Happy Easter

Wishing you a Happy Easter. I hope your spring weather is as great as ours is on the West Coast!

Can’t go without chocolate!

Ina’s Old-Fashioned Banana Cake

I made this on a busy Sunday. We had friends over for dinner the night before and we were having another over for dinner on the Sunday.I chose not to recycle the Coconut Cream Pie from the night before so I needed to make something new.

One of my kitchen new year’s resolutions was to be mindful and use our vast collection of cookbooks.

I had not used Barefoot Contessa – How Easy Was That? Simple high flavour recipes. This was the aim Sunday.

I had a bunch of bananas just ripened so I made the Banana cake with Cream Cheese Frosting with a couple of tweaks. I decided to make 2 cakes – one for dinner and one to send off to work!

Banana Cake

For this recipe I used:

6 Ripe Bananas


Old Fashioned Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
6 Ripe Bananas
1  1/2 Cups of Whey Low Granular (Sugar Substitute)
1 Cup of Whey Low Gold (Sugar Substitute)
1 Cup of Vegetable Oil
5 Large Eggs
1 Cup of Sour Cream
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
Grated Zest of 3 Small Mandarin Oranges
2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup of Chopped Toasted Pecans

12 Ounces of Light Cream Cheese
12 Ounces of Butter
2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
Juice of 1 Mandarin Orange
5 Cups of Icing Sugar
Segments from 2 Mandarin Oranges

Banana Cake – Ingredients

I started by zesting the mandarins using a micro -plane.

Banana Cake – Zesting Mandarins

In my mixer I mixed the Bananas and sugars until well mixed.

Banana Cake – Bananas and Sugars

Next I added the rest of the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and mandarin zest) and mixed it all until smooth.

Banana Cake – Mixing in the Wet Ingredients

Taking the bowl off the mixer I placed a sifter over the top of the bowl and added the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. I  shook the sifter over the banana mixture then put the bowl back on the mixer and combined everything until just mixed.

Banana Cake – Sifting Dry Ingredients
Banana Cake – Ready to Mix

After every thing was just combined I took the bowl off the mixer and finished mixing by hand with a big spatula. I added the pecans and mixed them in by hand as well.

Banana Cake – Finishing By Hand
Banana Cake – Adding the Pecans

It was time for the oven. I divided the mixture between 2 floured 9″ pans and put them in a 350˚ oven for 45 minutes. This recipe cooked quickly because of the Whey Low Sugar substitutes.

After the cakes were out of the oven and cooling I mixed up the cream cheese frosting.

I added the cream cheese and butter, both room temperature, to the mixer and mixed it on medium for 5 minutes. Be sure to mix all of the cream cheese lumps out.

Banana Cake – Cream Cheese Frosting

Once the butter and cream cheese were mixed I added the icing sugar, vanilla, mandarin juice and mixed everything for another 5 minutes on medium.

Banana Cake – Finished Cream Cheese Frosting

Once the cakes had cooled, at least an hour, I frosted one cake with 1/2 of the cream cheese frosting and place the mandarin segments on top. Then it was off to the fridge until desert  time.

Banana Cake – Finished!

For the second cake that was going off to work, I split the cake in half then spread the rest of the frosting of the bottom layer and put the second layer on top. The cream cheese frosting in the middle made it easier for work consumption!

Bakers Notes:

  • very easy recipe
  • 1 recipe of the cake makes a big cake. Great for a crowd. Serves 16 easily.
  • 1 recipe of the frosting makes a lot! Make 1/2 or 3/4 of a recipe.
  • replace mandarins with any citrus to change it up!
  • this stays moist and very good in the fridge for a week
  • June 2020 – just a note on Micro Planers – my experience is try to ignore the handled versions. Replace every 2 – 3 years – more often if you use it a lot

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Midweek baking usually requires some speed. There is not enough time for something complicated so a I always think of crumb cakes.For this Blueberry Crumb Cake recipe I used a similar berry cake from Martha Stewart.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

My cake trial below……

Blueberry Crumb Cake

For this recipe I used:

4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup of Flour
1/4 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

1 1/2 Cups of Flour
1 Tablespoon of Buttermilk Powder
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
4 Ounces of Unsalted Butter
3/4 Cup of Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
1/4 Cup of Water
1 Pound of Blueberries

