-05-10 14.13.07At the cake didn’t taste amazing either. Since I am a firm believer in not wasting my calorie allowance on things that are not fabulous, the cake went in the trash. I probably did something wrong, like not whipping the eggs enough or perhaps having the oven too high, but I didn’t really have time to troubleshoot. So I went on Smitten Kitchen blog in search of another cake recipe.

“Best Birthday Cake” sounded promising. And it was. Nice lightly and fluffy yellow cakes.2014-05-10 15.40.02

 

Since I already had all the ingredients for the chocolate buttercream and glaze, I whipped up a batch of frosting, sans the eggs. It was very tasty.

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And then I coated the whole thing in delicious chocolate glaze and raspberries.

2014-05-10 17.17.502014-05-10 17.18.14The chocolate glaze did not disappoint.

Besides the fabulous chocolate flavor, I think the most fun aspect of this cake is surprise when you cut into it. The dark chocolate glaze suggests a rich chocolate center, but you are left with this.
2014-05-10 20.09.56It pairs well with a pinot and is best served to lots of friends (so you don’t eat it all).

The yellow cake recipe can be found here (no substitutions).

Buttercream and glaze was adapted from the Baking Bird.

BUTTERCREAM (I don’t do raw eggs…I am sure it would have been extra tasty with them, but I left them out and no seemed to notice.)

  • 2oz milk chocolate (melted)
  • 2oz 70% dark chocolate (melted)
  • 7 tbsp butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)

IIn a small sauce pan melt chocolate. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar. Stir in room temperature chocolate.

GLAZE (the original recipe called for equal parts milk and dark chocolate, but I like my chocolate dark…)

  • 4oz dark chocolate
  • 2oz milk chocolate
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp dark coffee (I brewed mine fresh for cake)

Melt chocolate and stir in butter and dark coffee. I found the glaze is easest to apply when slightly cooled.

For more detailed instructions, visit Smitten Kitchen and The Baking Bird.

Enjoy!

 

Menu Plan: Week of October 12th

Saturday- Leftovers. J will be gone in the city and probably wont’ be home in time for dinner. I don’t love to cook when he is home. Luckily I have squash soup, quinoa vegetable soup, curry, and chili in the freezer to choose from.

Sunday- Chard and white bean pot piesI made these Smitten Kitchen pies for a dinner party last year and everyone loved them. J and I are planning a staycation and we’ll be finishing off the day with pot pies and white wine. Perfect comfort food!

Monday- Navajo fry bread and soup. J is making me dinner because I’ve been having a rough week. ;) He has fond memories of Navajo fry bread. I’ve never had it before but I am excited to try it. Yay for pampering.

Tuesday- Shaved squash salad and chili. Gotta get my squash in before it is too late. I’ll be skipping the asagio cheese and using chili leftovers from last week.

Wednesday- Sweet potato miso bowlMore Smitten Kitchen recipes. I am a little hesitant to buy miso because I rarely ever eat it, but the recipe looked too good not to try.

Thursday- Sweet and Spicy Sesame Noodles.

Friday- Pie mile. GVHers will be meeting at the to run a mile and eat some pie. I’ll be making Spiced Pecan Tart.  Last month I ate dinner before the run and kinda felt like a cow. This month I’m going to try to skip dinner and eat pie (and maybe pizza) after instead. Really, I should be eating a salad and some pasta because I’m biking a metric century the next day.

Jalapeno Jelly

2013-09-07 15.59.32 My garden is full of jalapeno peppers. While I’ve been putting them in almost every dinner, and giving some away, I can’t seem to go through them fast enough. Enter canning. And jalapeno jelly.

A friend and coworker from grad school used to make delicious Jalapeno spreads. We’d have them with wine and crackers and it was a lovely after work treat. I wanted to ask her for the recipe, but decided against it because I’ve been bugging her about work stuff recently. So I turned to Facebook. And a recipe using apples instead of refined pectin was passed on to me.

