The Newbie Cook
- 17,896 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
Who can resist a warm, fruity snack in the middle of winter? No one. Besides, I need to do something with the blueberries sitting in the fridge since I’ve been dreaming about them for the past two nights.
I didn’t want to bake a huge cake since my husband isn’t really an eater. (Tip for brides-to-be: grill your fiances about their eating habits because there is nothing more horrible than having a husband who eats less than you do.)
I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and tweaked a few things like adding a bit more zest and loads and loads of butter. This cake is so buttery that it’s useless to stress about calories. Just remember that everything is good in moderation and that we all need to spoil ourselves once in a while. 🙂
It’s also very easy to make and doesn’t take long to prep and bake. I usually like this with my afternoon coffee or tea but it’s also good for breakfast if you want to deviate from your usual muffin or pancakes. Hey, they do say that it’s healthier to eat most of your carbs in the morning for an early pop of energy plus you’ll have the whole day to burn it.
I was craving for French toast for days. And I had to do something with the two packs of fresh strawberries C and I bought a few days ago. And I figured he could use a little cheering up.
I made the honey-wheat bread myself using Danielle’s recipe. I haven’t perfected it yet so that will be a whole post of its own sometime in the near future when I feel more confident and have photographic evidence. 😛 I’m sure most of us already have our own recipes for French toast but I added mine here for those who do not.
This is quite heavy so we had this for brunch and skipped lunch altogether. Have fun with your own stay-at-home date!
Here’s my husband’s deconstructed toast:
This is based on the banana cake recipe here, just modified to make it more moist and suitable for little cups. I love crunchy cinnamon sugar-topped muffins and I took the opportunity to use it here. It’s very easy to prepare so this is something that you can bake with your kids.
This simple but yummy muffin is appropriate for breakfast, snacks, picnics, children’s parties and the occasional guilty midnight snack.
Recipe afer the jump. Enjoy. 🙂
I had two tubs of strawberry yogurt that would go bad if I don’t eat it soon. Unfortunately, I left my bag of all-purpose flour in the other apartment and the only thing left is whole wheat flour, which isn’t nutritionally bad but whole wheat is not exactly known for its smooth, moist properties in cakes.
So I tried to look for a whole wheat yogurt cake recipe that I could work with. Luckily, there’s always Food.com. I changed a few things since I wanted to make it healthier and avoid butter altogether.
I’m a little scared of bundt pans. There’s always a possibility that, no matter how much you grease the insides, the pan would traitorously eat the top parts of the cake, leaving a hot mess on your plate that even powdered sugar could not hide. However, one of the reviews mentioned that the center of the cake tended to be a little wet so I was determined to use a bundt pan to avoid smooshy centers.
Thankfully, my bundt pan behaved. This is the third time I’ve used it and it has not failed me so far. Good bundt pan, yes you are. *pats*
As for the cake, my fears were unfounded. I was afraid that I would have a dry, unpalatable cake. Instead, it ended up being dense, moist, and yummy–you could really taste the yogurt and the whole wheat gave it texture that prevented it from being boring.
This is a cake that is best eaten as breakfast or a snack with coffee or tea. Plus the apartment smells heavenly. *inhales*
Note: If you don’t want the chocolate flavor, just follow the recipe as it is without the cocoa powder. I actually prefer it without the chocolate as it brings out the taste of the yogurt more.
Note (May 25, 2012): I recently made this as a cake with blackberries instead of red currants. Coat blackberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and spread evenly at the bottom of the pan. Spoon cake batter over it and bake. A lot of people have trouble turning an upside down cake without the middle sticking on the pan. Use wax paper or foil to cover the bottom of the pan so when you flip it over, the whole cake comes out foil and all. If the berries stick to the foil, stick the cake in the freezer for 30 minutes before peeling it off.
Almost a year ago, I had a love affair with muffins. Obsession is probably the proper way to describe it. I wanted to learn how to bake (aside from the token brownies and chocolate cake) by baking as many kinds of muffins as I could find. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of pictures and those that I managed to take were poorly focused and had horrible exposure.
I had the chance to make these muffins again for my friends last weekend. Breakfast should always be the biggest meal of the day and we sure had a huge meal with varied dishes. My contribution was a batch of lemon and red currant muffins.
