Friday, April 29, 2011

guilt free lava cake for one

man, i always forget what a pain the moving process is. between spending twenty hours in the car last weekend (preliminary apartment hunting) and packing up everything i own (craigslist gets the rest!) i have barely had enough time to sleep, much less blog. 

to make up for my lengthly absence i come bearing lava cake. that's right, chocolate-y goodness that's a brownie on the outside and warm pudding on the inside. i don't even like pudding and i've already made this cake twice this week - it's that good. 

on top of all that, this is also a recipe for one - perfect for when the mood strikes you, but won't leave you with a baker's dozen on the kitchen counter tempting you.

this is a shockingly simple recipe for how elaborate the final product seems to be. you just need one small bowl for dry ingredients and another vessel of some kind for wet. 

i baked my cake in a 7 ounce ramekin, which is a fancy word for a small heat proof bowl. for as much as i use the ramekins i have - seriously, ice cream, microwaving anything and everything, sauce-making, snack-holding, etc. - they do not get nearly enough praise in my kitchen. if you don't have a set of these i highly recommend picking up one or fifteen. you can thank me later!

when you take your cake out of the oven you want the sides and top to be fairly set, but definitely not cooked through. i found that to take around 15 minutes in my oven, but in the name of honesty i will say the first time i made this it i left it in far too long (i got a brownie) and the second far too short (pudding soup). not that i minded eating either, but the goal is an even split between the two extremes.

though i know from personal experience how tempting it is to dig right into your lava cake while it's in a piping hot ramekin, it isn't a good idea. seriously, i think i no longer have a fingerprint on my ring finger. what you want to do is grab a larger plate or dish and invert your ramekin onto that. you will look and feel like a total professional, promise.

now, i give you permission to sit down with your very own lava cake and enjoy every last bite. and, in case you forgot, the beauty of a cake for one is that no one will be around to judge you as you lick the plate.

guilt free lava cake for one

yields 1 cake


2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon dutch-processed cocoa
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons skim milk
1 tablespoon non-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

3. mix milk, yogurt, and vanilla in separate bowl.

4. pour wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients and stir until combined.

5. grease a 7 ounce ramekin with cooking spray. pour batter into ramekin and bake for 12-16 minutes or until edges and top of cake are set.

6. let cake cool for 1 minute then invert onto larger plate or bowl. enjoy!

nutritional information:

calories: 171, fat: 1.24g, sodium: 185mg, carbs: 39g, fiber: 4.5g, sugars: 19g, protein: 5.72g.

thanks for reading & happy baking!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

vegan banana flax walnut muffins

let's say that mother nature won't let you pack up your winter clothes and all you want is consistent weather. or let's say that your crest white strips are making your teeth sensitive (and, to add insult to injury, your boyfriend says its because you've been watching too much real housewives). let's say you're definitely moving in a month and are freaking out about getting everything packed. or maybe you just finished the "intermediate" running level on your favorite running app and now you're afraid to move up to "advanced". 

let's say you feel crazy because of all the changes, big and small, and just want a simple muffin to make you feel better. and, let's say, banana bread always reminds you of your mom. auto-comfort. 

and, well, maybe those are less hypothetical than i made them out to be. 

the biggest one being that we are officially packing up and moving 500 miles to washington dc in a few weeks. needless to say, i'm a little stressed out about the whole thing. this might translate into baking-overload, or into having very little time to whip anything up - we'll see! just know that if it's the latter than i haven't forgotten about you.

now that that's out of the way, let's talk muffins.

i would be lying if i said that sometimes i didn't let bananas overripe on purpose, just so i could make banana bread. these were getting so bad you could smell them from the hallway, so last night i decided to turn the recipe i used a few days ago into muffins to see if it translated. lucky for me, it did!

i beefed things up nutritionally by using whole wheat flour, unrefined sugar, and flax meal for extra oomph. everyone at work has been trying to be more conscientious about what they are eating, so i want to bring them something a little healthier than my normal fare. 

i ended up making a dozen with walnuts and six without, just incase anyone wasn't feeling nutty (though i sure will be) and/or there was a nut allergy issues. feel free to substitute almost anything in this recipe for another comprable ingredient. how about cranberries and almonds? the muffin is your oyster, get creative!

i wanted to pay a quick compliment to my offset spatula, one of my all-time favorite and all-time used baking supplies. i use it to frost cakes, wedge muffins out of their tins, smooth cream onto whoopie pies, scrape peanut butter from the bottom of the jar when i'm having a late-night craving, and..well, you get it. 

i had almost three of these for breakfast this morning (note: does not include the batter i shamelessly licked from the inside of the bowl during my "prewash" cycle of dish washing). they're that good. 

vegan banana flax walnut muffins

yields 18

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
3 tablespoons flax meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 overripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1. preheat over to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

2. in a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, flax meal, and salt until well combined. add mashed bananas and continue to mix until mostly incorporated. (note: it will be lumpy-looking, but i use two forks and "cut" the bananas into the mix like i would butter in a biscuit recipe!)

