Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

hot milk sponge cake

You’re probably thinking I have cake fever, right? First this easy chocolate cake and now this delectable and uber light hot milk sponge cake. Well, if cake fever does exist then I am a victim! Oh darn…

Some other news. I ran the Pasadena Half Marathon this past Sunday and despite the pouring rain, I broke my personal half marathon record and ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 12 minutes. My goal?? To run it in under 2 hours, which I am confident I can do! This type of news also warrants cake, don’t ya think?

You won’t believe it, but this cake only has seven simple ingredients. I promise you’ll like this!

Hot Milk Sponge Cake
Inspired by a recipe from this book, page 165

Print Recipe

2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup organic unrefined sugar
1/2 cup 1% or nonfat milk
2 Tbls unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Stir flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for about 4 minutes or until thick. Slowly add the sugar using the electric mixer on medium speed. Add the almond extract. Continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined.

In a small sauce pan on medium to low heat, warm the milk and butter until butter melts. Don’t forget to stir the milk! When the butter melts, add to the dry mix beating until combined. Pour batter into cake pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. Enjoy with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, whipped cream, melted chocolate or a fruit compote!


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easy chocolate cake

It’s always a good idea to have an easy and basic chocolate cake recipe in your back pocket. Ya just never know when you’ll need to bake one…

– last minute birthday with friends or at work
– dinner gathering
– picnic

The reasons are endless and sometimes you don’t even need a reason to bake a cake! The intoxicating smell of baked chocolaty goodness is good enough for me.

I found a recipe for a carob cake, but preferred to use chocolate instead. This cake is so light, sweet and pillowy. Please add to your recipe box. It won’t disappoint!

p.s. I didn’t add any embellishments or frosting on this cake. I just wanted to share it’s simplicity.

Easy Chocolate Cake
Inspired from this recipe

Print Recipe

3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour. Plus 6 tablespoons
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch of sea salt
1 egg
1/2 cup 1% or nonfat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a (9-inch) baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a second large bowl, whisk together egg, milk, oil and vanilla.

Add egg-milk mixture to flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Whisk in water and then pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside to let cool for 15 minutes, then serve warm or remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

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Tell me there’s a dinner party with friends and I am there! That’s what inspired this strawberry and nectarine crostata. My friends were prepping the dinner, so count me in for a homemade baked dessert and vanilla frozen yogurt for topping. Are you drooling? I am.

Even though this is called a dessert, it’s actually very light and not very sinful. The strawberries protect your heart and are considered an anti-inflammatory. And did you know that one cup of fresh nectarines contains 214 mcg of beta-carotene? Nectarines also contain Vitamin C. Are you sold yet?

This dessert is literally just fresh fruit, some sugar and organic pie crust from Trader Joes. Done and done. You can whip one of these up for any occasion. It’s so easy. I’ll definitely be making more of these, with different fresh fruits, during the Spring and Summer.

Strawberry and Nectarine Crostata
Inspired by this recipe

Print Recipe

– 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved or quartered
– 1 cup fresh nectarines, peeled and sliced
– 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
– 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
– 1 organic pie crust round, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the thawed pie crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

To make the fruity inside of the crostata:
Place the strawberries, nectarines, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Do not let it burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit.

Once the fruit filling is cooled, gently pour into the middle of the pie crust. Make sure to leave a 2-inch border at the perimeter. Gently fold the edges of the pastry up and over the filling, pleating as necessary, to form a round. Make sure to seal any cracks in the pastry.

Bake for 30 minutes to until pie crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy warmed. I prefer my slice with a dallop of vanilla frozen yogurt on top!

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My goodness! Has it really been over two weeks since I shared a recipe with you all? The time is flying and here I am…I’m emerging from a two (or three?) week baking hiatus. Baking is good for my soul, so hopefully I don’t take a hiatus that long moving forward. Well….unless it’s over 95 degrees outside and I don’t want to melt alive in my house.

I recently found the most simplest of baking recipes and here is what I love about it: (a) it contains eight simple ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen, (2) it’s a crowd pleaser and (3) it’s incredibly versatile. For example, you can add nuts or seeds, dried fruit, real fruit, white chocolate chips, caramel and more.

The original recipe is for a chocolate chip cookie cake, however, I wanted to be playful and use chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds in place of the chocolate chips. I was looking for that chocolaty, sweet and tart flavor profile and I achieved it. Oh, did I achieve it. Moreover, when you bite into a slice of this cookie cake, you’ll enjoy the sweet and tart punch of melty chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds. I know, right?! Don’t forget, pomegranate seeds contain antioxidants, which are good for you. More reason to enjoy this cookie cake.