You can be creative with this muffin and use all sorts of berries. SK’s original recipe uses raspberries. I used red currant here. In hindsight, I think the red currants should have been coated with a tad of sugar since they’re really sour. The first time I made this muffin, it had a cherry centre and I topped it with sliced almonds. I think I like the latter version better. Here’s a photo of it, taken just before I brought them to work for my colleagues:
It’s not great, but I used to be really bad with photography and used the “Auto” setting far too often. *wince* These days, I learned how to adjust my dSLR properly to take the type of photos I want. I still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to composition, but I’ll get there eventually.
Note: The lovely topmost photo was taken by my friend, Jovett, just before we ate them.
I like to think of these as “healthy” muffins. Sure there’s still flour, but it’s whole wheat flour. Sugar is discarded in lieu of natural honey. There are loads of grated carrot involved. The only thing I can think of that’s not healthy is the butter. If you’re a real health nut, maybe you can substitute the butter for olive or canola oil but I don’t know how good the muffins would taste.
I made two batches a couple of hours before work when I woke up too early and decided I was bored. I tried grating the carrots the pioneer way: by hand like a boss! Sadly, I gave up even before the first carrot was done. My fingers were scratched, the carrot wasn’t faring much better, and seeing the number of freshly peeled carrots that were still waiting to be grated discouraged me.
So I asked my (very sleepy) dad to set up the grinder for me. The Moulinex is about 20 years old, possibly older, and has seen and ground a lot of stuff over the years. The carrots were grated perfectly and efficiently in 5 minutes tops.
The muffins baked very quickly. I used the old gas oven in Apartment #1, which can be tricky if you’re not used to these types of ovens. I’ve learned not to time baked stuff. I just use my nose, eyes and a toothpick. Meaning, (1) if the smell permeates the kitchen, it’s probably done or close to it, (2) open the oven a bit to check the color, and (3) pierce a toothpick through the middle of the cake to check if the doughy bits would stick or if it would come out dry. Take them out of the oven before the edges turn brown.
I really like the subtle bite of cinnamon and garlic in these muffins. So did Tita E, Fatma, and my brother. Jiko probably ate one whole batch all by himself. Please don’t invite him to dinner parties unless you’re sure that you have prepared XXXL servings for him. 😛
My friend, Kim, a first-time baker who wants to learn how to cook, joined me last Wednesday in Apartment #2’s kitchen. We chose to make caramel apple bread instead of the originally-planned pumpkin cinnamon rolls because I forgot to buy any pumpkins. Donna Currie has a lip-smacking recipe in SE’s Bread Baking and it didn’t look too complicated (er… hopefully).
We made a few minor mistakes like peeling and grating the apples before they were supposed to be mixed into the dough, which made them turn brown very fast. The biggest mistake was putting twice the amount of apples into the dough. By the time we realized that half was supposed to go into the filling it was too late. My bad! It was me who was reading the recipe. *headesks*
Me: Um, Kim… @_@ I think half of that was supposed to go into the filling.
Kim: Oh no! ^o^
Me: No wonder it’s so wet.
The wet dough refused to rise. It was just my third try at making bread so I didn’t yet understand the physics between yeast and dough yet so we wasted a lot of fruitless hours waiting for it to rise. In the end, we just added a lot of flour. We even called a friend (Jovett) and asked for more flour.
We didn’t have a fancy stand mixer so we kneaded it pioneer woman style: with our (very clean) hands. By this time, we had enough dough for 3 loaves of bread so I made extra filling. As usual, we had to use a substitute for an ingredient. In this case, we couldn’t find dulce de leche so we used commercial condensed milk instead.
To kill time while the dough was rising, we watched movies in Jovett’s apartment. We might as well since we already stole her flour and some of her apples. But we were nice and helped her cook dinner. 🙂
Kim was afraid that the bread would be a total failure. But after an hour of baking, I took the bread out of the oven, ran back to Jovett’s apartment with one loaf and two oven mitts (ignoring weird looks from the girls at the poolside) and sat down to have a late but very filling dinner with the girls.
It was certainly a nice, quiet night. And, yes, the bread turned out very well. The 6 hours of kneading, waiting, mixing, more waiting and more kneading did pay off! We even had enough to bring to Kim’s mom and my dad.