Carrot Cake Roll

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Is it Easter yet? This time I'm finally posting a recipe in advance of the occasion, unlike last time when I wrote a post for St. Patrick's day a few hours before it ended. 

I love Carrot Cake, but most recipes call for a cup of oil and I don't like that. Cake = good. Oil = bad. This particular recipe has no oil, or butter, or shortening!! Yes, there's fat in the cake recipe, but it comes from almonds, so it's not that bad. In fact, this is a relatively (key word is relatively) healthy recipe. I lightened up the cream cheese filling, by using 0% Greek Yogurt. I guess any Greek Yogurt could be used, but Costco brand that I love is 0% and this is what I had in my fridge. I must say, the frosting turned out DE-LI-CIOUS!!! It was seriously good and my mind is already trying to come up with other recipes where I can use it, since I actually really dislike traditional butter-based frosting.

This recipe is one of a few that I saved from my George Brown College Baking courses. I made a few tweaks and changes, but I'm quite happy with it. This cake takes very little time to prepare, so give it a try. It's really light and flavourful. There's not a lot of sugar, there are a lot of carrots, so you could even say it's healthy :) Or not... 

Carrot Cake Roll

Carrot Cake Roll

For a baking sheet 10x15 inches

Eggs - 3 large
Sugar - 90 g
Salt - a pinch
Rum - 25 g
Vanilla extract - 2 g
Shredded carrots - 180 g
Flour - 35 g
Breadcrumbs - 50 g
Ground almonds - 65 g
Baking powder - 4 g
Cinnamon - 3 g
Nutmeg - 2g
----Icing sugar for the roll, about 1/4 cup or less

For the cream cheese filling

Cream cheese, softened - 165 g
Icing sugar - 50 g
Plain greek yogurt - 200 g
Rum - a splash

- Pre-heat oven to 350F.
- Place eggs, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl over simmering pot of water. Warm it up until sugar melts constantly mixing so that eggs do not cook.
- Take bowl off heat and whisk at high speed for 10 min. Mixture will become pale yellow, fluffy and will triple in volume.
- While eggs are mixing, in small bowl combine flour, breadcrumbs, ground almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well.
- When eggs have tripled in volume, add vanilla, rum and mix for 30 seconds.
- Fold in flour mixture into eggs trying not to deflate mixture.
- Mix in carrots. 
- Make sure that batter is still fluffy, but flour is fully incorporated.
- Line 10x15 inch baking sheet with parchment paper, spray with oil.
- Pour batter into the baking sheet and spread. It'll be thin.
- Bake for 12-15 min depending on your oven.
- While cake is baking, take clean kitchen towel, lay it on kitchen table and sprinkle it with icing sugar, it'll help prevent cake from sticking to towel.
- Turn baked cake onto icing sugar towel and roll like sushi. Rolling it while cake is still warm will keep it from drying out and cracking when it's ready to be filled. Keep parchment paper on.
- Let cake cool for about 30-45 min.
- Meanwhile make filling. In medium bowl, whip cream cheese and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add half greek yogurt and whip for a few minutes.
- Add rest of yogurt, rum and whip more until filling is smooth and creamy.
- When cake is cooled, unroll it, take parchment paper off, spread filling and re-roll taking kitchen towel off.
- Let cool in fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Serve sprinkled with some icing sugar on top.

Comments
Make sure to grate carrots using smaller shredder. I used large end of my grater and although cake turned out delicious, it was a bit too "carroty" because of the texture of large pieces of carrots.
- You'll notice that this recipe has breadcrumbs. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why. I think it's more for texture. I have a feeling that the recipe could be made gluten-free by only using almonds instead of breadcrumbs and flour; or, alternatively, substitute all flour instead of breadcrumbs. I haven't tried it, but I think it could work.
- I used 11x16 inch baking sheet for my roll, as I don't have 10x15, but it would definitely be better. 
 

Carrot Cake Roll

Cheddar Soda Bread

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Is it too late to post a recipe for St. Patrick's Day? It's a Soda Bread which is traditionally Irish and I put a green napkin into the picture, so it qualifies as a proper food blog post on March 17th. Right?

