Your Cooking Coach
Show MenuHide Menu

Tag: baking

Spiced Plum Cake

March 1, 2009

plum-spice-cakeNow when it comes to dessert, I am very picky. I like chocolate but it’s not my- be all end all fix and definitely not my first choice. I love pastries and cakes but European style. What I mean by that is I am not a big fan of icing… especially the kind you see on cakes and cup cakes in the super markets here. I am not really sure what is in that icing!!! For all I know, it could be lots of high fructose corn syrup and all sorts of stabilizers or even some ingredients that are unrecognizable! European cakes and pastries tend to be covered with either whipped cream, chocolate ganache or sometimes with powdered sugar- essentially all the ingredients I love and can recognize! My favorite pastries and cakes definitely include fruit! I love strawberries, raspberries- any thing that adds the tart element to a dessert- the sweet and tart compliment each other very well and makes the dessert less sweet. I also love pound cakes. I prefer the homemade ones- they tend to have more body and flavor to them. If I could, my breakfast everyday would be, a thick slice of pound cake (preferable an end slice) with a big cup of coffee! Unfortunately being health conscious does not allow me to do it! I love the firmness and body of a pound cake- I still remember a particular one I used to eat in India!
My friend gave me plums the other day. I am not used to buying plums in the winter- I grew up eating fruits and vegetables in season. I really didn’t know what to do with them… I had a few thoughts- maybe some plum chutney for a pork roast or loin. Then, I ran into a plum cake recipe- it resembled a pound cake but with fruit- perfect combination, I thought! I decided to modify it to my taste that included adding ground cardamom and lemon zest- (If you don’t want a very strong flavor, eliminate the cardamom). I also used white whole-wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. It doesn’t have too much butter and I also substituted canola oil with extra light olive oil. Extra light olive oil doesn’t have the nutty flavor of the extra virgin olive oil, so it is great to use in baking to get the healthy qualities of olive oil. Overall I felt very good about the recipe and it came out delicious. It’s great with a cup of tea, coffee or served  warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup extra light olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4-5 purple or red plums, halved and pitted
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×8 baking dish and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and ground ginger. In a stand mixer cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture. The batter will resemble cookie dough. Transfer the batter in the prepared dish, smooth the top and arrange the plums on top skin side up. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool and sprinkle powdered sugar before serving.

Banana Chocolate Walnut Bread

February 11, 2009

banana-chocolate-breadI have been baking this bread for many years now. I got the original recipe from food television but have tweaked it over time. One of the things I changed was the sugar. I have stopped using white sugar and have switched to sugar made out of evaporated cane juice. The raw version of that is turbinado sugar. It brings a crunch and a nutty flavor to the bread. I also substituted all-purpose flour to white whole-wheat flour. This definitely darkens the color of the bread and again it adds nuttiness to it. I also added chocolate to it! Now anything with chocolate is usually very good- including this bread. I guarantee this will be the best banana bread you will taste! It is simply delicious!!  I am curious to know if any of you have a favorite banana bread recipe.  My daughter absolutely loves it and likes to take some to school for an after lunch dessert. I don’t mind as I am happy about the healthy ingredients in it. It is good for breakfast, snack or dessert!

  • 1¼ cups unbleached white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing the pan
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, peeled, and mashed with a fork (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup toasted walnut pieces
  • ½ cup milk or dark chocolate, chips or grated

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl, set aside.  Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a liquid measuring cup with a spout, set aside.  Lightly brush a 9X5X3 inches loaf pan with butter.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Gradually pour the egg mixture into the butter while mixing until incorporated.  Add the bananas (the mixture will appear to be curdled), and remove the bowl from the mixer.

With a rubber spatula, mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated.  Fold in the nuts and chocolate pieces and transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes before taking it out.  Cool completely before serving.