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The recipe was straightforward. Boil fruit, mash fruit, strain, cook again, then can. Don’t get me wrong, it is a rather lengthy and messy process, but not hard to follow. While I remembered to wear gloves for the peppers, I did not plan on how potent the fumes were. I coughed through the entire recipe. But it was worth it because it made such a pretty colored, sugary syrup.

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I was too lazy to take a picture of my jars, but the jelly looked equally vibrant. As for the final product, I thought it was just okay. The texture was good, much like quince jelly. I was expecting (and craving) SPICY and the apples and cranberries (and sugar) caused the jelly to be a bit on the sweet side. I think this would make a great Christmas gift for someone who likes the pepper flavor without the burn. As for me, I’m still searching for a spicy spread.

The recipe can be found here.

Menu Plan: Week of October 5th

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This week I’ve been a stay at home puppy mom due to the government shutdown. In theory I should have had hours and hours to cook fancy dinners for J. In reality, I ended up spending hours playing with the dogs, gardening, filing for unemployment, doing laundry, organizing my closet, helping out my old lab, and feeling sorry for myself. Oh and I did bake some cookies and make jam. My poor husband was stuck eating relatively simple dinners at 830pm every night after I got home from the gym pool. I could say that this week I’ve been more ambitious in my menu planning. Nope. I’m in money saving mode and the fancy mushrooms and wine will have to wait. Also, I’m overly optimistic that I’ll be back at work soon and will only have 30min-1hr to cook each night. If I’m not back at work, i’m sure I’ll be caught up in paper writing, canning, or applying for jobs that have more security.

Saturday- N/A. Family trip to the beach.

 Sunday- Sweet potato corn chowder. Because yum. And I already have most of the ingredients already.

Monday-  Eggplant bake from Smitten Kitchen. My eggplants are still producing?! I guess it is still early Fall, but I don’t ever remember them lasting this long. As I am getting a bit sick of plain roasted eggplant and dips, I thought it would be fun to make a casserole. Instead of tomato paste, I think I’ll add some chipotle peppers. I really shouldn’t be eating cheese and haven’t decided if I am going to sub in nutritional yeast.

Tuesday- Hummus wraps. So I’ve been having this meal a lot. But in my defense I have frozen whole wheat tortillas and garbanzo beans are cheap and a good source of protein.

Wednesday- Japanese curry with tofu, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and kale.

Thursday- Arugula salad (with chickpeas, pomegranate, sweet potato, oranges).

Friday- Chipotle three bean chili. Similar to this recipe.

Kale Chips

2013-09-21 19.42.07It annoys me when people post about food with less than three ingredients. Why yes I can figure out how to spread Nutella on bread or skewer an apple and then dip it in store bought caramel. But thank you for sharing. I kind of feel the same way about posting a recipe for kale chips. Which is why I make them almost every week and have yet to blog about them.

So why am I writing about kale chips now? Kale is in season, at least in Northern California. It is cold enough to turn on the oven and while I *want* to bake cakes and breads (my blog feed is full of them), I still need to get my vegetables in. And because kale chips are generally awesome. Not only are they delicious, there are virtually no calories. You can eat an entire bowl and not feel a) guilty and b) disgusting after. Also you can make them at home for a fraction of the cost of a bag from the store. Plus you don’t arrive home with a bag filled with tiny crumbs and preservatives. Win-win. And don’t worry if you don’t like kale. Kale chips hardly resemble the vegetable when you are done with them.

Kale Chips

  • Kale (leaves rinsed, midrib/stem removed, and patted dry)
  • 1tbsp olive oil (sometimes I leave this out)
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Tear kale leaves into large pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with oil and spices.

Sprinkle kale leaves in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Bake for ~10 minutes or until the edges start to brown and the kale leaves are crispy, but not burnt.

