Baking > Stress Butterflies

mmm, antioxidants!

I warned you about the baking itch, did I not? Or wait. Let’s be real: the stress baking prior to my thesis presentation on Tuesday! Butterflies, I will defeat you with copious amounts of baked goods! So there. Baked goods and lots of yoga. Stress ain’t got nothin’ on downward dog. (Or this is what I will tell myself, ha)

So, since I had a spare afternoon yesterday relatively unexpectedly, I made a tart! Because what else am I supposed to do with that time? That’s right, I thought you’d agree that a tart is clearly the superior option.

This tart was/is delicious! I’m so pleased with myself since I winged bits of it, and threw a bunch of elements together into a credible whole. YAY! Love when that happens. The flavors all work really well together, and it’s even semi-healthy! Or at least not bad for you… I’m sure I can come up with some nutritional benefits: coconut is always good; the crust is vegan; blueberries contain LOTS of antioxidants, and cardamom has some spice-type benefit, I’m sure. And it gave me another excuse to use my tart pan, and that awkward half bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer.

AND I baked it whilst wearing one my pearl necklaces. Which made me feel lots like Julia. Especially when my tart turned out fabby! Don’t forget, you’re all alone in the kitchen! Bonnnnnn Apetit!

crust! I always have fun with my tart pan...

Blueberry Tart with Coconut-Cardamom Pastry Cream and Almond Crust

Makes one 9″ tart. I used a really basic crust recipe, and adapted the pastry cream from Delicious Shots, here! Assembly is really easy, and the chilling times are probably the longest part of this recipe. Fresh blueberries would be wonderful, but frozen work just as well—I defrosted them in the fridge and then in the counter for a bit. The crust is suuuper crumbly, but don’t worry, you can press it into the tart pan and it’ll behave.

/

Tart Crust:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1.5 tbsp almond paste
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

In  a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add in butter and almond paste until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add water until the dough comes together. Don’t worry if it’s crumbly—mine was, and turned out fine. Shape into a disc, and wrap in plastic. Let it chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out to 1/8″ thickness on a floured surface, and press it into your tart pan, evening out the sides as you go. Prick the bottom with a fork, and line with foil and weights (I used rice. Beans are fine too, or pie weights if you’re swanky and have cool kitchen tools like that). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Mine went for 20 with the weights, and then 5 without them. I’m sort of a crust noob, so mine seem to come out ‘needing improvement’. Granted, I usually think they taste great… this one maybe could have used a tablespoon-ish more Earth Balance, perhaps?

cardamom flecks!

Coconut-Cardamom Pastry Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp cardamom, depending on preference (I used more like 1/2, since Kira and I are cardamom nuts)

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and half of the sugar until light yellow in color. Toss in the cornstarch and the flour, and whisk until combined. Set aside. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk, vanilla, and cardamom, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Temper the milk mixture by pouring it in a steady stream over the egg yolks/sugar, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once the two are completely incorporated, pour the mix back into the saucepan, and bring to a boil again, still stirring constantly (Sorry. Lots of stirring. But oh hey, arm workout!). The custard will start looking thick and your whisk will make tracks. Boil for just one or two minutes, and then remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool. I used a shallow one, so it would cool faster… and place a bit of plastic wrap or sandwich baggie over the surface to prevent a skin forming. Once cool, place in the fridge for further chilling.

tart. Sans antioxidants.

Assembly! (Aka the best part)

  • Fruit of choice. I recommend blueberries… I used about 5 oz, or half a bag of frozen.

Pour the custard into the cooled crust, and smooth it out until it looks pretty…and then top with fruit! Easy peasy. And delicious. And looks like you put so much more work into it than you actually did. Shhh, I won’t tell :)

Best eaten the day it’s made, but it still makes excellent (if not quite as aesthetic) leftovers. Store in the fridge!

yumyumyum

Workout. Get pumped! Eat. Love. Repeat as necessary!

semi-leaning tower of quinoa bars!