Blueberry Crumb Cake – The Ingredients

I started by lining a 9″square pan with parchment paper that hung over 2 sides.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Lining the Pan

Then I dusted the blueberries with 1 Tablespoon of the 1 1/2 cups of flour. I mixed the berries well with the flour. This should hold the berries in the batter rather than letting them sing to the bottom of the pan.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Dusting the Blueberries

I made the topping mixture by combining the 4TBS of butter, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of Sugar, the Brown Sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the cinnamon. Blend together with a pastry blender until well combined. In future I would melt and cool the butter to make a crispier more cohesive topping.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Adding the Topping Ingredients
Blueberry Crumb Cake – The Crumb Topping Mixed

Next I sifted the rest of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set them aside. Flour, baking powder, salt and the buttermilk powder.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Sifting the Dry Ingredients
Blueberry Crumb Cake – All Sifted

Now it was time for the wet mixture. I beat the butter and sugar together until the mix was light and fluffy,

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Butter and Sugar
Blueberry Crumb Cake – Butter and Sugar now Light and Fluffy

Then I added the eggs and vanilla and mixed well.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Eggs (Vanilla off camera)
Blueberry Crumb Cake – After the Eggs and Vanilla are Mixed In

Next it was time to add the four and water to make the final batter. I worked these both in in separate additions and mixed the final batter by hand with a spatula.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – After the Alternating Wet And Dry

I then gently folded in the blueberries.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Adding the Blueberries

After pouring the batter into the pan and spreading it out I added the crumb topping and popped it in the oven for about an hour.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – In the Pan
Blueberry Crumb Cake – With the Crumb Topping

After the cake was out of the oven I let it cool for 15 minutes on a rack then grabbed the ends of the parchment and removed the cake from the pan.

Blueberry Crumb Cake – Out of the Oven
Blueberry Crumb Cake – Final Cooling
After cooling for about an hour it was time to serve the cake up
Blueberry Crumb Cake – Served!
Cooks notes:
  • for the topping melt and cool the butter then mix all of the topping ingredients together. This will produce a crispier, chunkier topping
  • use any fruit you like
  • try cardamom instead of cinnamon for a more European flavour

Saturday Carrot Cake

We were having a friend over for coffee/tea to talk about our past trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and our friend’s upcoming trip to the same Island.

I thought a carrot cake would be a great idea.

Carrot Cake

What makes a great Carrot Cake for you?

How I made my attempt below…..

For this cake I use a recipe from a book I received at Christmas, you might recall this post, John Barricelli’s – The Seasonal Baker. The recipe is called Joan’s Carrot Bars.

The list of goodies needed were:

1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Flour
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Whey Low Granular Sugar
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup of Grated Carrots

3 Oz of Light Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup of Butter
1 Cup of Icing Sugar
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

16 Pecan Halves
2 Tablespoons of Whey Low Granular Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Agave Nectar
1/2 Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons of water

Carrot Cake – Ingredients

I started with the cake and greased a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and set the oven to 350˚.

Carrot Cake – Greased Pan

I used the food processor to grate the carrots. Mine disc grated to large size bits, use a finer disc would be better here.

Carrot Cake – Grated Carrots

Next I sifted the flour, baking soda, salt and ground ginger together and set them aside.

Carrot Cake – Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl I beat the eggs and 1 cup of Whey Low sugar together and added the oil and carrots. I mixed it all until it was well blended.

Carrot Cake – Eggs & Whey Low

The I added the flour and mixed it on low until everything was just combined then finished mixing the batter with a spatula to ensure everything was mixed in.

Carrot Cake – Everything Mostly Mixed
Carrot Cake – Finished by Hand

I filled the pan with the batter then place the pan on a baking sheet. Then it was off to the oven for about 30 minutes. Mine took 50 minutes.

Carrot Cake – Ready for the Oven
Carrot Cake – Cooling

While the cake cooled it was time to make the frosting.

Using my hand mixer I combined the cream cheese and the butter with the hand mixer until well combined. I added the vanilla and icing sugar and beat it until combined.

Carrot Cake – Cream Cheese & Butter
Carrot Cake – Adding the Icing Sugar

An then it was time for the nuts.

