Tag Archives: cake

6 months ago today….

8 Jul

IMG_2023

…I wrote this post, and began my blogging journey at Hungry Healthy Hilary (which began as Hungry Happy Healthy, but was changed due to URL availability).

I’d been an avid healthy living and food blog reader for a couple of years. I had even been encouraged to start a blog by a family member (I tried and gave up several years back). But on January 8 2011, I finally took the plunge.

I’ve read on other blogs how blogging has changed the blogger’s life, but you really can’t understand until you become a blogger yourself and become part of this amazing community.

If you told me six months ago that I would be planning a 9 hour road trip to a Blogging Conference with someone I had never met (Donna) and have made a friend halfway across the country (Katie), I don’t know if I would have believed you….but I am SO glad that both things are true! I look forward to many more months and years of HHH and the amazing connections that come out of it. And of course, a HUGE thank-you to you, my readers, for for reading all of my ramblings. Without you, I’d just be talking to myself. Knowing that I inspire or help you even just a little makes what I do worthwhile.

Happy 6 months, HHH!

IMG_2018In honour of my blog birthday, I’m sharing the cake recipe that I made for my mom’s birthday on Wednesday. I made a chocolate cappuccino cake. The idea came from this PC Blue Menu Vanilla Latte cold drink mix I bought last summer, and have only used once or twice. While the stuff is good, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the same (or less) calories, I can make a cold coffee-ish drink that I like just as much (if not better). So what to do with the mix? Put it in a cake filling, naturally!

For the chocolate cake, I took an old WW recipe from the oldie-but-goodie All Things Sweet book I’ve mentioned before. Even though it was a light recipe, it had 2 cups of sugar, which seemed like a lot to me, so I reduced the sugar to one cup and used 3/4 cup Splenda…tasted fine to me. I also used plain yogurt instead of sour cream (‘cause that’s what I had), and baked 3 thin layers instead of 2 regular-sized ones (I wanted lots of room for that filling). Below is the recipe as I made it (I didn’t take a pic of the cake ingredients ‘cause I was living on the edge and feeling rebellious…crazy, I know).

IMG_2019

The filling was just a variation of the stuff that I made for my grandma’s birthday rhubarb angel food cake, only I used the latte mix instead of Splenda, and added vanilla extract and cinnamon at the end (those two were last minute additions, as I thought that the filling just lacked something, hence why they have their own photo). Please note that the quantities listed are as I would plan to make it. In actuality, it was slightly less  than 1/2 cup yogurt and slightly more than 2 cups Cool Whip, as I was in a “I-want-to-use-it-up-and-not-put-away-any-extra-or-open-a-new-container” kind of mood when I made the filling. Winking smile

Chocolate Cappucino Cake (cake recipe adapted from Weight Watchers: All Things Sweet)

Cake

Cooking spray

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup Splenda

10 tablespoons light margarine (recipe calls for softened light butter, which I find difficult to find, I used the light Becel margarine in a tub – it turned out fine)

3/4 cup egg substitute

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt (or sour cream)

3/4 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling

1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup fat-free cream cheese, softened

2 cups fat-free Cool Whip

2/3 cup PC Blue Menu Vanilla Latte Instant Drink Mix (although I’m sure any brand of instant vanilla cappuccino/latte mix would work)

A splash of vanilla extract

A couple dashes cinnamon

Optional: cocoa powder to dust and fresh strawberries to decorate (I also think chocolate shavings and/or chocolate-coated espresso beans would be lovely)

Preheat oven to 350. Coat  3 (8 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.

Beat sugar, Splenda and butter/margarine until well-blended (by hand or with a mixer – you choose. I did by hand). Gradually add egg substitute; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Gently stir in boiling water and vanilla.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 21 minutes (if you know me, you know I don’t like to be exact in my kitchen timing or alarm clock setting, so you can bake for a nice round number, but proceed at your own risk – you’ve been warned), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes in pans on a wire rack, then turn cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

To make filling, combine softened cream cheese and yogurt with a spatula, stir in the latte mix. Gently fold in Cool Whip, then the vanilla and cinnamon.

To assemble, put one layer on a cake plate and evenly spread with filling. Repeat with remaining two layers. If desired, dust with cocoa powder and garnish with berries. Store cake covered in the refrigerator. ***Cut with a serrated (bread) knife – after a few hours in the fridge, it cuts beautifully.

IMG_2020

IMG_2021Side note about putting this cake in the fridge. Since our fridge was full of birthday supper food (which I will potentially share in upcoming posts), I had to take the cake out to our extra garage fridge. Since it was on a tall, covered, footed cake plate, I needed to remove a shelf from the fridge. However, my car was too far forward, so I had to go grab my keys and back up a bit. First attempt, not far enough. Second attempt, I could just barely get the shelf out, but in the process of doing so, knocked out a glass jar of maraschino cherries and it broke on the garage floor! Sad smile You can bet that was a treat to clean up! I just thought you’d enjoy one of the many kitchen mishaps in the life of a food blogger.Winking smile

IMG_2022

This question is mainly for my fellow bloggers (although anyone can put in their two cents): How has blogging changed your life?

Oh, and HAPPY FRIDAY everyone!

Advertisements

Weekend Baking

13 Jun

IMG_1724

IMG_1734

It doesn’t seem like many weekends go by when I’m not baking something, quite often more than one thing.  This weekend was a case in point. I owed my brother-in-law some baking for his monthly birthday sweets instalment. Inspired partly by his love of chocolate mint and partly by the package of mini peppermint patties that had been in my cupboard for some time, I whipped up a quick batch of chocolate mint brownies. To make ‘em, follow this recipe and add a bit of peppermint extract and stir in the patties.IMG_1752

Baking project number two was a birthday cake for my dear grandma, who turned 82 yesterday (love you grandma). Appearance-wise, it’s not the best cake I’ve done, but taste-wise it was a big hit. It was a rhubarb-filled angel food cake with a tangy vanilla frosting. Super-light, but not light on taste at all. Several at the table had seconds, so that’s always a good sign, right?

Rhubarb Filled Angel Food Cake

1 package angel food cake mix, plus necessary water

3 cups chopped rhubarb

Splenda or sweetener of your choice, to tasteIMG_1732

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water

1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

1/2 cup fat-free cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp Splenda

1 tsp vanillaIMG_1728

2 cups thawed fat free or light Cool Whip

 

1. Make angel food cake according to package directions in a tube pan. Let cool completely.

2. To make filling, bring rhubarb, Splenda and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes until rhubarb is tender and broken down. Stir in the water/cornstarch mixture, increase heat, allow filling to come to a boil and thicken. Remove from heat, cool completely.

3. To make frosting, stir together the cream cheese and yogurt with a spatula. Stir in vanilla and Splenda. Gently fold in the cool whip.

4. To assemble cake, use a serrated knife and gently cut the angel food cake into 3 layers. Spread cooled filling over the first layer. Top with second layer and spread filling over it (you will have a little extra filling). Cover top and sides of cake with icing, decorate if desired.

5. Slice cake with a serrated knife, and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Mmmmm! I love rhubarb (the filling was basically just stewed rhubarb, thickened with cornstarch) and angel food cake is always a sure bet if you want a “healthy” dessert. Feel free to make it from scratch if you want to, it’s just a bit time-consuming, and I didn’t have time to spare this weekend. And the frosting! The Cool Whip made it super fluffy, and the yogurt gave it a nice tang. It wasn’t overly sweet at all (even my mom, not an icing fan, loved it). Try this! If rhubarb isn’t in season, you could make the filling with any number of fruits.

IMG_1726

 

The cake came out of the pan a bit roughly, but as I always say, icing covers a multitude of sins. Smile

 

 

IMG_1727

There were lots of moist, delicious crumbs that clung to the pan when I turned out the cake. I didn’t let them go to waste, and I trust you won’t either (after all, there’s no fat in them, you’re practically eating air!) Winking smile

IMG_1730

 

This is what the filling looks like right after you add the cornstarch, but before it’s totally thickened up.

 

 

 

IMG_1751

 

Two layers of the cake, covered with filling, waiting for the top layer and the frosting.

 

 

 

IMG_1733

 

 

The frosting’s all whipped up and ready to go!

 

 

 

I just love rhubarb desserts, Unfortunately. even though they contain fruit, desserts like rhubarb pies and crisps are typically pretty high in fat/calories (unless of course you make Katie’s crockpot version), and reserved for special occasions. This cake puts rhubarb back within reach for for any day! What are your favourite ways to use rhubarb?

Happy birthday Grandpa!

20 Feb

My grandpa turns 81 this week. Today we celebrated as a family, and, surprise, surprise…guess who made the cake? I was racking my brain yesterday trying to decide what kind of cake to go with. I love to experiment with different combinations of cake and icing flavours. But, I wasn’t feeling particularly creative yesterday, plus, my grandpa is not the most adventurous of eaters. So, I decided to go with a family favourite – carrot cake. Our preferred carrot cake recipe comes from my Great Aunt Marguerite, whom I sadly never got away as she passed away from cancer long before I was born. However, she lives on through this carrot cake – a family favourite for as long as I can remember.

Although it is a time-honoured recipe, I take a few liberties with it. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of oil…that’s a lot! I reduced the oil to half a cup and added 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce. I also cut back on the sugar – from 2 cups to 1 1/2. It’s such a moist cake that you don’t miss the extra oil at all (and my family agreed). I also use reduced-fat cream cheese in the frosting.