Happy first day of spring to you too, Salem. Thanks for the nice weather SNOW. What?! Like, actual snow this time too. About three inches of fluff on my car this morning… what is this?! Thankfully today was Workout Wednesday (ie the only reason I go to campus is to work out), or else I might have skipped class, hehe. (As Kira pointed out, at least I have my priorities straight. Miss a workout with Christine? NEVER! ha. But hey! Justified, as pilates/fitness instructor is my career of choice) Besides, I had to go give Christine her quinoa-banana bars. Yes. I am the kind of person who bakes treats for her fitness instructor. We have the same workout addiction after all: Must…work… out! And buy new active wear! Healthy snacks in exchange for a Pilates-Core body butt kicking? I think it’s a fair trade ;)

So now I’m nicely sore and contemplating going back out into the wet for work. And wet indeed it is now… we’re getting semi-frozen rain-ish-slush-gross now, because, well, why not? I have holes in my uggs, that’s why not. My heels got suspiciously damp when I was wearing them this morning… seriously, I had all these grand plans to take my winter-wear home over spring break to leave it, so that  I had less to take home in May. Fat chance. Watch, I’ll leave it all here and it’s be sunny and glorious the rest of April. Hmm. Maybe this is logical… maybe I should take it home?! Oh weather gods, how you love to mess with us here in Salem. I like snow, don’t get me wrong, but only when I can ski on it, pleaseandthankyou.

there's a rogue one!

Anywayyyy. Today I have bars for you! Healthy snack-type bars, like a cross between banana bread and a granola bar. They’re packed with all kinds of goodness: whole grains, peanut butter (YAY!), quinoa, flaxseed, bananaaaaas, and cardamom. Mmm. Can’t go wrong with the banana-cardamom combo, it’s fab. These bars also happen to be vegan, just for funzies! They’re perfect with a little (more) nut butter swiped on top (uh-oh, I can see the bottom of my peanut butter jar, mayday mayday!) and extra bananas :)

oh hey, up close!

Peanut Butter-Banana Quinoa Bars

Recipe only slightly adapted from here! Makes… 8 ish? I made it in a pie dish, and cut rectangles out of the center. Wedges would have been good too.

  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 c cooked quinoa*
  • 1/4 c wheat germ
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c milk bev (soymilk for me)
  • sprinkling of dark chocolate chippies!
barsssss

*I cooked 1/3 c dry quinoa in 2/3 c water, yielding enough for the bars + dinner leftovers :)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a dish of choice. I made mine in a 9″ pie dish, since a square 9″ seemed too big.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder. In a largeish bowl, mash up the banana with a fork, and then vigorously stir in peanut butter until combined. (Added bonus: bicep workout!) Add in quinoa, wheat germ, flaxseed, sugar, vinegar, and soymilk, and stir to combine. Toss flour mixture and chocolate chips into the wet ingredients, and mix together until combined. Spatula-ize the batter into your prepared pan (Yes, spatula is a verb now), and bake for just about 30 minutes. A tester should come out clean when done.

Workout, feel pumped, eat, love! Repeat as necessary.

this may or may not be how my peanut butter disappears so fast...

Eye-level with a cookie is the best place to be!

mmm, chocolate cooookies!

Once again, the weather gods are totally bonkers. I think they just like to mess with tiny humans for sport. Like, I’m sure they find it hilarious when I go trudging through some nasty weather after class, only to walk into my apartment and have it become immediately sunny. The roof is steaming, haha! Snow? Again? Is this really necessary?? And yesterday it was so incredibly windy, I thought if I wore a hat large enough I might lift off the ground like the Flying Nun (except not a nun. More like a flying Pilates-enthusiast in my yoga pants). Gusts up to 50 miles an hour?! Ridiculous. This weather is even more insane than usual, even by Salem standards. Sheesh.

So what do I do? Make cookies! Natch. When the weather gets icky, baking is always a good strategy. Especially when it leaves you with excellent snacking cookies, healthy AND delicious. Come to the Dark Side. I have cookies! Ha. I was getting irritated by the lack of snacks I had around, so these happened. Besides, I need more things to put lemon curd and biscoff spread on, in order to convey them to my mouth so I don’t feel silly eating them out of the jars. Not that I really let that stop me. But life is more fun with a cookie, obviously.

