Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: cake

 

TORTA DI MELE (TUSCAN APPLE CAKE)

Ingredients

2 x large apples, peeled, finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup honey
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large eggs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment cut to fit the bottom of the pan.

Toss the chopped apples into a bowl with the lemon juice and zest.

Mix the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of sea salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, extra virgin olive oil, and eggs together to combine.

Mix the extra virgin olive oil mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth thick batter.

Fold the apples into the batter. then pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar before slicing. You can serve it with honey yogurt. {Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 cup of Greek plain yougurt}


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Lamb Cake

Ingredients

1 pkg store-bought pound cake mix
3/4 to1 cup water (use 1/4 cup less than the package directions-my cake mix calls for 1 1/4 cups of water)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Whipped Cream Frosting, recipe below
1 lamb mold

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare the lamb mold by coating it with vegetable oil. Let sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a paper towel.

Then grease (use a solid shortening) and flour the lamb mold, making sure to get all the creases.

Place the front of the mold on a baking sheet.

Prepare the cake batter according to the cake mix directions.

Fill the mold to the top for the front of the cake, do not fill the backside of the mold.

Place the back of the mold on the front and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake tests are done. (Test with a toothpick through a vent hole in the mold.)

Remove the mold from the oven, wait 10 minutes and remove the back of the body mold.

Stand the cake up and gently remove the front of the mold. Have clean towels rolled up and ready to support the head of the cake, while placing a rolled-up towel in the back of the cake to support that part also.

Place a dab of icing on a plate and stand the cake in an upright position. Frost and decorate with jelly beans, raisins, cherries, or chocolate chips for the eyes and nose.

(Best results cool cake in the refrigerator before frosting, this makes a firmer surface for the icing.) Place green-tinted coconut around the base of the lamb; add jelly beans and a colorful bow at the neck, if desired.

Whipped Cream Frosting

This is a great whipped cream recipe because it does not weep after it sits on the cake.

Ingredients

1 (8 ounces) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream

Decorations: jelly beans, coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, food coloring

Directions

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.

While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

12 buns

Ingredients

1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 cups bread flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons.wheat gluten
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sourdough starter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
Powdered sugar icing, recipe below

Directions

Combine the flour, wheat gluten, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment to thoroughly combine the ingredients.

Add the sourdough starter, milk, butter, and vanilla. Mix together until a dough forms. Add the raisins, and mix them into the dough.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth — about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double — about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until double — about 30 minutes.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 20 minutes or cooked in the center and golden brown in color.

Cool on wire rack. Be sure the buns are completely cool before adding the frosting or the frosting will melt over the buns.

Powdered Sugar Icing

Combine the following ingredients to make a thick frosting.

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

With a spoon, drizzle icing in a cross pattern over each bun.


Ingredients

For the cake:

1 box (15.25 oz) red velvet cake mix
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 box (3.4 oz) chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
4 large eggs

For the topping

1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into thin slices
¼ cup strawberry jelly
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a fluted tube cake pan with non-stick baking spray with flour.

Stir the cake mix, flour, and pudding mix together in a mixing bowl. Add the sour cream, oil, water, and eggs. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 15 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow cooling in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serve the cake sliced with strawberries and whipped cream.

 

The toppings can be prepared ahead of serving time. Refrigerate until needed.
Heat the jelly in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until it is melted. Stin in the sliced strawberries. Set aside to cool.
Whip the v\cream with powdered sugar.


I used fresh pineapple instead of canned because my market had a buy one, get one promotion on cubed fresh pineapple last week. I put the pineapple in my processor and pulsed it until it was the consistency of crushed pineapple. Don’t over-process or you will have juice. The fresh pineapple worked just fine. This very moist cake is good for breakfast, as is, or you may serve it for dessert with sweetened whipped cream,

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups crushed pineapple with juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and thoroughly grease a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sour cream, and sugar.

Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt until completely combined.

Whisk in flour until just incorporated. Slowly stir in the crushed pineapple with a spatula.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Let cake cool to room temperature. Run a thin spatula or knife about the outside of the pan and around the tube. Turn the cake over onto a serving plate.