Important: Do not overcrowd kale. Depending on size of your pan, you may need to bake multiple batches. I usually do three rounds for 1 bunch of kale.

Kale leaves go from cooked to burn rather quickly. Keep an eye on them!

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

2013-09-16 20.48.56It’s cooling down at night and we got our first rain. All I want to do is lounge around on the couch in yoga pants, sip tea, and devour pumpkin desserts. I came across this recipe a while back and saved it because the picture looked amazing. However, I was a little afraid to make it because J doesn’t like cheesecake and it is dangerous to have a large cake lying around when I’m the only one who wants to eat it. Inspired by the recent turn in weather and boxes of silken tofu in the cupboard, I decided it was finally time to try vegan cheesecake.

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I can’t say enough good things about this recipe. The cake had a good cheesecake texture with a crunchy, nutty top. It wasn’t heavy and had nice pumpkin spice notes. The graham cracker crust was just okay, but that might have been because I didn’t have enough crackers and subbed in panko instead. ;) The only thing I think I would change was the addition of half a banana. I could definitely taste it. And while I like banana, I do not want to taste it in my Fall desserts.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH PECAN TOPPING

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups of finely ground graham crackers
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted non-hydrogenated margarine, melted coconut oil, or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon plain soy milk

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup whole unroasted cashews soaked in water overnight
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana (about half of 1 medium-sized banana)
  • 1 12 to 14 oz package silken tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • /4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Topping

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon nonhydrogenated margarine *or* coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

 

Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray or coconut oil.

In a medium bowl, combine the ground crackers and sugar. Blend in oil until a crumble forms.

Pour the crumbs into the pan and press firmly into the bottom until a crust forms. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until firm. Let the crust cool before filling.

Make the topping:
In a small bowl, mix chopped nuts, brown sugar, margarine, and salt. Set aside.

Make the filling:
Drain the cashews and place in a blender or food processor with the remaining filling ingredients (banana, tofu, sugar, brown sugar, coconut oil, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, orange zest, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt). Blend until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared crust and bake for 25 minutes. Remove cheesecake sprinkle on the topping. Return to oven to continue baking another 20 to 25 minutes. The cheesecake will have baked at 350F for a total time of 45-50 minutes. It is done when the top is lightly puffed and the edges of the cake are golden. Remove it from the oven and let cool on a rack for about 20 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and let stand for at least 3 hours. To un-mold, run a thin, sharp knife dipped in cold water around the edges and then release the springform pan.

Menu Plan: Week of September 21st

2013-09-21 14.22.44I forgot to post a meal plan on Saturday. Sad. Maybe I was distracted by the glorious rain and hail. Or perhaps by paper I am trying to write. I did, however, plan meals. I’d like to say I’ve been cooking up a storm every night, but unfortunately I’ve been too busy most nights so J has had to take over in the kitchen.

The theme for this week is simple meals featuring tomatoes and jalapenos from garden. Also, my eggplants, which are still producing. What is up with that?

Saturday- Quesadillas with cheese from UCD and homemade pico. I really shouldn’t be eating cheese for both health and environmental reason, but the UCD habanero pepper jack is pretty tasty (and ridiculously inexpensive). 

Sunday- Pasta with seasonal vegetables and J’s cocktail of the week: Mai Tai. J made this whole meal without ANY help. ;)  

Monday- Hummus wraps with roasted eggplant and tomatoes (from the garden!), arugula, carrots, bell pepper, etc. They were similar to this recipeWraps are a household staple because they are fast, fairly healthy, and easily customizable. 

Tuesday- Pizza with red sauce, artichokes, tomatoes, etc. I will also be cooking orange yogurt pound cake for a running club event on Wednesday. 

Wednesday- Udon with tofu and vegetables and hoison broth. I forgot that I have things to do from 6-9pm. I am not sure how to squeeze in cooking between work and play, but I’ll manage sometime. And yes, I plan on making my own broth. Ha.

