Posts Tagged 'cake'

Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake

It’s cold and snowy, so it’s a good time to turn on the oven to warm the kitchen. This is an easy cake, despite what may seem like a lot of ingredients. It is very moist because of the pumpkin, and has sort of a mysterious spice taste. I served this as a dessert, which was wonderful. But it is a big cake, and I was able to slice the leftovers and lay them out on a plate to bring to another occasion requiring a “food offering.”  I actually think it made quite a few more than 16 servings, which the recipe, originally from Eating Well, specified.  I made the cake a bit lower fat than the original recipe by reducing the amount of canola oil.  This meant I could eat the cake with a large dollop of whipped cream (canned)’ which only adds about 3 grams of fat. It was also good with low-fat vanilla ice cream.
chocolate pumpkin cake piece
I don’t think the glaze is really necessary – it’s more decorative than anything else – and if you plan to serve the cake more than one time, it soaks into the cake and makes it a little sticky.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bundt Cake

1 cup all-purpose, flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (not Dutch-process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat buttermilk (I used regular low fat buttermilk)
1 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon canola oil
3 Tablespoons applesauce
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Glaze
1/2 cup packed confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon nonfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips, or toasted chopped nuts (see note)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray.

Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl. Blend buttermilk, pumpkin puree and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. Beat in whole egg and egg white. Stir in oil, applesauce, corn syrup and vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring until just combined. Don’t overbeat.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on the rack, about 2 hours.

To glaze and garnish cake: Combine confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a small bowl, stirring until completely smooth. Place the cake on a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the top; garnish with chocolate chips (or chopped nuts) while the glaze is still moist.  Makes 16 generous servings at about 3 grams of fat/serving.

NOTE: I decided to put the mini chocolate chips into the cake instead of on it, to give an extra taste of chocolate to this very chocolaty cake.

Cake is served on my grandma's glass cake plate

Cake is served on my grandma’s glass cake plate

Sweet Cherry Bundt Cake

My cherry tree has gone crazy.  Every branch is covered with beautiful cherries. The tree was labeled “semi-dwarf”, but apparently it couldn’t read, because it is at least 20 feet tall – maybe more.


I picked 8 gallons of them, and the tree is not yet completely picked.

The first thing that people ask me when I bring in a big bowl of cherries is “don’t they get worms?” No, they don’t. The next question is “What do you do keep them away?”  Well, I grow organic, so really nothing. I sometimes have discussions with my fruit trees about their responsibilities to me: Give me lots of fruit – and mine to them: don’t chop them down, chase the magpies away occasionally, and if it doesn’t rain for a week or so, give them some water. I often go out and smile at them and thank them for their spring blooms and their generosity.

I had to call a halt to the picking, because I ran out of space to store cherries.  Fortunately, I just discovered that you can freeze cherries.  It’s really simple. You wash them, let them dry a bit, and then freeze them in a single layer so that they each freeze separately. Then your frozen cherries don’t stick together in a big clumps and you can take out as many as you need.

You pour the hard little cherries into a freezer bag.  I didn’t even pit them. I figured they would be mostly for cooking when they defrosted, rather than being beautiful specimens to eat out of hand – so the pitting can come when I defrost them.

By the way, if you are going to deal with cherries, you need some form of cherry pitter.

Mine is just a small hand pitter that works for a few cups at a time. If you are doing a large number of cherries, you might need to get the kind that you feed the cherries into in bunches.

The other thing you can do when life give you an overabundance of cherries is hunt up cherry recipes. This cake, originally from Eating Well, was already pretty low fat – 8 grams/serving – but I made it a bit lower by reducing the amount of oil. I left all the butter, because I thought it was necessary for the flavor. I also used egg substitute because I didn’t have eggs in the house. I didn’t have kirsch, so I used Cointreau, an orange liquor. If you use frozen cherries measure them while they are still frozen. The texture of the cake is a bit dry – like coffee cake, which worked well with the cherry filling. It was a huge hit at the picnic I took it to. There was barely a piece to take home to have with my afternoon tea.

Sweet Cherry Bundt Cake

Cherry filling
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) dark sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons kirsch (clear cherry brandy), or orange juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cake
1 2/3 cups cake flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, slightly softened
1 Tablespoon canola oil
2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cups nonfat vanilla, or lemon yogurt
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Very generously coat a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan with cooking spray. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

To prepare cherry filling: Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Stir in cherries, kirsch (or other liquor or orange juice), lemon zest and almond extract. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture looks like very thick jam and has reduced to about 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes.

