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Spinach Cake Muffins

24 Sep

Just wanted to do a quick post to let you all know, “WE ARE STILL HERE!” It has been a while since either Joanna or I have posted due to various reasons. I can only speak for myself when I say that sometimes frustration gets in the way of making recipes that look nice enough to post. I think we may just *try* to post as often as we can. I may also cut down on the step by step pictures. For me taking photos just gets in the way of making recipes.

I recently bought the Weelicious Lunches cookbook. Jasper is now going to full day preschool and I really needed some ideas for his lunchbox. He is an extremely picky eater and I wanted to try to inject something healthy each day.

The other day I decided to throw together the spinach cake muffins. They were super fast to make and Jasper ate 5 mini-muffins in one sitting! They were a huge hit for Max as well. The spinach give these muffins a monster green color, perfect for the monster/dino obsessed kid at my house. They are slightly sweet and don’t taste veggie laden. When introducing them to Jasper I called them “green muffins” so that the word “spinach” wouldn’t scare him off!

Spinach Cake Muffins
From Weelicious Lunches

Makes 24 mini muffins

Cooking spray or paper muffin cups

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pre heat oven to 350°. Prepare muffin pan with nonstick spray or paper cups.

In the jar of a blender, combine applesauce, egg, vanilla, spinach, sugar, and oil until smooth. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add spinach mixture to dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Spoon batter evenly in the prepared muffin pan and bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack.

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Flourless Almond and Mavrodaphne Cake

15 Feb

I wanted to make my husband a cake for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t want it to be over powering or too chocolaty (I know, crazy).  I found Pati’s Flourless Almond and Porto Cake and it seemed like a really easy cake to make, especially with my having so many slivered almonds left over from Thanksgiving.  The only thing that I did not have was Port wine but I do have a bottle of Mavrodaphne with a layer of dust forming over it.  I kept searching for cake recipes using Mavrodaphne and I could not find anything – I kept wondering to myself if it would work, it is a dessert wine after all.  I guess there is only one way to find out…

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Antique Caramel Cake

23 Jan

So a few years ago when I really started to explore the food blogging world, I came across the recipe for Baked brownies. It took me a bit to realize that Baked was a place and not a method…(aren’t all brownies baked?!). Well, from there I bought their first cookbook and fell in love. I know that someday if I ever make it to Brooklyn, I will make a beeline to Baked and get a slice of their Sweet and Salty cake.

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I’ve made that cake a couple times and those experiences taught me a couple things. First, be sure to have all your ingredients ready: measured, room temp, whatever the recipe calls for! Second, how to manage my time. I think the first attempt, it took me all day. I’m talking from maybe 10 o’clock to 4. I was trying to do everything at once instead of breaking down all the steps. In the end the cake was amazing, but there was a bit of stress along the way.

Well, this isn’t that cake. This cake is a bit easier, but still a few steps to get to the end. I also knew what I was getting into, so I read the recipe numerous times before starting.

I chose this cake to post about mostly because it is in the new Baked Elements cookbook that I got for Christmas this year. Eventually I’ll be making that Sweet and Salty cake and you’ll see it here too.

DSC00295Butter and sugars together. (Mine never got fluffy like I thought it should. I just went with what I had.)

DSC00298This is what it looks like after the addition of the eggs.

DSC00300Batter in the pans.

DSC00302Out of the oven.

Antique Caramel Cake

from Baked Elements

For the Cake:

1 stick butter, softened, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

1 cup well shaken buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 2 9 inch cake pans* by buttering and lining with parchment paper. Dust with flour and shake out excess. Set aside while you prepare the batter.

In your bowl place softened butter and beat with the paddle attachment of your standing mixer. Beat for approximately 1 minute until butter is creamy. Add sugars and beat until mixture is fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. Scrape down bowl again, then add flour in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk beginning and ending with flour.

In a small bowl or cup, dissolve baking soda in vinegar (it will bubble up), and beat into batter until just combined.

Divide batter into two prepared pans and smooth tops. Bake 27-32 minutes*, rotating pans halfway through. Cakes will be done when tops are golden and toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Place pans on wire racks to cool for 20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and place them on cooling racks to cool completely. Remove parchment.

*the original recipe calls for 8 inch pans. I only have 9 inch, so used those. I also adjusted baking time because of this. If you have 8 inch pans, adjust baking time to 32-37 minutes.

DSC00304Butter and brown sugar in pan.

DSC00305After the butter, brown sugar was melted and boiled with addition of heavy cream.

DSC00307Butter and cream cheese in the mixer!

DSC00308Mixture with cream cheese, butter and brown sugar caramel added.

DSC00311After powdered sugar is added. Frosting is done!

For the Caramel Frosting:

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 1/4 stick butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, divided

1/3 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 teasp0on salt

2 1/4 cups** confectioner’s sugar, sifted

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir brown sugar and 1/2 stick of butter until melted and combined. Bring to boil and boil for 10-15 seconds. Remove from heat and whisk in cream. Transfer to a bowl to cool completely.

Once mixture is nearly cool, place remaining butter into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and salt and beat until mixture is smooth. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Beat an additional few seconds. Turn mixer to low and slowly add caramel mixture. Scrape down bowl and, with mixer on low, add powdered sugar. Once incorporated, beat until smooth. (Baked note: If mixture seems too loose, refrigerate 5-10 minutes until in firms up. Mine was OK, so I didn’t have to do this.)

**Original recipe called for 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar. I added approximately a 1/4 cup more because I didn’t think it was sweet enough. I also wanted the cream cheese flavor to be less pronounced.

DSC00315Assembly of the cake. This is the top layer. Bottom layer is frosted the same way!

DSC00316(Do you see the spider web of my cooling rack imprinted on the cake? Pretty!)

DSC00319All frosted!

Once cakes are completely cool, transfer bottom layer to your serving dish. Using an offset spatula and approximately 3/4 of frosting, spread frosting evenly on top. Place second layer on top of first and frost top in the same way. Using remaining frosting, iced sides of cake. Refrigerate cake for 15 minutes to set before serving.

Store in the refrigerator covered for up to 3 days. Allow to come up to almost room temp for serving.

If desired you can drizzle Sweet and Salty Caramel on top of cake and also use it to serve on the side. (I didn’t get pictured when I was making this, so the recipe will be coming up in the next couple weeks when I have the chance to make it again and take the pics.)

(Kanto)

Vasilopita

17 Jan

Although we’re a few weeks into January – it is still January so I wanted to do a quick post on Vasilopita.

Last year, there were several things going on within our family plus wedding planning plus trying to maintain calm, patient, hopeful  and sane.  My mother-in-law was not able to bake the traditional bread/cake that she would normally make for the New Year, but one of the sisters and myself had the same thought – we each baked our own Vasilopita on her behalf.  Vasilopita is a bread/cake that is traditionally baked for the New Year.  The cake is cut to bless your home and bring good luck in the new year.  It is usually cut at midnight by the head of the house hold and a slice of cake is designated for each member of the family.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

24 Oct

Confession time: I really don’t like help when I’m baking. It kinda stresses me out. BUT, the kids love to help. Quite the quandary, right?

Well, Max really wanted to make these cupcakes and so did I, so with the help of Jasper, we (I) put away the stress and we got down to business.

Max’s main job was reading the recipe for me while we were gathering and dumping ingredients. Jasper loves to dump so that was his main job, but he had to take turns with Max.

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Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake

12 Sep

One of my favorite summertime vegetables has got to be the zucchini. Not only does it lend itself to numerous savory dishes (roasted in the oven, fritters, with pasta) but also the sweet variety. Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake is just the latest one at my house. The zucchini I got from my mom in law’s garden, the recipe from The Joy the Baker Cookbook.

Very similar to traditional zucchini bread, but with a richer taste and a denser texture. Joy suggests using her Brown Sugar Cream Cheese frosting to top the cake, but I opted with a simple dusting of powdered sugar. It didn’t last long at our house. Dessert in the evening, breakfast in the morning.

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