Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blueberry Loaf Cake

 



I'll be honest: the only reason I made this cake was because I had all the ingredients already and I didn't feel like spending money and going to the grocery store to buy new stuff.

Basically, it's the lazy woman's cake.



Originally, this recipe called for sultanas - in the baking book "À La Mère De Famille" (and it just took me 10 minutes of Googling to figure out how to use accents on a Mac) it's actually called "Sultana Cake." But I hate sultanas. So, I looked in my fridge and found that I had blueberries that desperately needed to be eaten or else into the green bin they would go, and that's how it became Blueberry Loaf Cake. (Sorry, French baking chefs.)

This baking book - which uses recipes from the eponymous Parisian store - is a delight to browse through, even if you don't like baking. Gorgeous pictures of truffles, decadent marshmallows, nougats, candied confections and plenty of chocolate delicacies will make you (almost) feel full after you take a look.



It looks good enough that I just might have to convince my husband to go on another trip to Paris with me just to check out the shop's goods for myself.

Until then, I'll just tweak their recipes sans sultanas.



Blueberry Loaf Cake
Adapted from À La Mère De Famille

Makes one 9- by 4-inch cake

Batter:

- 1 1/2 cups of flour
- 1/4 cup ground almonds or almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries (or sultanas, if that's your steeze)
- Optional: 4 tsp dark rum (if you're using sultanas)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature

Syrup:

- 1 cup + 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1 tbsp dark rum



Making the batter:

Sift the flour, ground almonds and baking powder into a small bowl. Set aside. If you're using sultanas, get another small bowl and soak the sultanas in the rum for at least 15 minutes. If using blueberries, just make sure they're washed with water and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating constantly until they are well incorporated. Fold in the flour, then the blueberries (or sultanas and their liquid).

Baking:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the 9- by 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. (I coated it with butter first so the paper would stick nicely to the sides.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 5 minutes, then make a lengthwise incision in the top of the cake with a sharp knife. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, then return the cake to the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake is golden-brown and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out of the pan.

Making the syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and rum. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and, while cake and syrup are still warm, use a pastry brush to moisten the cake with the syrup. Cool completely before serving. (The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.)

Voilà! Now you too can eat like the French!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chocolate Chunk Muffins





According to everyone I follow on Instagram, January is supposed to be a time when I start eating healthier, going (back) to the gym, buying new workout gear and repeating holistic mantras to myself several times a day #justdoit #getoutside.

Fuck. That. Shit.

I mean sure, eating healthy and working out are great and all but I know something that's even better: eating chocolate chunk muffins. Right??



Ok so this recipe, which I found in the amazing Huckleberry cookbook (fun fact: it's recommended by Her Royal Goopster Gwyneth Paltrow and my favourite Hobbit, Elijah Wood), calls for some almond flour. I've never used almond flour before so imagine my surprise when I went to No Frills and discovered that a small bag of that shit costs 15 bucks. Yeah, no kidding! BAKING.

I Googled "Why is almond flour so expensive" and the first link that came up in search was "5 reasons to avoid almond flour." Thanks buddy, but you're TOO LATE.

According to the Internets, almond flour/almond meal is used for low carb/grain free/paleo baking while still able to create that delicious fluffiness that all-purpose flour is known for. There is plenty of literature on why almond flour is awesome and alternatively, why it's the worst, but in this case, I'm only using a bit of it and YOLO. (I know, I know. I'm really dating myself by using that term but it really applies here.)



I found this recipe to be super easy to make and best served 10 minutes after coming out of the oven, if you want to dive into gooey, melted chocolate.

Bring it on, January!



Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Adapted from Huckleberry

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp kosher salt (I used sea salt and it was great)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup plain whole yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups chopped dark chocolate, 60 - 70% cacao

1. Position a rack toward the top of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line one 12-cup muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until nice and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well with each addition. Pause mixing. Add the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, vanilla and chocolate. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated.

3. Fill the muffin cups with batter all the way to the top. Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar.

4. Bake for 22-25 minutes until the muffins are brown and just spring back to touch. Don't overbake!

Muffins keep perfectly, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to three days.