BRAZILIAN-STYLE BANANA CAKE

This is quite likely one of the easiest cakes to make, and I just know you will fall in love with it at first bite. One very unusual ingredient goes into the batter: bread crumbs instead of any type of flour. Don’t twist your nose, and please don’t run away! This is a deliciously moist, not too sweet cake, with intense banana flavor. I slightly modified the recipe my friend Alberto sent me. It is a winner!

BRAZILIAN-STYLE BANANA CAKE
(slightly modified from our friend Alberto’s recipe)

5 very ripe bananas
4 eggs
80g oil (grape seed or canola)
100g granulated sugar
100g brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups breadcrumbs (unseasoned, about
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

cinnamon + sugar to dust the top after baking

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with baking spray and cover with parchment paper coming up the sides. Reserve. Heat the oven to 350F.

Place in a blender all the ingredients up to cinnamon. Blend at full speed until the batter is smooth.

Place the bread crumbs, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, whisking to combine. Pour the blended mixture on top, and mix gently with a spatula. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the sides look dry and golden. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar lightly on top while the cake is still hot.

Let it cool completely before cutting in slices.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Phil fell in love with this cake, and he is a serious banana cake critic! The version we had in Brazil baked by our friend had a more intense banana flavor, but then again, it is hard to beat the flavor of a Brazilian banana in the height of the Summer… The texture of the cake is very unique, and it stays moist and tender for days. I highly recommend you give this recipe a try…

ONE YEAR AGO: Tiger Shrimp in Chili Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Tangzhong Hamburger Buns

THREE YEARS AGO: Potato Soup with Spicy Shrimp

FOUR YEARS AGO: Rose-Harissa Chicken Thighs

FIVE YEARS AGO: Caramel-Chocolate Tartlets

SIX YEARS AGO: Chicken Korma-ish

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sunday Gravy with Braciola

EIGHT YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, February 2015

NINE YEARS AGO: Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing

TEN YEARS AGO: Green Olive, Walnuts and Pomegranate Salad

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Romanian Flatbreads

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Ziti with Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Blasted Broccoli, Stove-top version

NINE BAKES, WITH LOVE

Time to spread some food blog love around… Today I share nine bakes that are perfect for the season and come from sites I closely follow. All recipes can be retrieved with a visit to the original post, which you will find below the pictures.



BAKE #1
HELEN FLETCHER’S PUMPKIN CAKE DONUTS

(for recipe, click here)

I know I repeat myself, but you simply cannot go wrong with Helen’s recipes. This one goes to my Personal Hall of Fame. Taste and texture could not be better. Her detailed instructions make it a breeze to make. I assume it is still ok to post pumpkin recipes, after all – according to the calendar – it is still Fall (cough, cough). Donuts get a streusel topping and need nothing but a dusting with powdered sugar to shine!


BAKE #2
CELIA’S FUDGE BROWNIES

(for recipe, click here)

Celia used to be a very active food blogger, but although she is not posting often, her recipes are still on the site and each one is a gem. If you like to learn about chocolate tempering, make sure to visit her blog and read one of her posts on the subject. These brownies received two thumbs up from the Resident Brownie Critic. Need I say more? Make them!

BAKE #3
KAREN’S DEVIL’S FOOD THUMBPRINT COOKIES

(for recipe, click here)

Amazing recipe, it is almost like having a little bite-size brownie with jam on top. Simple to make, they will make your holiday table shine, and your guests very happy!

BAKE #4
CARO’S CHOCOLATE CARDAMON CUPCAKES

(for the recipe, click here)

Aren’t those super elegant? I fell in love when Caro first shared the recipe, and could not wait to bake a batch. Cardamon and chocolate go surprisingly well together, so consider making them too… Sprinkles added just because…. sprinkles make life better!

BAKE #5
CARO’S RASPBERRY JAM AND COCONUT SPONGE SQUARES

(for the recipe, click here)

These are delicious, you cannot beat the texture of the cake… and the jam plus coconut topping is perfection. I know that some people don’t care for shredded coconut, but if your group of guests is ok with it, make sure to feature it in your holiday get-together.

