Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blackberry Jam Cake

If you know anything about me, you probably know I love cake. I always bake a cake for my co-worker's birthdays, mostly because I like eating their birthday cake. I also keep a running list of cakes I want to try. This one is out of Cooking Light Magazine, the May 2003 issue which had a section on low-fat baking.

Difficulty: Easy. (However, not recommended for transporting on the bus!)
Eat rating: My co-workers gave this one of thumbs-up. The cake itself is not very sweet. The cinnamon is the most distinct flavor. But because the cake itself is less sweet, that lets you taste the subtlety of the blackberry jam.

Cooking Light, May 2003

1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla
3 eggs (LN: I used Eggbeaters)
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 cup seedless blackberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, then lay wax paper in the bottom and spray again. Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla in a bowl until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Add flour mixture and milk into the sugar mixture, alternating a little of each until completely combined. Pour batter into pans and cook for 25 minutes (LN: My oven took more like 30). Cool in pan on wire ran and remove from pan. Cool completely.

Place jam in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Place one cake on plate and spread half the jam mixture on top. Place other cake on top, then spread remaining jam on top layer. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. (Note: Don't put the powdered sugar on until you are ready to serve or the jam will soak through it, leaving you with strange purplish spots)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Leah's Birchermuesli

I first tried birchermuesli at the now defunct Bread and Chocolate in Eastern Market. Their variation is good, but a little runny, so I decided to try my hand at making it. For the best results, let the muesli soak overnight. If that's not possible, make at least 2-3 hours ahead and let sit in the fridge. You can top it with any assortment of nuts and fresh fruit. I recommend walnuts and bananas, but apples, pears, berries, pecans or almonds are also nice additions.

Difficulty: Super Easy
Eat Rating: Awesome. (And it's even healthy!)

3 cups oats (rolled, not quick cooking)
3/4 cup of orange juice
1 1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix oats, orange juice and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Add yogurt, sugar and vanilla and stir until mixed completely. The mixture should be a little runny but will firm up in the fridge. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, top with nuts and fresh fruit.

Maple Muesli: Omit the sugar and vanilla and instead add 2 tbsp of maple syrup with the yogurt. Top with pecans.

Apple Muesli: Sub 3/4 cup apple cider for the orange juice. Omit granulated sugar and vanilla and instead use 2 tbsp brown sugar. Top with apple slices.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blueberry Banana Muffins

These are good to make ahead for breakfast for the week. The first time I made them, I couldn't find wheat germ at my local Giant. For a substitute, I ground up some walnuts in the food processor. I also subbed egg beaters for the egg and topped the muffins with some granola before baking.

Difficulty: Easy
Eat Rating: Awesome

From The New American Heart Association Cookbook, 7th Edition

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 medium banana, mashed
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg (or equivalent egg substitute)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients -- all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, spice. In a separate bowl, mash the banana, then add orange juice, applesauce, egg and vegetable oil. Mix the wet ingredients, then add to the dry mix. Stir just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way and bake for 15 minutes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Raspberry Filled White Chocolate Bars

So I'm headed to a friend's wedding tomorrow and I figured I should make some snacks for the 4+ hour drive. C loves raspberry and chocolate concoctions, so this one caught my eye.

Difficulty: Easy
Eat Rating: Good. The sweet hits you after awhile, so cut small pieces.

From Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off

1/2 cup butter
1 (12 oz) bag of white chocolate chips or 12 oz bar, cut into pieces
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon amaretto (or almond extract)
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup sliced almonds (LN: omitted)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9-inch square pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add half the chocolate (1 cup if using morsels). Let stand, do not stir.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and blend. Stir in the chocolate/butter mixture, then add the flour, salt and amaretto. Spread half the mixture (about 1 cup) into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from oven and spread raspberry jam over the crust. Mix the remaining chips into the leftover mix and spread that over the jam. Sprinkle with almonds if using. Return to oven and bake for 35 minutes. Cool completely and cut into bars.