To prepare cake: Sift cake flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low, then medium speed, until very light and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes, scraping the sides as needed. Add the applesauce, half the yogurt and beat until very smooth. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half the dry ingredients until incorporated. Beat in the remaining yogurt, egg substitute, vanilla and almond extract until combined, scraping the sides as needed. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated. Do not overbeat.

Spoon a generous half of the batter into the prepared pan, spreading to the edges. Spoon the cherry mixture over the batter.

Top with the remaining batter. Grease a butter knife and swirl it vertically through the batter and cherries.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part comes out with no crumbs clinging to it and the top springs back when lightly pressed, 50 to 65 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand in the pan until the cake is completely cooled, about 1 1/2 hours. Very carefully run a knife around the edges and center tube to loosen the cake from sides and bottom. Rap the pan sharply against the counter several times to loosen completely. Invert the pan onto a serving plate and slide the cake out. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Makes 12 servings at about 6 grams of fat/serving.

Cake on improvised platter to take to a picnic.

My last piece of cake, cut into tea-sized slices for my afternoon enjoyment.

Orange Kiss Me Cake

When I was in elementary school, my mother took a home catering course that was held in the cafeteria of a local school. Although my mother worked part-time as a bookkeeper, her primary identity was as the keeper of a home with four children – she was a homemaker. This was, after all, the Fifties. There were a number of such classes offered to help women perfect their home-making skills.

I only remember a few things she learned to make: tiny carrots made out of Velveeta cheese and a bit of parsley, another appetizer consisting of little circles of toast with a mound of ground beef ornamented with circles of mustard and ketchup, to be served hot to guests who would no doubt be in awe of your culinary skills.  My mother was a already a great cook of traditional foods, and I don’t remember her newly learned appetizers appearing many times after the initial introduction to the relatives at a family party.

One recipe that stayed, however, was Orange Kissimmee Cake (for the town of Kissimmee, Florida). We always giggled because we thought it was “Kiss Me” cake, which to our childish minds had a tinge of naughty.  But it was one of my favorite cakes, redolent of nuts, orange, cinnamon, and raisins. It was bitter and sweet – a grown up cake so different from frosted cakes. The recipe I found in Susan Purdy’s “Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too” was similar to my mother’s recipe (and Purdy calls it Orange Kiss Me Cake – tee hee), although considerably lower In fat. My mother ground up the orange with walnuts and raisins, using the same hand grinder that she used to make chopped liver for the holidays – this recipe only uses nuts on the top of the cake. I lowered the fat content further by substituting some of the oil with applesauce.

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE about oranges.  This recipe calls for one whole orange to be ground up whole, with the skin, which is what my mother did. But Florida oranges are very different from the navel oranges available in stores in most of the U.S. Florida oranges are juice oranges and have thin skins, and very little bitter white pith. Navel oranges have thick skins, and lots of bitter white pith.

If you are going to use a navel orange, which I did, you will need to remove the thin orange zest, then peel the orange to remove the white pith, and cut the remaining fruit in eighths to be ground with the zest and raisins. If you are fortunate enough to have a thin skinned Florida orange, you can just grind it skin and all.

Orange Kiss Me Cake

Butter Flavor cooking spray
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon mace
2 Tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1 orange (see note above) cut into eighths and seeded
1 cup seedless raisons
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 cup orange juice

Orange Glaze
½ cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Topping
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup finely chopped toasted pecans (note – I would have preferred to use walnuts, like my mother did.  I think it would be better that way – or at least more like I was used to)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out excess flour.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and mace into a bowl. Stir in wheat germ.

In a food processor or meat grinder, grind together the orange sections (and zest for non-Florida oranges) and raisins. If you are using a food processor, be careful not to puree the mixture – you want it coarsely textured in about 1/8 inch bits.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine oil, applesauce, sugar, egg, and egg white. Beat until well blended. Alternately add the flour mixture and the orange juice, beating on low speed, and starting and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the orange/raisin mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and level the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is golden brown on top and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze and topping. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the glaze ingredients (orange juice and sugar) until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. In a small owl stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

Remove cake from oven when done. Set the pan on a wire rack. While the cake is still hot, prick the top all over with a toothpick or bamboo skewer. Spoon the glaze evenly over the cake. Sprinkle on the topping. Allow the cake to sit for about 2 hours to absorb the glaze and to cool thoroughly. Cut into squares and serve. The original recipe said it made 12 squares, but these would be very large. I made 24 servings at about 3.5 grams of fat/serving.