To decorate the cake as I did (I was tired last night and wanted something quicker than making more icing and piping designs), melt about 1/4 cup chocolate chips with a tbsp or 2 of butter. Drizzle around the border of the cake (and on the sides if you wish) and swirl with the tip of a knife. I piped the 81 by putting some of the chocolate mixture in a ziploc bag and cutting off the corner. The red garnish is smarties (leftover from Valentine’s Day).

A food processor is VERY helpful for grating the carrots….it makes quick work of what would otherwise be a very long and tedious process on a box grater (3 cups is a lot). In fact, growing up, carrot cake is the only thing I remember our giant food processor being used for (besides maybe the occasional coleslaw). It was always stored way high up in the kitchen, so only got dragged out when it was absolutely necessary!

I have a lot of happy memories connected with this cake. My mom made it for many birthdays growing up. Also, my sister and brother-in-law had cupcakes instead of a wedding cake at their wedding, and it was this recipe that made the carrot ones! And my one of my mom’s good friends loves this cake, and so most years, I make her one to give as a gift. I have even made it into mini carrots…mushed up the cake, mixed with cream cheese icing, shaped into carrots, let chill, then coat in orange candy coating and put green on the top for the leaves….will have to find a picture of that to show! So this is an oldie, but a goodie!

Although I LOVE this cake, I didn’t have any today 😦 (well, except for the few crumbs I snagged when I was cutting and the batter I ate yesterday). While I am never one to turn down dessert, I felt like I needed to show some discipline. I am going over to a friend’s tonight and I know there will be lots of nibbling there. And even with my cutbacks, this cake is still an indulgence. I am feeling like I could stand to drop a few pounds….you know the feeling when you’ve put on just a bit of weight…not enough that many other people would notice…but you do? Your can still fit in your clothes, but they are just a little too snug…and even though you try to deny it, you know you are not at your “happy weight”? Even though I avoid scales like the plague, I know that I’m not where I want to be right now…so I’m trying to cut back where I can. It’s not always fun….but such is life, if you want to fit into your jeans. I’ll keep you posted…I’m sure you’ll hear more about the process.

Anyways, I don’t want to end this post on a downer. Here’s the recipe…I hope it brings you as many memories as it has to me and my family. Do you have any recipes that have special memories for you? I’d love to hear about them.

Aunt Marguerite’s Carrot Cake (with Hilary’s modifications)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 round cake pans with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the following:

2 cups cake and pastry flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce (reduced from 1 1/2 cups oil)

1 tsp salt

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar (reduced from 2 cups)

3 cups grated carrots (save yourself some trouble – use a food processor!)

Mix well, then pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, then at 300 for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the frosting (sorry for lack or precise measurements, but this is how I do it!), cream together 1/2 cup softened butter and one brick softened light cream cheese until smooth. Add a splash of vanilla and enough icing sugar until spreadable consistency (I’d guess between 2 and 3 cups, but use your judgment). Beat until smooth. Store in the refrigerator if not using immediately.

Frost cooled cake with icing. Cut into slices and enjoy!

More Nutella

6 Feb

As promised, as part of World Nutella Day, here is another Nutella recipe (return to healthier eats tomorrow, I promise)! I made these yesterday for the Super Bowl party I was supposed to be co-hosting today. But, sadly it was canceled as my friend’s grandmother passed away unexpectedly. Since the party wasn’t happening, I took them over to my friend and her family (I am not good at offering words of comfort, but I’ve got the food part covered)…when all else fails, bring chocolate….plus, these things are AMAZING and dangerous to have around, so I was eager to get them out of the house!

If you are a Paula Deen fan, you’ve likely heard of her gooey butter cakes. I have made them a couple of times, I like to add skor bits and chocolate chips. As I was trying to find a suitable Nutella recipe for the party, nothing was jumping out at me. But then I remembered that there was a peanut butter variation to the basic gooey butter cake recipe and I thought, why not substitute Nutella? And these babies were born….and they are gooooood!

As with the Nutella Brownies, I *technically* didn’t have any. But there were some that had uneven edges, some were just a little too big, and, let’s get serious people, I had never made these before, I couldn’t let them leave my kitchen without a little taste, could I? (Confession: this is why I like to make squares/bars – there are always edges you can cut off and feel less guilty because you didn’t eat a whole one…with cookies, it’s all or nothing 😛 ). They were YUMMY! You have to try gooey butter cakes yourself to experience the texture….when they come out of the oven they look under-baked (that’s a good thing). They truly are gooey and fudgy and like nothing else. As with the brownies, I wish the Nutella flavour had been a little stronger (maybe that’s just the way it is with Nutella baked goods?), but no complaints. Thank you Paula Deen, for helping me celebrate World Nutella Day (and bringing comfort to my friend and her family) in my own unique way.