3. add maple syrup and water and stir until mostly dissolved.

4. make two wells in the bowl (i used the back of a tablespoon) and pour vinegar in one and oil in the other. pour water mixture over everything and stir until just combined.

5. fill muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

nutritional information:

calories: 125, fat: 3.7g, sodium: 203mg, carbs: 21g, fiber: 3g, sugars 7g, protein: 3.19g. 

as always, thanks for reading & happy baking!


ps: i JUST noticed that my image bandwidth has been exceeded (what?!) and will need to figure out what to do about that. in the meantime things should be up and running, but if my photos go offline in the near future it's just because i'm doing some upgrades. thanks y'all!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

low-fat vegan ginger lemon quick bread

this recipe is amaaazing. yup, it deserved two extra a's. part of why it's so good is that it took me about ten minutes to make and i used a grand total of one bowl. considering how much i detest washing dishes - i always end up looking like i was sitting in the splash section at a dolphin show - this is a very good thing.

i had some leftover ginger from my sore throat days a few weeks ago when i would drink what seemed like gallons of ginger lemon tea every day, so i decided to pump up this lemon cake with a little heat and spice from the freshly grated ginger. if you don't have any on hand feel free to use pre-grated stuff or omit it all together. no worries!

here is the super complicated first step of the recipe. yup, you have to put all the dry ingredients in a one bowl and give them a good mix. that's it!

(this is just proof at how messy my workstation can get. seriously, stuff everywhere!)

i decided to balance the spicy and sour cake with a lemon-honey glazed that brought everything together. you can feel free to skip this step, but you know i always vote for a glaze if i have the option.

woah! oh geez, i almost forgot to tell you the most magical and unbelievable part of this recipe. get ready. are you ready? okay, just make sure you're sitting down. this entire cake has only one tablespoon of fat. that's right. ONE. did i blow your mind or what? this means that each serving has only one gram of fat. totally insane.

low-fat vegan ginger lemon quick bread

adapted from budget bytes
yields 12 slices

for the cake:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 medium lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. in a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves, lemon zest and ginger.

3. make two wells in the dry ingredients and pour the vinegar in one and the oil in the other. pour water over everything and stir until everything is just combined.

4. pour batter into a greased loaf pan. bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. while cake is cooling combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until it reaches your desired consistency. wait until the cake is completely cooled to pour glaze or risk it melting off!

nutritional information:

calories: 112, fat: 1.3g, cholesterol: 0mg, sodium: 204mg, carbs: 24g, fiber: 2.11g, sugars: 12g, protein: 2.16g. 

thanks for reading & happy baking!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

homemade oatmeal creme pie!

disclaimer: these are not healthy. that being said, they are so addictive that i gave myself a stomach ache before the gooey filling had even been made. 

my second admission is that i've never actually had a real-deal little debbie oatmeal creme pie. some people might consider this good parenting and others might consider it child neglect, but my snack of choice as a child was a little thing called a pastelito de guayaba (sweet puff pastry filled with guava, or quince). but, i've decided to give this little debbie a chance considering how many people confused my zebra cake with one of deb's concoctions. since the most requested snack was her oatmeal creme pie i decided to whip up a batch! 

first, like with any good recipe, you start by creaming a ton of butter and sugar. granted, i got five dozen cookies out of this recipe, so feel free to cut the recipe in half.

the batter is this gorgeous peanut-buttery color and makes delicious oatmeal cookies on its own. i honestly couldn't keep my fingers out of this batter and am guessing 3-4 cookies worth of dough fell victim to my cravings. 

(side note: i didn't realize you could see my rolled jeans & flip flops reflected in the bowl! it was almost 80 degrees in michigan today and i broke out my favorite shoes for the event.)

to pipe my delicious filling between my cookies i used a large sized round piping tip, but you could just as easily use a knife and just spread it on. the icing might seem a little unruly as you're making your sandwiches, but don't worry! it does set after about an hour, which then makes it super easy to put in baggies or stack for portability. 

not to brag, but i think i gave debbie a run for her money with these babies. the cookies themselves are hearty, delicious, and soft without falling apart. the addition of the marshmallow-vanilla filling takes it to a whole new level of fantastic. though making these is not a particularly fast process, i think it's totally worth it to relive your childhood and bring on the nostalgia.

homemade oatmeal creme pie

yields 30 sandwiches (plus 8-10 leftover cookies!)
adapted from beantown baker

for the cookies:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour (i used 1 cup all-purpose & 1 cup whole wheat pastry)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups quick oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 tablespoons boiling water

for the filling:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 jar marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1. cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. once light and fluffy, add egg and mix until combined.