BAKE #6
AMISHA’S DATE AND NUT CHOCOLATE BARS

(for recipe, click here)

Super festive, the list of ingredients is long, but it is a reasonably simple recipe to put together. It has all the flavors I adore, including a light hint of rose, that goes well with all the other flavors. You can use ruby chocolate or add pink fat soluble dye to regular white chocolate for the marbling. Check out her blog post, the instructions are very detailed. Gold leaf is optional, but if you happen to have some, it is the perfect concoction to make them shine. Literally.

BAKE #7
LINDSAY’S STUFFED CHERRY AMARETTI COOKIES

(for the recipe, click here)

These are simply amazing! I made them three times, they were originally all going for my weekly donation box, but one batch made it to my beloved husband’s golfing buddies, and they got a lot of praise… Once you bite into the cookie, the soft almond crumb gives room to the sharp cherry inside, and you are forced to close your eyes and dream. Seriously good.

BAKE #8
LINDSAY’S VEGAN AMARETTI COOKIES

(for the recipe, click here)

Another recipe from Lindsay’s blog, Love and Olive Oil. When it comes to “veganizing” a baking recipe, nothing beats macarons and amaretti type cookies, as all you need is remove the egg whites and use aquafaba instead. That is the magical ingredient, that works exactly the same, no loss of flavor, no unpleasant changes in texture. Of course, you could stick a cherry inside those too if you feel like it!

BAKE #9

HEATHER’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP COOKIES

(for the recipe, click here)

Aren’t those the most adorable little bites of heaven? If you are a lover of peanut butter, these are for you! I love Heather’s cookbooks, and her blog is always a source of inspiration, so make sure to bookmark and visit. I had to change the recipe a bit because our grocery store did not have peanut butter chips, so I used candy melts for the drizzle instead. Other than that, I followed her recipe to a T.

So there you have it, nine recipes from sites I love, as this is the season to spread love and gratitude around… I hope you can find something that inspire you to grab that bag of flour, those eggs, pull the mixer out to play, and get busy baking!

ONE YEAR AGO: Asian-Style Chicken Meatballs

TWO YEARS AGO: Cookies for the Holidays, SPRINGERLE

THREE YEARS AGO: Bread – Episode 2 of Great American Baking Show

FOUR YEARS AGO: Apple and Sobacha Caramel Dome Cake

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cocktail Spiced Nuts

SIX YEARS AGO: How the Mighty Have Fallen

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Festive Night at Central

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Perfect Boiled Egg

NINE YEARS AGO: Light Rye Sourdough with Cumin and Orange

TEN YEARS AGO: Homemade Calziones

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Holiday Double-Decker

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: New York Deli Rye

VANILLA MINI-CAKES WITH HONEY PEARS

The cake batter for these cupcakes is very simple to make, the only other step needed is preparing the pear topping, but if you want to make your life real easy, you can do that the day before and keep it in the fridge. They don’t need anything but a light shower with powdered sugar.


VANILLA MINI-CAKES WITH HONEY PEARS
(adapted from several sources)

for the pear topping:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
4 Anjou pears, peeled, cored, cut in small cubes
1/3 cup (65g) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey


for the cakes:
3/4 cup (185g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
4 large (200g) eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 + 1/3 cups (160g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar


Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet, add the pears and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender. Add brown sugar and honey, cook until pears are evenly coated, about a minute or so. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and put in the fridge until needed.

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat 8 mini-cake pans with non-stick spray. Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating constantly. Add the vanilla. Which the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, and sift that mixture into the butter/egg, mixing gently until combined.


Divide the batter among cups, filling a little more than half-full. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pear mixture on top of the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about 25 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before un-molding. Right before serving, add a little powdered sugar on top with a sieve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For the cakes, I used one of my favorite pans, which I bought a long time ago on eBay. I have not been able to find a source to get it in the US, but you can see it here. It is the same pan I’ve used for mini Victoria cakes (flash back post here). It bakes like a dream, and since the bottom is loose, you can push the cakes out easily. I love the look of the mini-cakes, they get perfectly straight edges. If you don’t have a similar pan, use a regular cupcake pan. Maybe the number and size of your cakes will be different but it will work.