In the pan


Heading to a potluck

If you should happen to have some leftovers, this cake freezes well, although some people have been known to eat the pieces while still frozen rather than waiting for them to defrost.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

The weather is cold, and I’m cooking up a storm just to keep the kitchen warm. Last weekend I made a huge pot of chicken soup, to which I added barley and vegetables. It’s packed in the freezer for hot lunches at work – and occasionally for dinner when I’m freezing and tired.

I’ve been craving baked goods, and was looking for a recipe that could be made in an 8 or 9 inch cake pan. This is just large enough when the purpose is eating it at home, and not taking the goodie to a potluck where most of it will be eaten and only a bit left for me.  Really, contrary to the opinions of many I lack will power and my chief strategy for restraint is not having too many things to tempt me in the house. A whole Bundt cake would just call out to me to be eaten several times a day.

This is one of the tastiest little cakes I have ever made. It has a lot of interesting ingredients like pumpkin and dried cranberries. It is very moist and delicious. The original recipe came from Cooking Light, but I made it lower fat with the applesauce substitution trick. Also, the recipe said it was 9 servings, but they would really be huge pieces – almost plate size. I cut it into 16 pieces (there’s nothing that says you can’t eat several pieces if you want more – I did.)

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons applesauce
1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Cooking spray
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and next 4 ingredients (flours through salt). Place egg and egg white in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, butter, applesauce, and orange rind. Beat until well blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in raisins, carrot, and cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared 8-inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Makes 16 pieces at 2 grams of fat/piece.

This is the cake I was making when my beloved old Olympus camera broke.  I’m still not used to the pictures the new one takes.

Dutch Apple Cake

Yes, another potluck. Really, my entire social life doesn’t consist of potlucks. I go to jazz concerts and other musical performances. But it certainly does seem like I get invited to a lot of things that require food.

This particular potluck had a number of challenges. I had to run a few errands on the way, so the dessert had to travel around in my car for a few hours. I originally wanted to make an upside-down cake with a nice autumn theme.  But most upside down cakes start with a lot of butter to make the topping. So they can be a bit high in fat. They also are kind of sticky when turned out of the pan, which didn’t seem like a very good idea for traveling around in my car.

This recipe comes from an old Fannie Farmer cookbook, and is a variation on Cottage Pudding Cake, a basic yellow cake. The topping is somewhat similar to an upside-down cake, but the whole thing is served right from the baking dish, so it traveled well.

Dutch Apple Cake

1½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of sugar, divided
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
½ cup non-fat milk
¼ cup egg substitute
4 tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 8 wedges each.
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons raisins

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 10 x 6 inch baking pan with cooking spray and lightly flour. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking powder, salt and ½ cup of the sugar. Melt the butter in a small bowl, and then stir in the milk, applesauce, and egg substitute, beating well. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and blend well.

Spread the batter into prepared pan. Press the apple wedges into uniform rows on top of the batter. Mix the remaining ½ cup of sugar with the cinnamon and raisins. Sprinkle evenly over the apples. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Makes 8 servings with about 3 grams of fat/serving.

Grandma Cake (Sour Cream Coffee Cake)

I am going to a potluck tonight where we have been asked to bring a dish that was traditional in our family. This is the cake that was at every occasion. It was at holiday dinners (okay, not Passover) and at casual family gatherings. There was usually some left over to be eaten later for “coffee with a little something”.

My Grandma Fredyl, being from the “old country”, never used a recipe when she cooked. She threw in a handful of this and a pinch of that until it felt right. Whatever she made always turned out fabulous, especially the baked goods. My memory of my grandmother’s little apartment is that it was full of long taffeta gowns (she was a seamstress) and always smelled cozily of baking butter and cinnamon.  Family legend has it that Aunt Gladys, fearing that the formula for her mother’s wonderful cakes and cookies would vanish when Grandma passed on, shadowed Grandma around the kitchen as she baked. (My image of this is rather funny, Gladys being a large woman about 6 feet tall, and Grandma a diminutive white-haired lady, barely 4’10”.) Each time Grandma threw a handful or a pinch into the bowl, Gladys stuck out a measuring cup so she could codify the ingredients.  This cake is one of the results of her efforts.