2. in a separate bowl, whisk together salt, flour, and baking power. add to creamed mixture. add cinnamon and oats and mix well.

3. in a small dish, add baking soda to boiling water and stir mixture into batter. mix well.

4. chill dough for 1-2 hours in fridge to let cool. 

5. preheat oven to 375 degrees and lined cookie sheet with parchment. 

6. drop tablespoons of dough onto sheet about two inches apart and bake for 8-9 minutes or until cookies are firm and golden around the edges. let cookies stand on sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.

7. to make filling, whip butter in a stand mixer to soften. add jar of marshmallow and beat until fluffy. add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until combined. add vanilla and combine.

8. spread or pipe filling onto cool cookies and allow to set for 1-2 hours.

nutritional information:

calories: 213, fat: 6.67g, cholesterol: 23mg, sodium: 74mg, carbs: 18g, sugars: 13g, protein: 1.7g.

thanks for reading & happy baking!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

slimmed down zebra cake with chocolate frosting (a reader request!)

because one of my favorite parts of having this blog is getting to interact with all you out there in internet-land, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that when one of my readers emailed me asking for my help in slimming down a zebra cake i jumped at the chance.

this was my first time attempting this recipe and i think there is definitely room for improvement, especially in the stripes, but i will - as always! - share my mistakes with you so that only one of us has to make them. 

i cut this cake down from over 400 calories a slice to around 250 calories and i've gotta say, i'm pretty proud of myself. i substituted some of the vegetable oil for drained applesauce, which is a great ingredient to swap out for fats, and i made a few adjustments to the eggs and sugar quantities. 

the secret to putting the "zebra" in zebra cake is splitting the batter in half once it's completely mixed, which is way more convenient than making two batters. cocoa powder gets added to one while the other remains plain.

the rings are formed by dropping alternating dollops of chocolate and plain batter on top of each other. i did around two tablespoons per dollop, which i think led to my aesthetic downfall, and will definitely opt for a 1/4 cup size next time. i think it will make it look more like the animal print i so love and less like i'm trying to see how old a tree is.

so, my dear readers, you can totally stop here and have a delicious and gorgeous cake. maybe a light dusting of powdered sugar? something simple and elegant? could go a different route. like i did. okay, let me rewind a bit. i was in the middle of basking in the pride of cutting the calories of this cake pretty much in half when i decided that frosting was in order. yup, gooey, decadent, dark chocolate frosting. so far from simple and elegant. i just couldn't help myself.

feel free to take either approach to this cake. you can use the excuse, like i did, that covering the top in frosting makes the cake more mysterious and alluring because you don't have any clue how beautiful the inside is until you cut into it. or you could be logical and enjoy 214 calories of marbled (or, in your case, probably more zebra-y) goodness.

skinny zebra cake

yields 12 slices
adapted from az cookbook

for the cake:

2 eggs
2 egg whites
3/4 cup granulated
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup drained applesauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa (the darker, the better!)
1 cup low fat buttermilk

for the icing:

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
2-3 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease 9" pan with oil or parchment. (i used a springform pan and it worked perfectly!)

2. in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, egg whites, and sugar until creamy and light in color. add buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and applesauce and beat until blended.

3. in a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until the batter is smooth and fully incorporated.

4. scoop 2 cups of batter into bowl used for dry ingredients and set aside. in mixer, sift cocoa into remaining plain batter and mix.

5. using two 1/4 cup measurers, one for each flavor batter, scoop alternating flavors into the center of the baking pan, one on top of the next. do not wait until the previous circle has spread and do not tilt the pan - the mixture will spread by itself! keep working until no batter is left.

6. bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean!

7. while cake is cooling place room temperature butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and soft. add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and combine with butter. add cocoa and 1 tablespoon of milk and combine. add remaining powdered sugar and mix until creamy. add vanilla and combine. to adjust consistency of frosting, add milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

8. spread frosting evenly over cooled cake and chill in fridge until set.

nutritional information:

calories: 250, fat: 8.8g, cholesterol: 41mg, sodium: 156mg, carbs: 37g, fiber: 2g, sugars: 20g, protein: 5.13g.