Italian Cheesecake

serves: 10 to 12

Italian cheesecake is one of the easiest Italian desserts to make and is always a big hit.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup amaretto crumbs from about 5-6 cookies
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups drained whole milk ricotta, at room temperature
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons dark rum
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Powdered sugar and strawberries for optional topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Combine the butter and cookie crumbs together and pour into the baking pan, Press the crumbs over the bottom until firm.

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt at high speed until creamy and doubled in volume for about 5 minutes.

Add ricotta, mascarpone, rum, and lemon and orange zest. Mix on medium until smooth and fluffy, about another 2 minutes.

Put springform pan on a baking sheet and pour batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake until edges are set and lightly golden but the center is still a bit jiggly about 75 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about one hour. With a thin metal spatula, go around the cake in the pan to keep it from sticking to the pan as it cools. Cover the pan and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a serving plate. Cover the top with powdered sugar and strawberries cut in half.


Cherry Topped Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee
Vanilla Frosting, store-bought or recipe below
1 cup dried cherries, rehydrated, see below
Green sprinkles

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Add the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a large mixing bowl or electric mixer and combine.

In another bowl add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract and whisk together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat together until well combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Slowly pour the hot coffee into the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Continue to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is mixed well. The batter will be very thin.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted and comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Spread the frosting over the cake. Decorate with cherries and green sprinkles.

To rehydrate the cherries:

Place the cherries in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur. I used Tuaca a fine spirit with subtle notes of vanilla and citrus, Pour enough boiling water over the cherries to cover them. Let sit for 15 minutes and then drain. Dry the cherries on a paper towel.

To make the vanilla frosting:

ingredients
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

In a small bowl, beat together butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy.



Apple-Pie Cake

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 pounds tart apples, such as Granny Smith
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Sweetened Whipped Cream for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of the pan. Spray again.

Peel apples, cut into thin slices and place in a bowl. Toss apple slices with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ cup brown sugar, and lemon juice, and put them in the prepared pan, pressing down gently as you pack them in the pan.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, mix flour, baking powder, butter, ½ cup brown sugar, eggs, milk, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon just until the batter is smooth. Pour the mixture over the apples in the prepared pan.

Put the pan on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown on top and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and let the cake cool in the pan to set. Remove the pan rim and turn the cake over on a serving plate (apples will be on top).

Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

 


Blueberry Loaves

Makes two loaves that are good for breakfast or dessert.

Ingredients

1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 small to medium very ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Optional Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper cut to fit.

Combine the berries with the ¼ cup flour and set aside. In a separate bowl combine the 3 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl combine the yogurt, banana, milk and lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the yogurt mixture. Add the flour to the egg mixture mixing just until combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pans dividing the mixture in half. I weigh the baking pans as I add the batter to each pan so that they are equal.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes, then remove the loaves from pan and cool on a rack.

For the glaze:
Stir the sugar and lemon juice together until smooth. Drizzle over the Blueberry Loaves.


Coconut Layer Cake

When baking with coconut milk, I use shelf-stable boxed coconut milk.

Layer Cake
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature-very soft)
1 2/3 cups sugar
9 eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups coconut flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 1/3 cups coconut milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch or two 8-inch layer pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine the butter and sugar, and beat together for about 2 minutes using an electric mixer.

Add eggs in one at a time and beat at high speed for about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla while beating the eggs and butter mixture.

Combine the dry ingredients together and add one cup at a time, alternating with the coconut milk. Beat batter for about five minutes on high speed.

Spoon batter into the two prepared cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Place the pans on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before removing the layers from the pans. Cool cakes completely before frosting.

Filling Ingredient
1 cup raspberry or strawberry jam

Frosting Ingredients
1 (8 ounces) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
Toasted or tinted coconut flakes

Prepare the Frosting: Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with a heavy-duty stand mixer using the whisk attachment on medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and heavy cream and beat until fluffy.

