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Archive for the ‘cake’ Category

I’ve recently been on a mission to re-organize and clean out our freezers.  I know we have things that have been in the arctic depths too long.  The other day on a clean out I found some sweet bread (coffee cake remnants?) that I had frozen in chunks.  I tasted it.  Hmmm.  It was okay.  But it had been frozen a while.  What to do?  Bread pudding, of course!

I used

  • about 2 cups of bread, torn in chunks
  • an apple that I cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • two eggs whisked with half a cup of milk
  • about 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • a crumb topping that I had also frozen when I had a bit too much for a previous recipe
  • black walnuts leftover from breakfast (topping for oatmeal)

Layer the bread in a buttered dish (or cast iron pan like I used).  Sprinkle on a tiny bit of nutmeg and a bigger bit of cinnamon.  Add the apples and cranberries.  Drizzle on the syrup with more cinnamon.  Pour on the egg and milk mixture. Let the pudding sit for about an hour to start absorbing the liquid.  Add the crumb topping if you’re feeling really decadent.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.  Serve warm.It’s just some old bread, some fruit, eggs, milk, and spices, but it is ooohhhhh so good!  Mr. Homesteader kept asking for more and practically whimpered when I told him that there was no more.

What’s your favorite freezer clean-out ever?  Or are you organized enough that you never need to clean out your freezer?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

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August and September end the lazy days of slow breakfasts, but they don’t have to end good breakfasts.  For a quick, healthy breakfast or afternoon snack, bake a loaf of whole-grain, low-fat, higher protein but still moist and delicious zucchini bread, chocked full of good stuff like pepitas, which contain healthy fatty acids.  Take a look at the ingredients:  your only fat is from the egg(s) and the pepitas.  All of the moist goodness comes from buttermilk and yogurt, plus those dairy products and pepitas bring extra protein, calcium, and some good fats.  One loaf will yield close to 2 dozen slices for several breakfasts, lunchbox treats, afternoon snacks, or even as Mr. Homesteader likes it best, dessert at night (warmed with a dollop of ice cream).

Ingredients for 1 loaf baked in a 9×5 inch pan

  • 1/4 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or less)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated fresh or frozen (drained) zucchini
  • 1 cup plus one tablespoon whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 -3 tablespoons cinnamon (or less, if you aren’t a cinnamon nut like I am!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • handful or two of golden raisins, regular raisins, or currants (optional if you hate raisins, of course)

Preheat oven (or toaster oven!) to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottom only of a 9X5 bread-baking pan (glass or cast iron preferred over a flimsy metal pan, as you’re going to bake this for a while).  Combine the first five ingredients in a small bowl or large mixing cup–about 1 quart size should give you plenty of room.  Combine the remaining ingredients except the pepitas and raisins in a 2-cup measure and stir well.  Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir just to combine.  Stir in the raisins and pepitas, reserving a few pepitas for the top of the loaf.  Pour everything into your prepared pan and sprinkle on the last of the pepitas.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 70 minutes, covering the top loosely with foil to avoid over-browning about half way through the process.  Let the bread cool 5 minutes in the pan, and then slide a knife around the edges to make sure the bread is separated neatly.  Remove the bread from the pan and let it finish cooling on a rack.  Slice after it cools, as you need it, from the center outward.

If you’ve got space in your freezer, you can double or even triple this recipe and freeze loafs for easy breakfasts in the winter.  If you decide to freeze the zucchini instead, be sure to grate it first and then drain it very well after it thaws before you use it for bread.

Does your family have a favorite quick back-to-school breakfast?  Do you have a special way to bake zucchini bread?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader, including photographs.

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It’s dessert time again.  Today’s dessert is carrot cake, perfect for using up the last of your winter carrot crop.  This rich cake is loaded with fresh carrots for good health, and apple sauce and buttermilk bring moisture without fat to the crumb.  Neufchatel cheese for the cream-cheese frosting gives all the flavor of traditional carrot cake without quite as many calories.  I also made this cake for today’s smaller families, in a 6-cup pyrex dish, about 6 inches by 8 inches at the widest point.   You could easily use a standard 2-quart Corning casserole dish if you have that instead.  And, as always, you can get all of these ingredients in organic form.

