Friday, October 23, 2009

Everybody Needs A Little Peabody

There are so many great blogs out there to read but my absolute favorite is Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. This blog is written by the immensely talented and world famous Peabody Rudd - well, she is famous in the blog world - and her blog never disappoints.  Not only is her photography outstanding but her posts are witty and the recipes are to-die-for.    Her blog is the one that I turn to for inspiration and what I want my blog to be like when it grows up.

I have been gathering a list of must-try recipes from Peabody's blog for a while and decided that now is as good a time as any to give one of them a try.  They all look so good that it was hard to chose the first one.  Since I had all the ingredients on hand I decided on the Vanilla Yogurt Cake with Orange Glaze. I went with her suggestion and made these in mini loaf pans.  I made seven mini loaves from this recipe which meant that everyone in the family got their own loaf and I had one to spare. I don't know how we will decide who gets that last one.  Maybe we will have to try and cut the mini loaf into six slices.

The aroma from the vanilla as they were baking was wonderful. I think everyone had their eye on the timer to see how soon they would be ready. I was really happy with the golden color and how well the cakes rose in their tins.  As soon as the timer went off everyone was anxious to try one.  I had to quickly explain that they needed to cool a little bit and that I had to glaze them before they were eaten or I am sure they would have been gone in the blink of an eye.   I decided to glaze them with lemon rather than orange, so the only changes I made to this recipe was to omit the orange juice and substitute lemon juice in both the cake and the glaze. I am going to attach some photos but, as you can see, I need a bit more practice in this department.  They really don't do the cakes justice at all.  As much as I would love to blame the lighting, or lack of, in my kitchen I know it is more the person pushing the button.

It was thrilling to know that the first recipe I tried from Peabody's site was a success.  Not that I had any doubts at all with regards to her recipe.  If there had been any problems it was more likely to be user-error than anything else.  I hope that you head over to her site and take a look for yourself.  I am sure that you will enjoy it and quickly become a regular visitor.

Vanilla Yogurt Cake with Orange Glaze


 Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seed scraped out, pod discarded
  • 1 ½ TBSP vanilla extract
  • 7 oz Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 TBSP orange juice, divided

Directions:

  1. Spray two 6 x 3.2 x 3.4 inch loaf pans with baking spray. Or coat with butter and flour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or a large bowl and and electric hand mixer), beat together the egg, egg yolk, and sugar on medium-high speed, until it turns pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla beans, vanilla extract, and oil, beat another minute, until fully incorporated.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add half the amount of dry ingredients. Then add half the amount of Greek yogurt, and 2 TBSP of the orange juice. Add remaining dry ingredients and followed by the remaining yogurt. Remove from mixer and finish mixing by hand using a spatula until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  6. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven. Using a toothpick or large wooden skewer poke holes into the cake. Using a pastry brush, brush orange juice over hot loaves.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Place on wire rack to finish cooling. When cool, glaze cakes.
Orange Glaze
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
6 TBSP orange juice
Combine the two ingredients together with a whisk. Pour over cakes.


Recipe courtesy of : Culinary Concoctions by Peabody












Monday, October 19, 2009

I am back with a Best-Ever Apple Cake

Wow, that was a longer break than I intended to take.  It has been a crazy few weeks with my DH away doing a job and then we went to watch him compete in his 5th Kona Ironman on the Big Island of Hawaii.  We were all very proud of him even if he didn't have the race of his dreams due to injury.  Seriously, anyone who competes in an Ironman deserves a lot of respect.  It is a grueling race, and for those unfamiliar with it, consists of a 2.4 miles (3.86 km) swim, a 112 miles (180.25 km) bike and a marathon (26 miles 385 yards, 42.195 km) run, raced in that order and without a break.  He competes next weekend in the Xterra World Championship next weekend in Makena, Maui. No rest for the wicked :)

Whilst I was away I was flicking thought the latest issue of Redbook and there were a couple of apple recipes that looked interesting.  I decided to start with the Best-Ever Apple Cake.  I have to say that once everything was measured out and chopped this cake came together very quickly. I decided to try a new flour that I had purchased from Costco. It is an all-purpose unbleached flour that is a mix of white and ultragrain. The package states that it has double the fiber of other all-purpose flours.  I like the idea of adding something healthy to my baking.  Now I just have to use of the rest of the flour.   Since it came in two ten-pound bags, I predict a lot of baking in my future.

So, did the cake live up to its lofty title?  Was it the Best-Ever Apple Cake?  Hmmmm....I am not so sure about that.  Since the nuts were on the bottom of the pan they received the most heat and I detected a slightly bitter/burnt taste from the outside of the cake.  It might have been a better idea to layer the pecans with the apple mixture inside the cake.  Also, to give this cake a little more flavor and color, next time I will add some chopped cranberries to the apple mixture.  It did smell good coming out of the oven and everyone was eager to have a warm slice.  My youngest decided that a little whipped cream would go nicely with this cake and I have to say that she was right.



 Best-Ever Apple Cake

Yields: 12 slices
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 20 min
Oven Temp: 350F



Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup(s) chopped pecans
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 4  large baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 4  large eggs
  • 1/2 cup(s) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup(s) orange juice
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10-inch removable-bottom tube pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle pecans evenly on bottom of pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and cinnamon. Add apples and toss to combine.
  3. In another large bowl, mix remaining flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, oil, butter, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Beat until batter is smooth.
  4. Pour half of the batter (about 2 cups) into prepared pan. Top with half of apple mixture. Spoon remaining batter over apples and top with remaining apples, placing them 1/4 inch in from the tube and the border of the cake.
  5. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides and center of cake and turn cake out onto wire rack. Invert cake onto another rack to cool, apple side up.