I toasted the pecans they were golden  – 8 or 9 minutes at 350˚. I let the pecans cool and put them in a medium bowl. I added the Whey Low Sugar, salt & ginger and stirred them together.

Carrot Cake – Cooling Nuts
Carrot Cake – Ginger and Whey Low

In a fry pan I combined the oil, agave, and water and boiled it until the mixture reduced by half the n added the buts to coat well. I poured the nuts over the sugar mixture and stirred everything until coated. I spread them out to cool.

Carrot Cake – Toasting the Nuts
Carrot Cake – Coating the Pecans
Carrot Cake – Cooling Candied Nuts

Once the cake had cooled I topped it with the frosting. After cutting the cake into 16 bars, I topped each bar with a candied pecan.

Carrot Cake – Frosted Cake
Carrot Cake – Frosted, Decorated, and Cut

This was a great change from the regular carrot cake and great for an informal get together. I would make this again!

Other notes:

  • placing the cake pan on a cookie sheet really extended my cooking time – by almost 20 minutes
  • this cake needs at least 2 hours to cool – as everything is done in the pan

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche Loaf

It’s time to try something new! Cinnamon Raisin Brioche LoafThis recipe is inspired by both cinnamon rolls, a chocolate coffee cake from Martha Stewart, and a great Brioche recipe from Julia Child’s book The Way to Cook.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche

A bit of a labour of love but worth every second. Make 2 at the same time.. one for the freezer.

See how after the jump…

This makes one big loaf.
For this recipe I used:

2 1/4 Teaspoons of dry-active yeast
3 Tablespoons of Warm Water
2 Teaspoons of Sugar

3 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Salt
1/3 Cup of Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon*
6 Ounces of Unsalted Butter

4 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup Milk

For the filling:
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Whey Low Brown Sugar*
1 1/2 Cups of Raisins*
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon*

I started by gathering all of the ingredients together and cutting the butter into small pieces and storing them in the freezer until needed.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Ingredients
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Cut up Butter

I proofed the yeast by sprinkling the yeast over warm water mixed with the sugar and letting it sit for 5 minutes until nice and bubbly. The water should not be over 110 degrees.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Yeast
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Proofing the Yeast

I gently whisked together the milk and eggs and set them aside.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Eggs and Milk

I added the flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon to a sifter and sifted them into a bowl. I added the flour mixture to the food processor along with the well chilled butter and processed them together in pulses until small granules of butter could be seen.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Sifted Flour and Cinnamon
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Adding the Butter
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Processed

With the food processor running I added the egg/milk mixture to the flour until a ball formed. A ball did not form for me so I must have added the liquid too quickly. I removed the final mixture on to a flour covered counter and kneaded it for 1 or 2 minutes until a silky texture was achieved. I gathered the dough into a nice ball.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Adding the Eggs and Milk
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Until just Combined
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Turned out onto Counter
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – After a Gentle Knead

I placed the ball in a glass dish with a towel over it and put it in a warm spot. The warm spot was my oven heated to 170 and turned off. I let the mixture rise for about 90 minutes until it reached 1 1/2 times its original size.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – After the Rise

I then flipped the dough onto a floured counter and squished the gas out if it while spreading into a rectangle. I folded the rectangle into thirds and spread the dough out again. I once again folded the dough into thirds and eased the package into a nice ball.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Rolled out
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – First Fold
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Second Fold

I placed the ball back into a glass bowl and covered it with plastic wrap and placed it back in a warm spot for another 90 minutes or so until it had doubled in size.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Ready for the Second Rise

Next I gathered the filling ingredients together and mixed the Whey Low Brown Sugar and the cinnamon together. I lightly sprayed a loaf pan with oil spray.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Cinnamon and Whey Low Brown Sugar
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Cinnamon Mixture, Raisins, and Sour Cream

I took the dough and spread it out into a rectangle about 18 x 11.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – 18 x 11 Rolled out Dough

I spread the sour cream evenly across the dough followed by the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Next came the raisins*.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Mixtures Spread Out

I rolled the loaf up on the long side being careful to keep the raisins in. Once rolled I bent the log in half then braided it slightly. I put the whole loaf into the loaf pan , covered it with plastic and put it back into the warm place.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Rolling it Up
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Bending the Roll
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Braiding the Roll
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Ready for the Pan
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Ready for the Final Rise

It took about another hour for the loaf to rise again. I warmed the oven to 350 and placed the unwrapped loaf pan into the oven to back for 45 to 60 minutes with an internal temperature of 200 degrees.

Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Risen and Ready for the Oven
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – It’s Done!
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – The Oh So Long Cooling Time
Cinnamon Raisin Brioche – Ready to Eat

When the loaf was done I turned it out onto a cooling rack and let it cool for 2 hours.

Light… airy….  yum!

A couple of things I would do different for next time:

  •    Increase the cinnamon in the bread dough to 2 or 3 tablespoons
  •    Increase the brown sugar for the filling to 3/4 of a cup
  •    Increase the cinnamon for the filling to 4 teapsoons
  •    Increase the raisins for the filling to 2 cups
  •    I would spread the extra 1/2 cup of raisins more to the sides of the dough before rolling up. This will produce more raisins at the one end
  •    I would use an egg wash too coat the loaf before baking
  •    I used Chicago Metallic’s Loaf Pullman Pans. I believe are now discontinued, you could easily use their 1.5 lb loaf pan

Happy baking!

Whole Wheat Brioche

We eat mostly Whole Wheat bread at home. Unless there is something special like the raisin cinnamon bread I made a couple of days ago. My better half asked for a whole wheat brioche. So….here goes….When you make this yourself be prepared…this recipe takes two days.

I used the recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads – New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor.

Whole Wheat Brioche

More after the jump…….
For my 4 small loaves of Whole Wheat Brioche I used:

1 3/4 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Whole Milk, Scalded and cooled
8 Ounces of Melted and Cooled Butter

then:
1 3/4 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Teaspoon of Instant Yeast
4 Large eggs, Slightly beaten

then:
1/2 cup of Whole Wheat Flour (but up to a 1 cup could be needed)
5/8 Teaspoon of Salt
2 1/4 Teaspoons of Instant Yeast
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
Egg Wash

The night before I wanted the Brioche I started:

I mixed the Whole Wheat Flour, the Salt, the scaled and cooled milk, and the butter together until it was well mixed into a nice ball. I placed the ball in a covered bowl into the fridge overnight.

Whole Wheat Brioche – Ingredients

I then mixed the whole wheat flour, the yeast and the eggs into a nice ball as well. I let is sit for a couple of minutes then kneaded it for a couple of more minutes. I formed a ball and placed it in a bowl and covered it. I placed the bowl in the fridge over night too.

Whole Wheat Brioche – Ingredients
Whole Wheat Brioche – Mixed and Waiting

The next morning I cut up each of the dough balls into 12 pieces with my bench scraper and put them in my mixer with the dough hook. I add the salt, yeast, and sugar to the bowl as well. I mixed everything for 4 minutes on low speed.

Whole Wheat Brioche – Mixture Cup Up and Ready to go

Having never made this kind of bread before I was skeptical that it would all come together…but it did!

Whole Wheat Brioche – In the Mixer

I dusted the counter with flour and stared kneading my hand. Adding more flour as I went along. I incorporated 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour (you may need up to 1 cup) until the dough was cold, firm and slightly tacky.

Whole Wheat Brioche – Waiting to be Kneaded
Whole Wheat Brioche – Kneaded

While the dough was resting, I sprayed 4 small loaf pans with spray oil.

I then formed 4 small loaves and placed them into the pans. I placed the pans on a baking sheet and covered the whole tray with a lightly oiled cover of plastic wrap. Off to the warm place these went for 3 1/2 hours.

After the rising was complete I heated the oven to 425°F – 218° C.

I brushed a light egg wash on each loaf and put them into the oven on the middle shelf for 15 minutes. I then rotated the pans and baked them until they had an internal 195°F – 91°C temperature.

I removed the pans from the oven and emptied the loaves onto a cooling rack for 2 hours.

Then we enjoyed! Best eaten the day it is made!

Happy Baking

More pictures……

Whole Wheat Brioche – Weighing for Dividing
Whole Wheat Brioche – Proofing
Whole Wheat Brioche – More Mixing
Whole Wheat Brioche – Ingredients

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