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Everyday Chocolate Loaf Cake

October 7, 2011
Thank you all for the happy birthday wishes and for your support as I balance a whole host of things that are piling onto my platter. I can promise you that I’ll have more information for you about unspoken happenings by the end of the month.
Now, let’s talk about cake. Although Joey and I celebrated my birthday with an ice cream cake this year, I made these little individual chocolate loaf cakes a few weeks back after spotting them on Smitten Kitchen for a little early birthday celebrating. 
Although I’m famous for not loving chocolate like most people seem to (including my hubby), something about this simple recipe called out to me. You see, when it comes to baking, there are few things I love more than a simple cake recipe. I guess I still believe deep down inside that cakes are supposed to be simple, Little House on the Prairie style. It makes absolutely no sense, I know. 
This recipe made enough cake to feed a small crowd, or a few hungry chocolate lovers for days on end. I found that dividing the batter among individual loaves as opposed to one giant loaf made it easier to freeze some of the cake and save it for later. Which, of course, comes in handy when the craving for chocolate strikes. 
Everyday Chocolate Loaf Cake 
Recipe just slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
*1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
*1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 large egg
*1 cup buttermilk
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*3/4 cup whole wheat flour
*3/4 cup all-purpose flour
*3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter three mini loaf pans (you can also just use one standard-sized loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes). Line the bottom of the baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside. 
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs. Beat until just combined, followed by the buttermilk and vanilla. 
*In a large bowl, beat together the flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the mixture in the bowl, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Scrape down the batter from the sides of the bowl and transfer batter into the prepared pans. 
*Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 
Happy Baking!

Whole Wheat Apple CInnamon Bread

January 13, 2011

I have the most delicious bread for you. Serious goodness coming your way. It had such a profound impact on me that I made it last weekend, and then I baked another loaf this week and am already down to a single piece. In my own defense, I brought four slices to work yesterday.

While writing about this apple bread, I began to realize that I have a slight obsession with quick breads of every kind. So if, for some unknown reason, apple bread isn’t your thing, maybe one of these is:

Butterfinger-Pumpkin Bread 
Whole Wheat Flax Seed Banana Bread  
Banana Bread Ultimate

Since the snow keeps falling and the wind keeps blowing here, I don’t think I’ll be getting sick of hearty quick breads any time soon. Anyone else out there have a favorite quick bread recipe? Share them in the comments below! 

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Bread
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook 

The first time I made this bread, I skipped the refrigeration stage. While the bread was still delicious, it didn’t hold together like I wanted it to. The second time, with refrigeration, yielded a much more pleasing result. Don’t skip this step and save yourself some grief. 

*3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*2 tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*2 large eggs
*1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
*3/4 cup granulated sugar 
*2 tablespoons apricot or peach preserves
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
*2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

*Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, flax seed, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
*In a second bowl with an electric mixer or by hand, beat together eggs, butter and sugar until creamy and well combined. Stir in preserves and ground cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in chopped apples.
*Transfer batter to loaf pan and smooth top with a spatula. Refrigerate in the loaf pan for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and just slightly soft in the center. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the loaf and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to eat.

Happy Baking!


Butterfinger-Pumpkin Bread

October 28, 2010

Having candy on hand in my apartment is a rarity. In fact, I rarely even have chocolate chips lying around. Some baker I am. Thankfully, I live within walking distance of Target, making it easy to go grab supplies and a whole lot less tempting than having chocolate in the house. But last week while Joey (yes, I’ve decided to start calling him by his real name!) and I were up in Minneapolis, his mom sent us all home with a giant bag of Halloween candy.

Knowing I needed to get that candy out of my apartment fast, I saved a few pieces for my secret stash and got to baking with the rest. A majority of said candy was mini Butterfinger candy bars, which I think really go well with the flavors of classic fall baking. And by fall baking, I mean pumpkin treats. For a few weeks now, pumpkin bread has been on my list of things to bake and those extra Butterfingers were just the push I needed.

Adapted from Baking in America by Greg Patent, this recipe is killer. Crispy on the outside, sweet, dense and moist on the inside.  And the Butterfingers? It seems that pumpkin and Butterfinger were meant to be together. Give it a try and I think you’ll agree.

I’m off to get ready for the weekend. My mom and Joey are coming to stay with me and I’ve got cleaning to do! Do any of you have Halloween plans?

Butterfinger-Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Baking In America by Greg Patent 
(Printable Recipe)

*1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1 tsp. baking powder
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. ground ginger
*1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
*1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfingers (about 14 mini candy bars)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cardamom, and ginger. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat the eggs for about 1 minute, until frothy. Add both sugars and beat until creamy and thick, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin, vanilla, and oil until smooth. Stir in the Butterfingers. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
*Bake for 50 to 60 (it was more like 65 minutes for me) until the loaf is well browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and turn the loaf right side up on the rack to cool completely. Cut with a serrated knife.

Happy Baking!


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