July 18, 2011

zucchini bread

my aunt gave us a couple of her huge zucchinis from her garden so i thought i'd try some zucchini bread for the first time. i found a healthy option that touts itself as the "best zucchini bread ever." i don't really know because i think i've had zucchini bread one other time in my life, but this was definitely good enough to eat. although, i doubt one can ever go wrong with throwing extra dark chocolate in anything (i used 72% cacao).

i found it here.

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon (or 1 Tablespoon pre-ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (or peanut)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with a splash of vinegar)
  • 1 cup organic Turbinado sugar (or brown sugar, firmly packed)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups finely grated zucchini
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, chunked
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 9×4 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with papers OR oil a mini loaf pan.
  2. In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy; beat in eggs, yogurt, buttermilk, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Combine well. Stir in grated zucchini and chopped chocolate.
  4. Fold flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Spoon batter into 6 muffin cups (or mini loaf pan) and pour the rest into the 9×4 loaf pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in the pan. Loosen the sides and remove from pan. Cool loaf completely before cutting.

July 15, 2011

hot cider syrup

i tried a pumpkin pancake recipe that i didn't love, but i did love the syrup. i'll keep looking for a good pumpkin pancake recipe but until then i'll enjoy this syrup on all my other pancakes. i found it at allrecipes but reduced the brown sugar and corn syrup slightly--this reflects my changes.

  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a saucepan, combine the syrup ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until slightly thickened.

July 10, 2011

german chocolate cake

it was my uncle's birthday so i thought i'd try my hand at his favorite kind of cake. after doing a lot of research, i settled on this recipe from allrecipes.com and made a couple of changes per the suggestions given in the comments. one and a half the frosting recipe. also, i used a rectangular cake pan so i reduced the heat to 325 and baked it for 40ish minutes.

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour--or all-purpose minus 3T and sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 3 - 9 inch round pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat water and 4 ounces chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain.
  4. Pour into 3 - 9 inch pans Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto wire rack.
  5. To make the Filling: In a saucepan combine 1 cup sugar, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup butter, and 3 egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened--just before you can tell it's about to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool until thick enough to spread.

my uncle also LOVES motorcycles (although he loves hondas and not harleys), so inspired by the above picture, i tried my hand at fondant for the first time. after consulting with a couple friends and watching a bunch of youtube videos, here's what the final product ended up looking like:

considering my lack of experience and general artistry, i was pretty pleased with the result. happy birthday, uncle kevin!