Monday, July 19, 2010

Blueberry Yogurt and Olive Oil Cakes

I think some of my best recipes/mad-scientist creations have come out of a necessity to use up excess ingredients. In this case I had an extra tub of yogurt and about 4 bags of frozen blueberries. (note to self: just because the blueberries are cheap doesn't mean I have to buy all of them...) I perused some "yogurt loaf" recipes, and created the following.

The cake has a much more complex flavor than your typical blueberry muffin recipe. The yogurt gives it almost a tangy, cheesecake flavor. The best part is that it is so SMOOTH and moist. Ohmygoshyum. This is my first experience with an olive oil cake, and I will be sure to have more asap. Lighter than pound cake, but heavier than a regular cake. I'm in love.


INGREDIENTS: (makes one regular "loaf" or 4 minis)
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup full fat yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Mix together the first 3 ingredients in one bowl. Put these dry ingredients to the side.

3. In a separate bowl, cream together yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla and olive oil. Once these are nice and creamy, add blueberries.

4. Little by little, add dry ingredients to the wet. Mix just until mixed. A few lumps are ok.

5. Pour into greased loaf pan/s and bake for 40 minutes (for the mini loaf pans) or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Martha Stewart's Ultimate Chocolate Cake

If I haven't already mentioned it, I LOVE Martha. When I say love, I mean obsessed. It's a little much. In fact, I just spent about 20 minutes in PetsSmart looking at her new pet line. Everything she touches is gold. The fact that she went to prison and then came back to make her company even stronger makes her that much cooler. With that being said, I hope I have done her recipe justice.

I made this cake for an office birthday party. The birthday gentleman requested chocolate cake with chocolate icing, so I wanted to make it epic. I wanted people to have their veins flowing with chocolate by the time they were done eating a slice. I should also mention that the birthday party gave me a reason to bake other than to just make a cake and eat it all myself....

When I made the cake, I had left over batter, but not enough to make a whole other layer, so I decided to make cupcakes. The whole recipe makes enough for a two layer cake and 3 giant cupcakes. Perfect! Warning: I didn't flour the pans after greasing them, so I had a few near disasters! Both cakes had a crack on a corner, but I melted some chocolate and used it as a glue to put all the pieces in their place. Problem solved!

As it is Sunday evening and I am feeling a little on the lazy side, HERE is the link to the cake recipe. Additionally, HERE is the link to the ultimate chocolate frosting. Wanting to lick your spoon already? I thought so.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Italian Sesame Brittle

I was lucky enough to be able to take a trip to Italy in high school, and OF COURSE one of the best parts was the food. Little secret here: I could not fit in to any of my clothes when I got home. Oops! Too much gelato for me...

Anyway, I remember trying these and then buying a whole bag of them in an Italian candy shop, and then again in the Duty Free store at the Rome airport! They are great because they are sweet, but not too sweet. They have a subtlety to them that is unmatched in any other candy I've found. On top of everything else, they have a nice nutty tone from the sesame seeds.

I was super happy to find this recipe, from Great Italian Desserts Now, if I could only find a recipe to make the incredible little Italian Baci Balls


1 1/2 cup sesame seeds (I ended up throwing some black sesames in there for a little extra kick)
1 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
Shake of cinnamon

1. In a thick saucepan, heat all ingredients together until temperature shows 160 degrees CELSIUS.

2. *Carefully* pour the hot mess of sugary goodness into a pan lined with wax paper (I used 9x5 inch pan).

3. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Once the mixture is hard enough to cut, but still warm enough to give without cracking, cut into rectangles, squares, or whatever shape you want. Dinosaur shaped? Yes.

***These are great with a REAL, strong Italian cappuccino.
Now, time for me to sit and reminisce...