These have all kinds of healthy benefits! Full of fiber and cholesterol-friendly :) (as in, NO cholesterol, and only healthy fats + plant-based saturated fats, which are okay for those watching cholesterol!) They clock in around about 200 calories, making them a great pre (or post. or both) workout snack. The chia seed has made a cookie comeback, after several weeks (gasp!) of disuse… and we already know all about chia’s crazy antioxidant capacities. These cookies also feature healthy coconut and olive oil fats, as well as unsweetened cocoa powder for more antioxidants! Besides all that, apparently cardamom has great nutritional benefits too! I didn’t know this, but it helps digestion, contains lots of vitamins, minerals, and essential oils, and is another source of antioxidants! Those sneaky free radicals don’t stand a chance.

This recipe supposedly made 28 cookies. Psh. I made 11. Mine are perfectly sized ;) I don’t stint when it comes to cookies, especially when they’re good for me!

eye-level with a cookie. (the best place to be)

Chocolate Chia Cookies

Adapted from Vanilla and Spice, here! These cookies are really tasty: a little like gingerbread, as Kira pointed out. We both really liked the cardamom flavor in them, and they’re soft but chewy on the inside. Mmm. Makes somewhere around 11 or 12 2-3″ cookies.

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom (seems like a lot, but it’s not overwhelming)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c chia seeds
  • 1/4 c light coconut milk (any milk bev you have on hand I’m sure is fine, I wanted to use up some leftover coconut milk. I am SO GLAD I did)
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla extract (yes, that is tablespoons)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies
I like to play with my food!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, cocoa powder, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk bev, applesauce, and vanilla. Add wet into dry, add oil, and then stir to combine. I found I needed to add a few tablespoons of water to make the dough come together. Fold in chocolate chips as you combine wet and dry.

Form into little balls and place on the cookie sheet—I kind of shaped mine and flattened the tops a bit. This dough is really easy to work with, extra bonus! Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the tops feel firm when lightly touched. Mine were done at 12!

Apparently it’s decided to be sunny this afternoon… I’ll guess I’ll just have to eat my cookies and enjoy it :)

see? there I go again. Cookie towers are more fun than blocks. You get to eat the pieces that fall off!

My kitchen smells like sunshine!

Lemon-tastic day!

Saturday was a good day indeed… life handed me Meyer lemons! Or rather, Trader Joe’s handed me lemons. Or at least put them where I would see them and then pay for them, and THEN they were handed to me.

And then. They were mine. Citrusy goodness, miney mine mine. (And Kira’s. Sharing is caring!)

At which point I was confronted with a dilemma. What to do with these rare gorgeous lemon specimens?! Since Meyer lemons have such a ridiculously short season, I wanted to do something with them that would stick around for awhile. But what?! Soooo many options. Thus it happened that while I was dutifully thesising this morning (which, by the way, is 54 pages and winding down, hooray!) that some devious part of my brain escaped to Meyer lemon land to ponder the myriad possibilities of four lemons and a relaxed Sunday at home. At which point it apparently decided that lemon curd was the way to go! Mmmm, good work, brain. (Though I must remember to chastise it for skipping out on me, and leaving me to thesis with only partial brain cells. Psh. If I have to concentrate, EVERY cell up there has to be involved, it’s only fair)

glowing lemon curd :)

So after I finished up writing for today, lemon curd happened. And oh man, am I glad it did… there was not a drop spilled that wasn’t immediately swiped up and eaten. And the food processor that was very thoroughly “cleaned”… and the spoons…. and the spatulas… Well. You get the idea. I’ve loved lemon curd since I went to high tea with my lovely Mutti, and we found ways to put it on everything! Now all I need is some clotted cream and scones… hmm.. next weekend’s project?!

BUT. Surprise, surprise! Lemon curd only used TWO of my lemons. Which meant that I had an unexpected bonus of TWO MORE! So I made Sunday muffins… with lemons! (and chia seeds, natch) I’m sure they’ll be fab with the lemon curd. And then, when I was done with these, I realized that I still have one lemon left! Wow. This is even better than dead banana surplus… What to do?? Something to ponder in the next few days :)

mmm, sunshine in food form!