Assemble the cake: Place 1 layer on a serving platter, and spread jam over the layer, spreading to within 1/2-inch from the edge. Top with the second layer, and spread frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with toasted coconut.

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup shredded zucchini squeezed to remove water (about 1 medium zucchini)
2 cups Oat Flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix or cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350degrees F. Coat an 8×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the paper.

In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, egg, vanilla extract, honey, milk, and zucchini.

Combine dry ingredients together (oat flour, spices, baking powder/baking soda, salt) and stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients, Fold in walnuts.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden and the cake tester comes out clean.

Allow bread to cool completely for at least 20 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Pumpernickel Bagels

Bagel Dough
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoons molasses
2 cups pumpernickel or dark rye flour
2 tablespoons dehydrated onion
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2-3 cups whole wheat flour

Kettle Water
6 quarts water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

To make the bagel dough:
Whisk 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, yeast, and molasses in a large bowl until the yeast dissolves. Stir in pumpernickel flour, onions, cornmeal, caraway seeds, and 1 tablespoon salt. Stir in enough of the wheat flour to make a soft dough, about 2 cups.

Knead, gradually incorporating more wheat flour, until the dough is resilient and quite firm, 10 to 12 minutes (the dough will remain slightly sticky). Cover the dough with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces; roll each piece into a 10-inch-long rope. Wet the ends lightly with water. Form into bagels by overlapping the ends up 1 inch. Pinch ends together firmly. Set bagels aside, uncovered, to rise until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Bring water, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large pot.

Slip several risen bagels at a time into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 45 seconds, turn them over with a slotted spoon or tongs and cook for 45 seconds longer. Drain the bagels on a clean dish towel and place them on the prepared baking sheets.

Place in the oven, reduce heat to 425°F and bake for 12 minutes. Turn the bagels over and bake 5 more minutes. Cool on wire racks. Bagels freeze very well.


Miss baking your favorite foods because flour and other pantry items are in short supply due to the virus crisis? Have you thought about baking with alternative flours in place of all-purpose flour, such as whole wheat flour, grain flour, bean flour, nut flour, rice flour or coconut flour to name just a few? Any number of them will work as a thickener for gravy and nut flours make delicious pie crusts. Grain flours such as millet, amaranth, quinoa, and teft are high in nutrition and are excellent in muffin, pancake, crepes, cookies and brownie recipes. Coconut flour is excellent for cakes and quick breads. Coconut flour requires more liquid and eggs in a recipe than you may usually use in your all-purpose flour recipes. In the weeks to come, I will be sharing some of my alternative flour recipes with you.

Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar or granular sugar substitute
1 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Lemon syrup, recipe below

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.
Pour all of the batter into the loaf pan and place it in the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top, is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf and comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the loaf cool completely in the pan.
Once completely cool, about two hours later, place the cake on a plate and poke a few holes in the top with a cake tester or fork.
Drizzle the lemon syrup over the top of the cake.
Store pound cake in a container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Lemon Syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute
1/4 cup of water
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Bring to a boil the sugar, water, and zest in a small saucepan. Add the fresh lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature and pour over cake

Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients

Cooking spray
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs using a hand whisk. Whisk in the remaining ingredients one by one., adding the strawberries last.
Using a 4-tablespoon ice cream scoop, transfer the batter to the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 full.
Bake until the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in their center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool the muffins 5 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack, then transfer the muffins directly to the cooling rack to cool 10 more minutes before serving.

Banana Walnut Pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup store-bought gluten-free pancake mix

Or make your own:
Gluten-Free Pancakes Dry Mix 1 1/2 cups (210 g) basic gluten-free flour 9any kind), (140 grams superfine white rice flour + 45 grams potato starch + 25 grams tapioca starch/flour) 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Maple syrup for serving

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine pancake mix sugar, and cinnamon.
Stir in egg, milk, oil, bananas, and walnuts; until well combined (batter will be slightly lumpy).


Heat lightly oiled grill or frying pan over medium heat. Pour batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides; serve hot with maple syrup.



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