I shop at Costco a lot. A lot!!! I love Costco, can't say enough good things about and recently I found a wonderful blog by a fellow Torontonian called Adventures in Nevy Land. It's mostly about shopping at Costco, deals, discounts, but Nevy also is a wonderful baker. Her posts are funny, interesting and also very informative. I love learning about chemistry in baking, secrets behind techniques and new ingredients. 

When I went to George Brown College to get my Bakery Arts Certificate, it was fun. I enjoyed it immensely. I learned how to bake pies, muffins, tarts, make pastry and I'm not afraid of any dough. However, most instructors weren't that knowledgeable. It was 10 years ago and although you could find a lot on the Internet, it wasn't as full of information as it is now. I remember asking the instructor about difference between cupcakes and muffins and the answer I was given that cupcakes had frosting. Sad. That's why I love Nevy's posts - they are informative and she provides lots of notes and advise.

Anyway, she recently posted a recipe for a Cheddar Soda Bread and I knew I had to make it. I made a few tiny changes to her recipe, so here it is. I feel like the word "fluffy" is over-used in food blogs, but that is the only way to describe this bread. It did in fact turn out very fluffy and cheese and delicious. And the best part - it was really easy to make!

SodaBread

Cheddar Soda Bread

adapted from Adventures in Nevy Land 

Flour - 298 g
Baking powder - 7 g
Baking soda - 4 g
Salt - 3 g
Black ground pepper - 2 g
Sugar - 9 g
Cold salted butter, cut into cubes - 60 g
Strong cheddar, shredded - 110 g
Greek plain yogurt - 170 g
Milk 1% - 123 g
Egg, extra-large - 1
  • In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and sugar.
  • Using pastry knife or fork mix in cold butter so that mixture resembles wet sand.
  • Add shredded cheese and mix.
  • In a small bowl combine yogurt, milk and egg. Mix well.
  • Add yogurt mixture into flour and mix with fork just until all flour disappears. Do not over mix! 
  • Put parchment paper into an 8-inch round form, oil the paper and the sides of the form.
  • Place the dough into the form.
  • You can chill the dough for a few hours or you can bake right away. Let it come to room temperature if chilled.
  • Bake at 375F for about 50-55 minutes depending on your oven.
  • Let it cool for 10-15 min.

Comments

  • Technically you are supposed to use buttermilk, but I never have buttermilk at home, so I followed Nevy's suggestion and used a mixture of milk and yogurt. She also suggests using a fuller fat milk, but we don't have that at home unfortunately.
  • I think next time I'd add a little bit more sugar. I like sweet and salty together. Just in case if you are wondering, 9 g of sugar is two teaspoons, so next time I'll use four teaspoons most likely.
  • I'll also use more pepper next time. I did not want to use my good aged sharp cheddar and I wish I had more of a peppery kick to the bread.
SodaBread

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies... or almost swirl brownies

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My New Years resolution from 2014 obviously did not work out. In fact, I haven't been inspired and I haven't been photographing much for myself (photos for clients don't count). But yesterday I felt creative and really enjoyed taking photos. I think it's the weather. It's getting warmer here and brighter outside. Also, these Brownies were delicious and I really wanted to share them.

I've been all about Peanut Butter lately. I got this huge 2kg (!!) jar of PB from Costco against my husband's advice and now I'm trying to prove him wrong and keep adding peanut butter everywhere. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. These brownies work, but what else could you expect from Martha Stewart's recipe? Even though I changed some ingredients and adapted it to what I had in my kitchen. These moist and fudgy cookies (according to Martha brownies are cookies) are better the next day when all the flavours got to meld together.