Cake ingredients and method

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/2 whole-grain oat flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk of kefir
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix together the first four (dry) ingredients in a measuring cup or small bowl.  Now combine the wet ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, starting by beating the eggs and then adding in the other ingredients, including the carrots.  Now stir in the dry ingredients and finally the walnuts.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 55 minutes.  If you use a toaster oven, reduce heat to 325 degrees, set the pan on a broiler liner on the lowest rack setting, and put a sheet of foil over the top, flat (not fitted). Let the cake cool thoroughly before frosting it.

Frosting ingredients and method

  • 2-3 tablespoons real butter, room temperature
  • 6 ounces neufchatel cream cheese (naturally lower fat), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or a dash more!)
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

Cream together the butter and cream cheese.  Add the vanilla.  Gradually beat in the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Spread it on the cooled cake.  Let the kids lick the bowl.

Mmmmmmm.  Carrots. In a cake.  With frosting.  Mmmmmm.

What’s your favorite way to sneak veggies into your family’s food?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome. Please contact me via the comments if you would like permission to reproduce photographs.

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I’m going to keep this simple.  It’s dessert time.  This recipe makes a small pan of lower-fat brownies.  We’re starting with cocoa powder in lieu of chocolate.  Instead of butter, we’re using peanut butter and yogurt.  How about some whole-grain oat flour?  Put them together and you have an easy sweet treat that’s much healthier than a traditional brownie–but the kids will never know it.  You can also get all of these ingredients in organic form.

Pan:  I used a 3-cup rectangular Pyrex to create 6 servings, each about 2 inches square.  You could double this recipe and bake it in an 8×8 pan.  If you double the recipe, you’ll need to increase baking time by 5-10 minutes.  (Thanks to Shoopee for reminding me about the increased time!)

Dry Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whole-grain oat flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • optional:  handful of dark chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter, softened and mixed with
  • 1/4 cup plan nonfat yogurt
  • 1 egg (or 2–see variation*)
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and grease (or use spray oil on) your baking pan.  Mix together all of the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, stir together the softened peanut butter, yogurt, and sugar.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Spread into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.

This brownie is extremely rich and dense, so I like to serve it with a small glass of milk.  Do you want a brownie with a bit less density?  Try using two eggs instead of one egg.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Tweets and short excerpts are welcome with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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Apparently our household commitment to seasonal, local food hit its limits this week when my husband found some beautiful organic blueberries and I found some organic strawberries.  We bought them.  Tonight I served them with pound cake made from scratch.

Pound cake used to be a once-every-few-years kind of thing in our household, because with today’s smaller families and healthier outlook, we just don’t need a big heavy cake.  That’s why tonight I set out to make pound cake in miniature, using really wholesome, organic ingredients.  The concept is simple.  You need a few things to make pound cake:  (1) equal parts by weight of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs; and a tube cake pan, so that the heavy cake batter bakes all the way through to the middle.  Hmmmmm.  I can weigh and divide.  I have two mini tube pans. Yes, this plan could work.  I made not pound cakes but ounce cakes!

This recipe serves 4-8 people, depending on how hungry they are and what you serve with the pound cake. If you make it 8 servings, each serving will have a little over two hundred calories–much better than if you ate a big wedge of full-sized pound cake!

Special supplies

  • two miniature tube pans, each of which will hold one cup of batter with room to expand as they bake (about 4 1/2 inches wide at the top)

Ingredients (as always, organic is best!)

  • 1 stick of real butter, a little softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 teaspoons vanilla
  • optional:  1 teaspoon brandy
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (use a 1-cup measure, and you can just add in the other dry ingredients instead of getting an extra bowl dirty)
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 shakes/grates of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Begin by creaming the butter with the sugar. Then divide the eggs into yolks and whites. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar and mix until creamy. Stir in the vanilla and brandy.  In the measuring cup, add the rest of the dry ingredients to the flour.  Gradually add the flour to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture.  Now, in a separate, very clean bowl and using very clean beaters, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Do you see those stiff peaks on the egg whites?  That’s what you want.  Fold about a third of the egg whites into the rest of the batter to lighten it.  Then fold in the rest of the egg whites.  Spoon into well-greased miniature tube cake pans and bake at 325 degrees F for about 35 minutes. Let the cakes rest in the pans for about 15 minutes and then slide a thin knife around the outside edge of the cake and around the tube center. Turn the cakes onto a grid to finish cooling.Do you see those cracks on the top?  That part has a delectable crispy crunch.