Here is the recipe how I made it:

Nutella Gooey Butter Cakes – adapted from Paula Deen

Cake:
1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix (you could use either chocolate or yellow…I actually used a mix because I had partial cake mixes left over from other recipes)
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 16-ounce box powdered sugar (This is an American recipe, I had to get out my kitchen scale to measure, but I think it’s about one 500 g package here in Canada)

1 cup Nutella

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan (I did my standard parchment paper and cooking spray trick).  Prepare Filling

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat together. Add Nutella, beat until incorporated. Add butter and beat together.

Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well.  Spread over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes (it took me more like an hour, but I was using a stoneware pan).  Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

Once  mostly cooled, melt chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over the bars. Let chocolate set, then cut into squares (they are super-rich, so keep them small)!

So…funny story about the chocolate I used to drizzle over these. In December, I received a while chocolate snowman from one of my students as a Christmas gift. I am not a white chocolate person (it’s not even technically chocolate!)…I consider it a waste of time and calories (no offense meant if you’re a white chocolate fan). I should have just given it to someone else, but I never got around to it, and Christmas came and went. So when I decided to give these squares the ol’ drizzle treatment, Frosty came to mind. I melted him down with some semi-sweet chocolate chips, and no one was the wiser (except for all of you now…but I know you won’t tell…will you?). The semi-sweet even disguised the white chocolate taste, so that licking the leftover chocolate off of the bowl was a pleasant experience. 🙂 Sorry Frosty!

I hope you have enjoyed my Nutella experiences, and will try them (or some other Nutella recipes) for yourself. Happy Super Bowl Sunday as well…hope you are enjoying some tasty game day grub!

 

Cinnamon Apple Almond Pound Cake

22 Jan

As I mentioned on my snow day, I will take any opportunity to bake. Sometimes, however, those opportunities are not exactly pleasant circumstances, as was the reason for making this cake. An acquaintance of my mother’s passed away. Since I knew I had the day off and would be baking anyways, I offered to bake something for the grieving husband. I am not very good at offering condolences or wise words after the passing of a loved one. However, food is something I can do. I have learned in the last year or so that you don’t need to be an expert in grief counseling to be there for a friend. Just being there and offering whatever you can is enough, and often appreciated more than you might know.

I adapted this recipe from one of my favourite recipes from one of my favourite cookbooks: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. This book has everything I love – decadent recipes for delicious desserts, beautiful illustrations, extra tips and in formation, and lots of beautiful details (polka dots, frills and dessert quotations). If you are like me – girly and a dessert-lover, you should seriously consider buying this book! I haven’t made a lot of recipes from it, but so far everything has been delicious.

I started with the recipe for My Favourite Cream Cheese Pound Cake and went from there. I halved the recipe so it would make one cake instead of two. I have lots of apples in the fridge, some of which are going soft and needed to be used up, so I thought that an apple cinnamon pound cake sounded pretty tasty. I made a streusel, and added some chopped almonds that have been sitting on my counter since last week’s 5 day fast forward.

What I did is make the recipe as directed, then poured half the batter in a loaf pan. I topped this with half of the streusel and 2 chopped, peeled apples. Then I added the rest of the batter and topped with the remaining streusel. It looks like it turned out well – kind of sorry I won’t get to taste it, but I’m glad to be able to offer something to a grieving family. Only 2 minor issues – the apples increased the bake time A LOT (it took about an hour and a half)…and getting it out of the pan. I let it cool, then loosened with a knife, but for some reason only the top half came out when I flipped it over. I was able to use a spatula to loosen the bottom half and set it directly on top, and then flip the whole thing together and I think it looked okay.

Mmm…the batter for this cake is so yummy! That is my one major weakness – when I am baking, I just can’t stop myself from eating the batter and licking the bowl – and I know all that tasting adds up!

Here’s the adapted recipe:

Cinnamon Apple Almond Pound Cake

Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

4 oz (half a package) cream cheese, room temperature

1  1/2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 small apples, peeled and chopped

Streusel:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

Several dashes cinnamon

1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Make the streusel: combine butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon until crumbly. Stir in the almonds, set aside.

Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until pale and fluffy. Beat in the salt and vanilla.

Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour along with the baking powder into the batter (I just measure them both into a fine mesh strainer and shook it over the batter) and, using a large rubber spatula, fold in until no traces of flour remain and the batter is smooth.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with half of the streusel and the chopped apples. Spread remaining batter over the apples and sprinkle with remaining streusel . Bake until the top is golden and slightly cracked (this was about 90 minutes for me, but I would start checking after about 75 minutes) and a skewer inserted comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for at least ten minutes, then run a knife around the sides and turn the cake out on the pan to cool completely before serving.

This cake freezes beautifully. If you want to make plain pound cake, just omit the apples and streusel and bake for 60 to 75 minutes. You can double the quantities above to make two. This cake is great in trifle.