Cookie Cake with Dark Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate Seeds
Inspired from a recipe in this book. Pg 54

Print Recipe

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
– 11/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
– 1 cup packed light brown sugar
– 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
– 1/2 tsp organic almond extract
– 1 large egg
– 1 cup dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch spring form cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and egg until light and creamy. Incorporate the dry ingredients until just blended. Fold-in the dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and use a rubber spatula or butter knife to even-out the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy warmed, room temperature, dunked in cold milk or a la mode!

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buttery lemony lace cookies

Friends. It has been quite a month. I often find myself crashing on the couch at the end of the day and dreading hopping back on the computer. As a Social Media Manager, I spend most of my waking hours tuned-in…hardcore. In the evening, sometimes, I just want to unplug. Ya feel me?

This post will be brief and to the point. The take away? An easy-peasy recipe for buttery lemony lace cookies. These lace cookies contain ground almonds by the way. I love almonds, they’re good and good for you! They’re good for your heart and packed with antioxidants and nutrients.

I found a great recipe for classic lace cookies, but decided to take a fresh and uplifting spin on it by adding freshly grated lemon zest to the batter. Also, my friend Roger put in a special request for something lemony. Roger…enjoy!

Buttery Lemony Lace Cookies
Inspired from a recipe from this book

Print Recipe

– 1/2 cup raw ground almonds
– 5 Tbls unsalted butter
– 1/3 cup organic unrefined sugar
– 2 Tbls light corn syrup
– 1/3 cup all-purpose wheat flour
– pinch of sea salt
– zest from one lemon
– 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, sugar and corn syrup. Stir often until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir constantly and bring to a boil. Once the contents begin to boil, remove from the heat. Stir in the flour and salt until well incorporated. Finally, stir in the ground almonds, lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Using a teaspoon, drop the batter onto the baking sheet. Bake the cookies until evenly light brown, about 10 minutes. At the 5-minute mark, turn the baking sheet around in the oven to ensure even baking. The cookies won’t begin to spread till about 6 minutes into baking.

Cover a cooling rack with paper towels. When the cookies are done baking, place them on the paper-toweled covered wire rack and let cool.

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Love is nice, isn’t it? The feeling of loving something or someone and being loved in return.

I love traveling, running and laughing with my friends. I also love my family and boyfriend. Which brings me to the subject of Valentine’s Day…the day that’s slowly approaching and enjoyed by many and despised by many. Some are just simply indifferent about it. I may even take the indifferent route. I would love a dozen tulips or a surprise date, on any random day rather than on a day that’s “expected.” Anyone with me on that? If not, that’s cool. We can still be friends!

In the spirit of love I baked-up a scrumptious batch of heart-shaped cranberry upside down muffins! I baked standard round ones as well…extra batter…why not, right? These muffins are perfect to share with those you care about. Those you love. Or perhaps enjoy them with something you love…coffee? Tea?

You may think these muffins are a naughty treat, but they’re not. They’re baked with whole wheat flour, low fat milk and fresh cranberries. Cranberries have significant anti-inflammatory benefits especially in our cardiovascular system, and offer immune support. Eat up!!

Cranberry Upside Down Muffins
Adopted from this recipe

Print Recipe

– 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
– 11/4 cups organic unrefined sugar
– 1 tsp grated nutmeg
– 2 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 Tbls baking powder
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
– 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 1 cup 1% or non-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan combine the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, and the nutmeg, cook the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, and boil it, covered, for 3 minutes. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring, for 3 minutes and let it cool.

Into a bowl sift together the flour, the baking powder, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and the salt. In another bowl whisk together the egg, the butter, the vanilla (or almond) extract and the milk, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined.

Divide the cranberry mixture among 12 well-buttered 1/2-cup muffin tins (or heart-shaped muffin cups), top it with the batter, and bake the muffins in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until they are golden. Let the muffins cool for 2 minutes and invert them onto a rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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So, you pour yourself a bowl of cereal. You’re starved. You open the fridge and gasp! No milk! This has happened to you right? Or am I the only one? The real story…I wanted coffee and something sweet to snack on. Had the coffee…but….no….sweet….snack!!

Well, thank goodness I keep my baking ingredients well-stocked. Phew!

I call these “beary unconventional” because I don’t own a madeleine pan but I did have a baking pan with small bear molds on-hand. Hey…I was working with my resources. Another reason these are unconventional is that I used brown sugar rather than white sugar. The brown sugar added a nice deep flavor. I approved!

Beary Unconventional Madeleines
Inspired by this recipe

Print Recipe

– 1/2 cup cake flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp rose water
– 4 Tbls unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position baking rack in lower third of the oven.

Generously butter the molds of your madeleine pan; in my case the bear pan.

Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the egg, brown sugar and rose water on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has quadrupled in volume and is very thick. This took me about 8 to 10 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the flour mixture and then the butter. Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling each one about three-fourths full.

Bake until the madeleines are light brown around the edges and on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the madeleines from the pan to a wire rack. Enjoy with hot tea or coffee!

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