I was surprised when I dug out the recipe that it wasn’t all that high  in fat. It doesn’t have as much butter as some cakes, and all I did to lighten it up was to use egg substitute and non-fat sour cream. I also used fewer nuts, although my memory of the cake is that it only had a sprinkling of nuts. I toasted the nuts to bring out their flavor.  It also makes a lot of servings without the slices having to be paper thin. Given that this was a dish to take to a gathering, I didn’t try to bring the fat down to 2-3 grams/serving by substituting applesauce for some of the butter, but it is still reasonably low fat/serving.  And when I baked it the whole house smelled like a memory of home,

Grandma Cake (Sour Cream Coffee Cake)

Cooking spray
1/4 pound butter (1 stick) softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour (plus a little for the pan)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup non-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (my mother used walnuts, but I knew that someone at the gathering tonight was allergic to them)
cinnamon sugar mix (see hint)

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a tube pan (the standard size) with cooking spray and dust lightly with flour. Be sure to tap the pan so that excess flour comes out.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.  In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until smooth and well blended. Add egg substitute and vanilla and beat until well blended.  Add flour and sour cream alternately, starting and ending with flour. (I usually add the flour 3 times and the sour cream twice. I used to think that this alternate adding was the result of Aunt Gladys’s recipe recording technique, but I’ve actually seen it in other recipes.) Beat on low speed after each addition until combined. Don’t over beat.

Put I/2 of batter in tube pan and spread more or less evenly. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar mix and then sprinkle nuts evenly over cinnamon and sugar.

cake batter

Spoon remaining batter over cinnamon-sugar-nut layer, spreading gently so the batter more or less covers that layer. Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes or until a wood pick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. If you have the kind of tube pan with a removable center, loosen the cake around the sides with a knife, and cool for 20 more minutes otherwise cool in pan for 30 minutes.  Remove from cake from pan and sprinkle  top with cinnamon-sugar mix (my mother sprinkled the top with more chopped nuts, but that would have added another gram or so of fat, and besides, it’s my recall that most of them fell off when you cut the cake. Cool completely on a wire rack.

cake on rack

This makes  20 servings at about 6 grams of fat/serving.

cake on grandma plate

Grandma cake on Grandma’s glass serving plate.

cake on my plate

Grandma cake on my plate. Ooops, it didn’t make it to the potluck. And it tasted just like my mom’s.

Hint: If you don’t keep cinnamon-sugar mix handy, you should mix some up.  It’s useful for sprinkling on so many things – oatmeal, toast, bananas, whatever.  There’s no recipe – just add enough cinnamon to the sugar to make it as cinnamony as you like.  I keep mine in a shaker right on the table.

cake cinnamon

Rum Plum Upside Down Cake

So you thought the plums were gone. Hah!  At least I have moved them to a smaller bowl and now have room to put items in the refrigerator like a giant head of cabbage.

I have always loved upside down cake – that lovely gooey sugary topping, that soft, sweet baked fruit.  The only problem is that the gooey topping is made out of a great deal of butter, which is delicious but has too much fat. Then I saw an ingenious solution in Veggie Belly’s blog: make a kind of syrup to pour over the fruit and form the gooey topping. The syrup has no butter – I used a teaspoon of butter only to make sure that the cake didn’t stick to the pan when I flipped it over, which would have ruined the upside down effect.  Her original recipe was made with fresh figs – but what does it matter: figs, plums, they’re all small soft fruit. I topped the plum mix with an ordinary yellow cake batter.

Rum Plum Upside Down Cake
.
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon butter
About 1 lb of very ripe Italian (prune) plums, halved lengthwise (as many as you need to cover the bottom of your cake pan)
2/3 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
2 Tablespoons brown sugar, more or less depending on how sweet the plums are
¼ cup rum
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
3 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup sugar
½ cup egg substitute
¾ cup low fat buttermilk
1 Tablespoon rum

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8 inch square cake pan with cooking spray. Melt the teaspoon of butter in the bottom of the pan and swirl around. Alternatively, melt the teaspoon of butter and brush it on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the plums in the bottom of the buttered cake pan in a single layer. I put them cut side down.  Mix cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, sugar in a small bowl with the 1/4 cup of rum. Pour this spiced rum over the plums.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Beat the one tablespoon of butter with 3/4 cup sugar using a mixer at medium speed until light. Add the applesauce and beat. Add egg substitute, ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in rum.

Pour batter over plums, spreading batter evenly. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around outside edge. Place a plate upside down on top of cake. Invert cake onto plate; cool.

This gooey delight makes 8 generous servings at about 2 grams of fat/serving.  This leaves you room to top it with low fat ice cream or whipped cream – just remember to add the extra fat grams.

plum upsidedown cake


ABOUT KAREN

I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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