The same approach will work with other fruits, and I also think pineapple could be wonderful, so that’s an idea for future adventures…

ONE YEAR AGO: Buttermilk Roast Chicken

TWO YEARS AGO: Cauliflower and Sweet Potatoes in Yogurt-Curry Sauce

THREE YEARS AGO: Panettone, Wild-Yeast Version

FOUR YEARS AGO: Turkey Chili Under Pressure

FIVE YEARS AGO: Tiramisu Macarons

SIX YEARS AGO: Cider Mini-Cheesecakes with Caramel Sauce

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Rustic Ciabatta and Mini-Meatloaves

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Green Rice

NINE YEARS AGO: Potato-Crusted Italian Mini-Quiches

TEN YEARS AGO: Beetroot Sourdough for the Holidays

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Cod Filet with Mustard Tarragon Crust

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Soba Noodles: Light and Healthy

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Potato-Rosemary Bread

WOULD YOU LIKE A COOKIE OR A BROWNIE?

HAVE BOTH!

I cannot take credit for the idea, it was something Marlyn posted on her youtube channel, and I thought it was brilliant! She took the concept of colored cookie dough one step further, and used it to top brownies, baking them together. Works like a charm, and the possibilities are endless…

for Marlyn’s version, click here

You can use any brownie recipe you like, mine included walnuts. For the cookies, I made flowers with dough of different colors, and with marbled pieces too.

You then need to place them (FROZEN) over the raw brownie batter. Marlyn placed shapes all over in random spots, and that works too, you just cut through the design once serving the brownie. I decided to space the flowers so that each would end up centered on every piece.

After that, bake as you normally would. The cookies and the brownies have similar baking times, and the brownie batter protects the cookie if you need to bake longer. But for me it was a total of 25 minutes. Let the brownie completely cool, and then slice it in pieces.

This was a huge success when I took to the department to share with our colleagues on a Monday morning. Nothing like starting the week correctly!


I am dreaming of baking a set of blondies with chocolate cookie shapes on top. Once baked, you can even add details with a little Royal icing, like I showed yesterday on my cookie blog (see last picture of this post).

ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Fun, Three Ways

TWO YEARS AGO: Spooky Bakes, a Farewell

THREE YEARS AGO: Fall-Inspired Baking

FOUR YEARS AGO: On a Halloween Roll

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Macarons

SIX YEARS AGO: Zucchini, Lemon & Walnut Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Paleo Energy Bars

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Dressing

NINE YEARS AGO: Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Burgers

TEN YEARS AGO:  Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Clay-pot Pork Roast

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Panmarino

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: A Classic Roast Chicken

MOONCAKES FOR MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, for those who celebrate! Every year, around July, I promise myself I will try to bake mooncakes. And every year I find excuses not to do it, because it seems so intimidating! Finally, I decided to woman-up, and go for it. I used the recipe from a great cookbook, Mooncakes and Milk Bread, by Kristina Cho. The copyrighted recipe is available online (click here), in case you don’t have the cookbook. I will share my experiences as a mooncake-virgin.

To make mooncakes, you will need molds (either plastic or wood will work). I used molds similar to these. You will also need Lyle’s Golden Syrup and a special type of water that can be made from baking soda, but I decided to get the commercially available (click here). You will only use 1 tsp of alkaline water per batch of dough. Molds come in two common sizes, 50g and 100g. I used the larger ones, make sure to adjust the amount of dough + filling to the size of mold you have.

The dough is surprisingly easy to work with, due to the high fat content. It stretches easily and I had no issues forming the balls with the filling inside. I used 48 g dough per ball, and about 35g filling of two kinds, the pistachio-honey described in the original link, and my second batch was simpler, just almond paste (8 oz) with 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

My problems started during baking. For many of the mooncakes, the pattern was almost fully lost during the second stage of baking. Maybe I used too much egg wash, or maybe some other tweaking in my technique was needed. At any rate, you can see in the picture below that my first batch was not as good as the second.

I suppose that making mooncakes is a bit like baking macarons, you’ll get better the more you make them. At any rate, I will definitely be using my molds with other types of cookie dough, as long as they don’t spread too much and have a higher chance of retaining the beautiful designs. Stay tuned… And if you celebrate…

HAPPY MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL!

ONE YEAR AGO: Almond-Raspberry Triangles and a Special Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

THREE YEARS AGO: Roasted Cauliflower Salad over Hummus

FOUR YEARS AGO: Queen of Sheba

FIVE YEAR AGO: Brunch Burger

SIX YEARS AGO: Mango Salsa with Verjus

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Raspberry Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Brownies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Scary Good Pork Burgers

NINE YEARS AGO: Review of exercise program Focus25

TEN YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers