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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Playing Vegetable

In a time of sugar, sugar, and more sugar, I give you a relatively healthy indulgence.  These zucchini carrot bars carry their own weight, needing no frosting or other adornments.  They’re sweet enough to rest nicely among your taste buds and delicious enough to want seconds and thirds.  Don’t worry, though, I have some real sweet treats in the works for you.

Carrot and Zucchini Bars

2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, honey, and vanilla.  Stir in the carrot and zucchini.
In another bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon.  Whisk to blend together.  Stir in walnuts.
Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir until just combined. Spread batter into a lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen.

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It’s been awhile since I last posted and I feel kind of guilty about it.  I haven’t been baking a lot or even cooking a lot and I’m not sure why.  I’m trying to muster up some motivation but this being healthy thing (or TRYING to be healthy) seems to take a lot of energy!

I managed to drag myself into the kitchen this past Father’s Day, though, as I was baking my presents this year.  There were two cakes to be prepared since I celebrate both my father and stepfather and all that they’ve done for me!

Picking what kind of cakes to make was pretty much a no-brainer for me.  My step-dad loves pistachios so a fresh pistachio cake was the obvious choice.  The second cake choice was made because it was a cake recipe that my dad and I used when I was little — bringing back the nostalgia.  I wasn’t able to taste either cake due to time constraints but I’m told that both were very delicious and seconds were had.

But without further ado…THE CAKES!  The first is adapted from Three Many Cooks.

Fresh Pistachio Cake

Cake:
3/4 cup shelled pistachios (plus 1/4 cup for decorating)
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 package instant pistachio pudding mix
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white, at room temperature
3/4 cup ice cold water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Honey Vanilla Buttercream:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Generously butter two 9-inch round cake pans.

In the bowl of food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are coarsely chopped. Transfer about 2 tablespoons’ worth of the coarse pistachios to a large bowl. Continue to process the rest of the pistachios until they resemble a fine crumb.  Stir the chopped pistachios into the reserved coarse pistachios and then combine with the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.

Beat the butter and shortening until creamy and light. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, add the whole egg, and beat until just combined.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl in three parts, alternating with the ice water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl and make sure everything is incorporated.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white and cream of tartar until soft peaks form (You can do this by hand and it should only take 2 to 3 minutes). Do not overbeat. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add milk and cream and cook over medium heat whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl and beat on high speed until cool (this takes at least 7 to 9 minutes of mixing) then add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Beat until frosting is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and honey and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is proper consistency.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a serving platter. If the top is uneven, trim to create a flat surface then evenly spread about 1/4 to 1/2 cup frosting on top. Add the top layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for bout 15 minutes to firm up. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish the cake with crushed pistachios and refrigerate it for 15 minutes to it firm up before serving.

Let the cake sit a room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.

And the next cake!

Espresso Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brewed, cooled coffee
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
4 eggs
1 egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously grease a fluted cake pan with removable bottom.  Place a sheet of tinfoil around the bottom of the cake pan to avoid any leakage.  In a medium bowl whisk flour, espresso powder, baking powder, and baking soda then set aside.  In a small bowl, mix the milk and coffee together.  In a large bowl cream the vegetable shortening and sugar together.  Add eggs, egg white, and vanilla to the creamed mixture and stir to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the bowl in three parts, alternating with the coffee/milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 90 minutes.  Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for about 20 minutes and then remove outer pan to cool completely.  Feel free to dust with powdered sugar for a little added touch!

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