PeanutButterBrownies

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

For the batter:
Unsalted butter, cut into small pieces - 4 tablespoons
Coconut oil - 3 tablespoons
Semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped - 7 ounces
Flour - 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - a pinch
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Eggs - 3 extra-large
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon

For the filling:
Cream cheese, softened - 4 tablespoons
Peanut butter, smooth - 3/4 cup
Icing sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and butter the paper.
  • For the batter, put butter, coconut oil and chocolate pieces into a heatproof bowl set over a simmering water. Stir until fully melted. Let cool a little bit.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Once chocolate mixture cooled a little bit, add sugar to it and mix.
  • Add eggs, vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture and mix well until combined.
  • For the filling, mix all the ingredients together until fully incorporated.
  • Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan.  Using half of the filling, drop dollops of peanut butter mixture on top. 
  • Pour the rest of the brownie batter on top, spread evenly.
  • Drop spoonfuls of filling on top.
  • Mix with knife a little bit to incorporate the "swirl" into the batter a little bit, but don't over mix. 
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or a little bit longer until toothpick inserted into brownies comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet. 
  • Let cool for 15 minutes in pan, then lift out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Comments

  • I only had half a stick of butter in my fridge, so I had to improvise. Technically only butter can be used to make the brownies, no need for coconut oil. Or, if you'd like to have a more tropical brownie, then all coconut oil can be used too.
  • Filling also had butter, but see my point above, so I decided to use cream cheese instead. I actually think the flavour profile of cream cheese and peanut butter together is much better than peanut butter and butter. Cream cheese cuts through the richness of PB and gives the filling a little bit of tang. However, original recipe called for melted butter and PB mixed together which resulted in a liquid filling. Cream cheese and PB do not make anything even remotely liquid, so that's why my swirl did not really swirl :) 
PeanutButterBrownies

{Recipe} Yogurt Pancakes... and waffles

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So, it's 2014 already and I have not been blogging for many months. I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. I don't really believe in them. If you want to do something, just do it. There's no reason to wait until the New Year which is a pretty arbitrary date. However, this year I made a few. And one of those resolutions is to blog more. Although I feel that I won't be able to keep it up... So much for being optimistic! 

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Well, I'll try anyway. And I am going to start this year with my favourite recipe for pancakes and/or waffles. To be honest, most of the time when I make pancakes, I just mix whatever ingredients I have on hand and hope for the best. Sometimes it's yogurt, sometimes sour cream, sometimes milk or kefir or ricotta. Then I add eggs and flour to get it to proper consistency. Sometimes those recipes work, sometimes not. One time I was experimenting with another batch of pancakes and the result was amazing. It was so good, that the next time I actually measured the ingredients and then again and again, until I got this perfect recipe that I use all the time now. I still mess with it on occasion. I have added bran to it, I have made it into waffles, I have added spices, but the general formula stays the same. It's fluffy and tender and homey and... oh, so good! Having  oats and greek yogurt in the recipe is a healthy bonus.

Yogurt Pancakes 

Greek yogurt - 1 cup
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Flour - 1 1/4 cup
Oats (quick) - 1/2 cup
Brown sugar - 3 tablespoons
Baking powder - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Milk - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 2 large
Oil - 1 tablespoon

  • Start by mixing yogurt and soda in a medium bowl and let it foam a little bit.
  • In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
  • Add eggs and milk to the soda-yogurt mixture and mix well.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.
  • Make sure to NOT overmix. Keep the batter lumpy! If you overmix, then the resulting pancakes will be glutenous and rubbery.
  • You may need to add more milk if the batter is too thick.
  • Add a table spoon of oil to the batter and lightly mix.
  • Heat the pan on medium. Lightly brush oil on to the pan and pour heaping spoons of batter.
  • Cook on medium until the bubbles start to appear on the pancakes, about 2-3 minutes. Then flip them and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the pancakes are cooked through. Times may vary based on your stove. I sometimes lower the heat and cook them longer. I keep my pancakes in the warm oven while I cook all the batches.

Comments
I use the same recipe for waffles too. I know, I know, all the cookbooks that I have say that waffles require about 6-8 tablespoons of melted butter, but I just can't fathom adding so much fat into my breakfast. And I can assure you that waffles that I get with only one tablespoon of oil are still very delicious. When I make waffles, I don't worry about them being fluffy since I actually go more for crisp, so I add more dry ingredients - either oats or wheat bran, about 1/4 cup. I figure that it's healthy and if it doesn't effect the taste, then why not.

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Greek Yogurt Pancakes