Thursday- Breakfast burritos with black beans, salsa, and probably more jalapenos.

Friday- Visiting family for the weekend so J and I will grab a sandwich or burrito on the way out of town.

Fried Avocado Tacos

I usually shy away from fried food because it doesn’t seem healthy enough for dinner. And since I rarely fry anything, it seems like a huge waste of oil. Avocado tacos have been popping up everywhere this summer and I knew that I had to try them!

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Avocados fried to a crisp? Yes please. And batter that actually stayed on and didn’t form some weird clump in the pan? Sold.

2013-07-14 08.23.202013-07-14 08.20.03These tacos might not be pretty, but they are definitely delicious and worth making. Next time I’ll add more beans and salsa as they weren’t really filling enough for dinner. Will I make them often? No, probably not. But I’ll keep them in mind for future dinner parties as they are tasty, relatively easy to make, and a bit more interesting than beans, cheese, and lettuce.

The original recipe can be found here at Bon Appetit.

I was compelled to mix it up a bit and substituted white bean and garlic mash for refried beans, left off the cheese and ranch and egg in breading, and whipped up my own pico de gallo with tomatoes and jalapenos from the garden, cilantro, green onions, and lime juice.

TACOS

  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend (or if you vegan you can use 1/4 soymilk with 1.5 tsp cornstarch or crushed flax seed)
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, cut into wedges
  • Canola or peanut oil (for frying; about 4 cups)
  • 1 X 15-ounce can white beans, warmed mixed with 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup prepared pico de gallo

TACOS

  • Pour oil into cast iron skillet until about 1.5″ deep and heat to 350°.
  • Line a plate with paper towels.
  • Place a) eggs or soymilk mixed with cornstarch, b) panko, and c) flour in 3 separate shallow medium bowls. Dredge avocado slices in flour, shaking off excess. Coat with egg or milk. Then, coat with panko, pressing to adhere. It is super important that you do this as I think it is the key to good batter.
  • Fry avocado until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  • Spread beans on tortillas and top with fried avocado, cabbage, and pico de gallo.

 

Menu Plan: Week of September 14th

It’s still in the 90s here, but I am definitely ready for fall. I’ve been pinning coats and boots, and soups and apple-theme desserts are on my mind.

Saturday- Chili and cornbread. The chili didn’t really have a recipe but was similar to this one and was inspired by all the jalapenos in my garden.

Sunday- NachosBecause you can’t eat healthy all the time. ;)

Monday-  Big salad (lettuce, arugula, cucumber, tomatoes and eggplant (from garden), garbanzo beans. Once again keeping it simple and healthy on Monday.

Tuesday- TBD. I informed J that since I had cooked for three weeks straight he had to surprise me after running club with dinner. Not as romantic as if he had thought to do it, but I still get pampered. Score.

Wednesday- Egg salad sandwiches.

Thursday- White bean, kale, and fennel soup. Similar to this recipe except with a tomato base.

Friday- Date night out or leftovers.

Fall Cupcakes: Chocolate Stout

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If I haven’t sold you on vegan cupcakes as the perfect Fall treat, here is my last plug. Stout cupcakes are amazing. And I don’t even like chocolate cake or stouts. They have complex, rich flavor. Quite filling, but with a light texture, these cakes are a perfect cold weather comfort food. I like them best with chocolate whisky ganache (or straight whisky or whisky frosting) and coffee.

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RECIPE (12 cupcakes)
I have to admit that I didn’t quite follow the recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World as ‘buttercream’ sounded better than a crumb top.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup stout
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together soy milk and vinegar. Stir in stout, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients until mixture is smooth.

Pour into lined muffin tins and bake 20 to 22 minutes until set. Cool and frost.

FROSTING
3/4 cup earth balance
3 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or booze of choice (I went with whisky, but Baily’s is great if you want to go non-vegan)
~1/4 cup soy milk

Beat together all ingredients until light and fluffy. Frost.