Meyer Lemon Curd

Curd. Such a *ahem* LOVELY word. Like, move one letter and it spells crud. But hey, don’t knock it till you try it: this is good enough to eat with a spoon. Oh wait, I already did that… Your turn!

From the Pastry Affair, here! I got… half a peanut butter jar’s worth?! Sorry for the inexact measurements… I would guess between one cup and 1.5 cups.

  • 1/2 c sugar (I used turbinado, which is why my lemon curd isn’t bright yellow)
  • zest of 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 c Meyer lemon juice (I used the juice of the 2 I zested)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter (Mine was salted), softened and cut into chunks
spoons are a perfectly acceptable vehicle for lemon curd

In the bowl of a double boiler, combine sugar and lemon zest, and rub it together with your fingers until combined and smelling tasty. Whisk in lemon juice and eggs.

Over medium-high heat, whisk constantly as the curd cooks. (Think of it as your arm workout for today). It will begin to thicken: cook it until you see whisk-tracks, and then remove from the heat and let cool briefly. This took me probably about 15 minutes.

Scrape the curd into a food processor or blender (Strain first, if you want to eliminate zest pieces—I don’t mind the zest, and I don’t have a strainer… so I skipped this), and blend until smooth. Once smooth, add in butter chunks, a few at a time, blending after each addition, until all of it is fully incorporated.

Let chill in the refrigerator before using. Keep it in an airtight container (I use jars for EVERYTHING). Eat with anything, or just off a spoon!

muffins 'n curd

Meyer Lemon, Cardamom and Chia Muffins

I made 6, as per usual: double if you want a normal sized batch! This makes 6 huuuuge muffins. They’re not very sweet, which I like for snack muffins, but I’m sure the lemon curd would add just the right amount of sweetness :) Those who prefer sweeter muffins, make sure your bananas are super ripe, or else add a few tbsp of honey or brown sugar. *Update 3/14: These need lots of work—Kira and I aren’t super fans, we’ve decided. They need more flavor and more moistness… but that’s a project for another day! Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker, here!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 c meyer lemon juice
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used plain, lowfat)
  • judicious sprinkle of chocolate chippies and frozen huckleberries (or frozen berry of choice, blueberry would be good too)
the muffins are so BIG!

Preheat the oven to 375, and grease yo’ muffin tin.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cardamom, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, and then vigorously whisk in (your second arm workout for today: your biceps can thank me later) egg, vanilla, lemon juice, and yogurt until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry, and fold in chocolate chippies and huckleberries.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Mine went for 15 and came out perfectly.

Mmm. Enjoy your lemon-tastic day! My kitchen smells like sunshine now :) (And I have the added bonus of having sunshine in a jar in my fridge for later consumption, wheee!!)

like sunshine in a jar :)

Birthday Muffins for Marion!

natural lighting?! In OREGON? no way.

Ohhh my goodness, thesis brain! ouch. It hurts.

Today, I worked so long that Pandora thought I had disappeared. Nope. I was still writing… but the funny part about it was that I was so into it, I didn’t notice the music had stopped! Whoops. Whatever, I’ve been insanely productive, huzzah!

Not only that, but I came up with a great idea. You see, today at work I was filling ‘testing cups’ for the kiddies. You know, like pencils and little pieces of candy to boost their testing potential. Gum, too, because apparently chewing gum while testing improves performance. Who knew?! And seriously, these testing cups are a genius idea! Added incentive for the little kiddos to do well on their tests. They should give these to college kids. Really. I would be sooo much more motivated if I got a fun treat cup with my name on it. Which is why I’ve decided to make my own! Hadihah. I think I’m going to take one of my mugs and puffy paint my name on it… and then fill it with things to motivate me to thesis. Like food. And sprinkles. And stickers (because I like to indulge my inner 5 year old, shhhh). I wonder if I could fit yoga pants into a mug? Hmm. Something to ponder.

See? Genius. With this system in place, there is absolutely no reason for me to procrastinate thesising. Not that I’ve been slacking in the slightest, as Pandora can attest: I have 20+ pages! YES. And still kicking… I’m nowhere near close to covering everything. But still. A thesis cup sounds like an excellent idea :]

ANYWAY. Sorry for the long ramble. Tired brain=rambly brain.

In honor of Marion Cunningham’s 90th birthday today, I made muffins! I don’t have a copy of the breakfast book here, but I thought I’d make something breakfasty (besides, Kira and I were out of snacks), since she is the breakfast queen! I am forever in her pancaking debt. Happy Birthday, Marion!

Breakfast muffins for Marion!

Quinoa Cardamom Muffins

Adapted from Martha Stewart, here!

I made a half batch, as per usual, so I’ll list those measurements here. Makes 6!

These are BOMB muffins. Super moist and dense, but in a good way—the quinoa adds a nice texture. I LOVE cardamom, so I was happy to note that the flavor is pronounced in these little puppies. I know you’re not supposed to brag about what you make, but whatever. Totally violated that when I texted Kira that she must immediately eat  one of these on account of their amazingness. Yes. They are. Make them, you must!

muffin floorplan? yeeesh, too much architecture on the brain! muffins > thesis.

Procure:

  • 1 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c brown sugar, not packed
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c soymilk (or whatever milkish beverage you have handy)
  • a judicious sprinkle of chocolate chippies and frozen berries (I used huckleberries)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a muffin tin. Combine all dry ingredients, including quinoa, and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together applesauce, egg, and milk. Add wet to dry, and stir until just incorporated, then add in berries and chippies. Avoid overstirring! Plop batter into tins and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

These are especially delicious with a smear of peanut butter (what isn’t?!). I see peanut butter+cardamom cookies in the very near future!

Impatience-Free Baking is a virtue

Princess Leia's hair...?

I really do love cooking long and complicated things. I mean, like Austrian pastry complicated status. Something that makes you feel ridiculously accomplished at its completion.

However.

I might, perhaps, love instant gratification just a little bit more. Wouldn’t you rather have a cookie NOW, instead of waiting for the dough to chill for 24 to 48 hours?! Pshhh, I don’t plan that far in advance. I don’t even plan far enough in advance to have the butter softening on the counter. That’s what the microwave is for, jeez. Call me lazy. And I am. But. I make up for it occasionally with really absurdly complicated things…

This is not one of those things. Because let’s be honest, yeast is annoying. I mean, yeast is great when I want to make bread or pizza and I have lots of time and I’ve been thinking about a recipe for a long time. When I want gooey delicious goodness RIGHTNOWINFRONTOFME, it’s not so awesome.

Which is why I turned to this no-rise, no-wait, (nearly) instant gratification recipe for cinnamon rolls. That and because Vacuum Vati LOOOVES cinnamon rolls (like, as much as I LOOOVE chocolate chip cookies. that’s how much). AND because I happened to have all the ingredients handily to hand. AND it [was] the holidays (sorry, this was supposed to be a post around Christmas, oops). But it’s not like it has to be the holidays for you to make these… in fact, so not. Cinnamon rolls never need an excuse. Just like cookies! Wait. Let me clarify. Good food that makes you happy NEVER needs an excuse. Especially when you eat it with people who make you happy. Especially when there is no waiting involved. Even better!

gooey deliciousness

Impatience-Free Cinnamon Rolls

From the Dainty Chef, over here!

These are delicious, as a) they’re filled with gooey goodness, but also because b) they have an interesting mix of spices in the filling—cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice. It lends them an unusual taste, a nice change from standard cinnamon rolls.

For the dough:

  • 3/4 c low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/3 c low fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the gooey delicious goodness:

  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 oz (1.5 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
such an adorable little spiral... soon to be decorating my stomach.

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla, pulsing until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and pulse just until the dough clumps together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead several times. Roll it out into a faintly rectangular shape… mine was a bit lopsided, although that turned out fine, as it made for varying roll sizes (nice for my family, and for Vacuum Vati, who got the big ones).

Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl (brown sugar and spices). Brush the dough with the 1.5 tbsp of melted butter, leaving a small border. Press the sugar-spice filling into the dough, evenly covering the whole surface. Starting at the long edge, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam, but leave the ends open.

Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls into equal pieces. Mine fit perfectly into a standard loaf pan, but if you have fatter rolls, an 8″ square cake pan works just as well. They should fill the pan, but small gaps are okay. Bake for about 20-22 minutes (I took mine out at 20, and they had a perfectly gooey interior).

I frosted mine (because, seriously, cinnamon rolls are SO NOT complete without frosting) with the frosting/glaze that I use for Crazy Chocolate cake. I never measure, but it’s essentially powdered sugar, Earth Balance spread, and vanilla extract. Mix like crazy until you have the taste/consistency you want… and swipe over your cinna-rolls when they’re still slightly warm. The glaze will harden as it cools.

Drool. Eat. Gloat, since you only had to wait a little while for the oooewygooeydeliciousness to appear in front of you.

I do apologize for the glut of dessert recipes recently… I promise something healthy… soon! Ish. We’ll get there. Eventually…

The Siren Song of Dead Bananas

mmm, buttercream!

Hmmp. Tis the season, indeed.

FOR CAKE! Ha. Prepare yourself. This is only cake one of two. For now, anyway. One never can tell in this household. Wait. Let’s be real. It’s ALWAYS the season for cake! But I have more of an excuse now, hooray! Hehe.

Anyway. This cake was supposed to be the dessert for company, but I decided to make it early, because hey, why have one cake when I can have two?! So there you have it. Cake greed and several dead-ish looking bananas won out. Totally not my fault—those bananas were singing their siren song from the counter, looking all dejected and spotty. Like, “Come over and eeeeeaaaat meeeeeeee, I am tastyyyyyyy and fermentedddd!” Well actually, if a banana said that to me, I would a) run screaming out of the house, and b)…yeah. Run screaming. Anyway, these particular bananas didn’t speak to me, thankfully, but notified me via their spottiness that they would prefer to hang with some buttercream in a cake.  Of course they would want to go in a cake! I mean, I could have made banana bread, but psshhh really? Why make banana bread when the holiday season gives me the excuse to cover everything that comes out of my oven in buttercream?

omnomnom

See? Cake.

This particular one was delicious to the max. Banana cardamom for the cake (I love banana cake already, so it wasn’t exactly a hard sell), with browned butter buttercream. WHaaaaattt. Browned butter makes everything so much better. Because there were only three of us, I decided to make a baby cake! I made half the batch, and then used a glass to cut out three layers from the 9″ cake pan… which of course left cake scraps to be eaten, yesssss! It was adorable, if I do say so. AND delicious. AND I’m on cake-making duty this Wednesday, which is excellent as this one is tragically gone.The more, the merrier!

Banana Cardamom Cake with Browned Butter Buttercream

Adapted from here! I’m including the full recipe; however, if you want a baby, halvsies cake, make half the cake and half the frosting. I had more than enough to frost the cute little three layer cake, plus the leftover cake pieces.

Cake!

  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (I might play with adding more, next time—I felt the flavor could have been more pronounced)
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • scant 1/2 c brown sugar, loose (not packed)
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • 2 c mashed ripe bananas, about 5ish, depending on the size
  • toasted cashews, for garnish (or, if you like nuts in your cake, you can add them to the batter… I don’t, so I left them out)

Frostinggggg!

  • 3/4 c unsalted butter
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 tbsp milk (I used 1%)
baby cake!

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour your pans of choice, (it would be two 8 or 9″ for a two layer, full recipe), and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and cardamom. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth. Beat in sugars until light in color and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then yogurt, and then mashed bananas. Without throwing flour everywhere, add in dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans, and bake for 25-35 minutes. Mine was done more around the 35 minute mark, as it’s dense cake. It wasn’t dry at all though—just perfectly done just shy of 35. Let cool in the pan for 10ish minutes, and then turn out onto cooling racks.

While the cake is cooling, brown the butter in a medium saucepan. You’ll know it’s browning, as it starts to turn to an amber color, and smells FANTASTIC. When it’s finished, pour it into the bowl you’re using for frosting—this keeps it from cooking too much more and burning. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and 3 tbsp of milk, until smooth. Gradually beat in enough milk to take it to a buttercream texture (you’ll know when it gets there—it’s lots thicker and spreadable). Frost cake when its completely cool. Garnish with toasted cashews and enjoy indulging :) Tis the season!