Mmmmmmmm.  Real ingredients.  Food like my grandmother used to make.  Cake worthy of blueberries and strawberries.  Enough to satisfy your taste for sweetness and richness.  Small enough that you can indulge without guilt.Where’s my fork?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL for this site and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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I’ll concede from the start:  pineapple is not local to Arkansas.  At least I use organic pineapple.  Pineapple is a treat food, one of those things I buy infrequently and then relish.  And it was available, in canned form, when my grandparents were kids.  Now that we’ve gotten the question of whether pineapple is seasonal, organic, old-school, and local out of the way, let’s talk cake.

This pineapple upside down cake is probably much lighter and considerably healthier than the ones you remember from childhood, but it is full of great flavor and texture.  I have reduced the sugar (the classic recipes are all cloyingly sweet) and used whole-grain pastry flour.  I’ve also used a pineapple juice and lime juice reduction to moisten the cake.  It’s still dessert, but you can feel a little bit better about serving a slice to your family, and chances are they won’t know it’s a light version.  My husband initially told me he just wanted a sliver.  Next thing I knew, he was returning for a big slice.

Don’t be off put by the ingredient list.  You can put this cake together in about ten minutes or less of active work.

As always, please use organic if you can.  I had organic ingredients on hand for everything.

For the bottom (which will become the top!)

  • 7-8 slices pineapple in natural juice  (See below for what to do with the rest of the can, including the juice!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • optional:  a few walnut or pecan pieces

The cake batter

  • 3 eggs (could use 1 egg and three egg whites)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • optional:  1 teaspoon lemon or orange extract

The glaze

  • the juice from the large can of pineapple
  • about 1/4 cup lime juice (more or less to taste)–Yes, you could use lemon juice instead.

The method.

Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees F.  Now heat a 10-inch cast iron frying pan on the stovetop.  (Yes, any stove and oven-proof pan in the 9 or 10-inch range should work, but the cast iron will give a really good caramel topping with the pineapple.) Add the butter and melt it. Now sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the surface, taking care to distribute it evenly as you put it down.  Don’t try to move it after you sprinkle it on, as you’ll likely lose it to the pan at the end of the process.  Turn off the burner (and remove the pan from the stove top if you use an electric range).  Put a single slice of pineapple in the very middle and then space the rest of the pineapple evenly around the central slice. If you want, add walnut or pecan pieces in the intervening spaces, including the pineapple slice holes.

In a small bowl or large measuring pitcher, beat the eggs lightly.  Add the sugar and buttermilk and stir.  Then quickly stir in the dry ingredients and the extracts.  Pour the cake batter on the pineapple in the frying pan and then pop the whole thing in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the pineapple and lime juices, starting with less lime juice, in a small, heavy-bottomed pot.  (Corning is ideal for this application.) Taste the mixture.  Is it a good blend of sweet and sour, a bit more sour?  Excellent, because you’re about to reduce and intensify the flavor!  If you’re not happy with the flavor, add a bit more lime juice.  Now bring the mixture to boil, uncovered. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture is about 1/2 to 1/3 its original volume.  This glaze should be ready right about the time the cake comes out.

Has it been 30 minutes?  Take out the cake.  Let it sit for about 4 minutes–not much longer because it will stick if you leave it.  Then slide a knife around the edge to make sure none of the sugar is causing the cake to stick. Using two pot holders, invert the pan on a large, flat plate.  Now poke a few holes in the top with a toothpick and pour on the pineapple-lime glaze. Let the cake cool for at least a few minutes before serving. If you’ve made the cake in a round pan, cut it into wedges like pie slices.  Eat.  Enjoy.  Do what my husband did and cut yourself a second slice.

Nutritional information

Using the higher levels of butter and sugar, if you made 8 slices from this cake, each slice would have about 260 calories, including almost 6 grams of protein, 2.375 grams fiber, 8.4 grams fat, and 43 grams of sugar.  Go easy on it, though, and cut 16 slices, and each one will have just 130 calories, 3 grams protein, 4.2 grams fat, and 21.5 grams of sugar.  And if you go with the lesser suggestions on butter and sugar (and I can assure you you won’t miss them!), you’ll drop to less than 100 calories per thin slice.

What to do with the extra pineapple slices

You need a large can of pineapple to get enough slices for this pineapple upside down cake, but you won’t quite use the whole can.  We used our extra slices for homemade whole-grain pizza with (turkey, nitrite-free) Canadian bacon and pineapple.  By request of a reader in another post, I’ve started adding recipes for my homemade pizza.  It’s not pineapple pizza, but that one will be coming soon!

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