Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Snack Cake

This cake is my spin on Baking Bites’ almond cake with blueberry compote.

I replaced the almonds with hazelnuts, and subbed 1/4 cup of the flour with cocoa powder.

I call it a brownie snack cake because the moisture reminds me of a cakey brownie. Unlike its almond counterpart, this cake is moist but fluffy, not pound-cake dense.

I made this cake Friday evening and took it with me as a snack to eat during break when I took the SAT on Saturday. Being at school on a Saturday morning is not so bad when there’s cake involved! And it fueled my brain ūüėČ

So now I’m inspired to try some more spins on the almond cake. Thank you, Baking Bites, for such a yummy, easy, versatile recipe! What will it be next? Matcha pear almond cake? Rosewater pistachio cake? Banana walnut cake? Maple pecan cake?

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Snack Cake

Based on Baking Bites’ almond cake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (80g) white whole wheat flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
1 cup (112g) hazelnuts
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled, or applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place flour, cocoa powder, and hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until hazelnuts are mostly ground. Add baking powder and salt and pulse.

If you have a larger food processor, you can combine all the ingredients right in the bowl of the processor. If, like mine, yours is smaller, empty the contents of the food processor into a large bowl.

Add eggs, milk, butter/applesauce, and vanilla and mix.

Pour into an 8×8 or 8.5×8.5 square baking dish and bake for about 25-35 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool and cut into 16 squares to serve.

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National Day of Prayer and Almond Cake

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2014, as a National Day of Prayer. I invite the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in asking for God‚Äôs continued guidance, mercy, and protection as we seek a more just world.”

-Barack Obama

Today, May 1, has been designated as this year’s National Day of Prayer, encouraging people of all faiths and denominations to pray for this nation. We are blessed in the United States to have freedom of worship, and the NDP encourages us to use that right to come together to pray for our friends and families, our leaders, our nation, and our world.

On this day and every day, we give thanks. If you are reading this, you have been educated enough for literacy and have access to a computer. Many citizens of the world do not. The majority of us here in the U.S. have our basic needs met. We have access to free public education. Technological advances of our day and age have We all are guaranteed certain liberties and are able to choose our leaders. For these things and countless others we are thankful, and we pray that we will choose wisely.

We pray for wisdom and guidance upon our leaders. We pray for individuals worldwide denied human liberties, those detained as prisoners of conscience, those wanting of life’s necessities, those whose lives are ravaged by war, and we pray that we may be provided with means to reach to them. We pray for our fellow Americans, such as Kenneth Bae and Saeed Abedini, who are unjustly incarcerated abroad. We pray for our fellow humans in suffering in North Korea and Syria and countless other places on the globe.

I pray for my family in Japan who have not yet found the Lord. I pray that I will know and do what is right. I pray for improvements to my character and I pray that I will find ways and the desire to use the gifts I have been given to serve others.

Will you join me, whatever your faith, in prayer today?

Today’s recipe is almond cake. It is a very straightforward recipe, yet magnificent in taste. It has an dense, moist crumb and a succulent almond flavor. It can even be made in one’s food processor (we also can be thankful for food processors; they make life so decidedly simpler!), but since my food processor is small, I put it together in a large mixing bowl. That’s right, you only have to dirty one bowl! Delectable and easy–what’s not to love?

Almond Cake

From Baking Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup almond meal (or 4 oz whole almonds, ground)
1 1/2 cup sugar or Stevia
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled, or applesauce
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9 inch circular pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor (or in a large mixing bowl), combine flour, ground almonds, and sugar, and pulse until well combined. Add baking powder and salt and pulse.
Add remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Pour into cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. When cake is cool, loosen sides from the pan, invert onto a plate and remove parchment paper to serve.

If desired, serve with the blueberry compote provided on Baking Bites. I did not try this yet, so I cannot guarantee the results.

Mochi Cake

One of my homework assignments this weekend is among the most difficult I have been required to do.

I do not necessarily mean difficult from an academic standpoint. I have had more academically challenging tasks to perform.

The assignment tears me apart.¬†“Should the United States have dropped the atomic bombs on Japan?”

I recognize the appalling behavior of the Japanese army before and during the Second World War. Perhaps I would see the question differently if I were not a Japanese-American. If it were a different nation upon which we released “…Death, the destroyer of worlds,” how would I feel about the issue? Still¬†shocked¬†by the horror unleashed, but I would be able to take a more detached, rational-minded view.

I wrote yes. Yes that the bomb was the lesser of two evils. Yes because the expedient end to the war prevented the U.S.S.R. from reaching Japan and establishing their own zone of occupation. Yes because I know the pain of the divided Germans before 1989, the heartbreak of the separated Koreans still today.

I cannot put myself into this paper. I must state my opinion and the facts. There are things I long to add to the words of that essay, which I cannot. That it breaks my heart to take the stance that I did. That it is to my deep regret that wars must happen. And yet it seems that there are occasions when they must.

With today’s recipe, I hope to initiate peace and reconciliation. Peace  that comes with sitting around a table with people of different backgrounds, enjoying food from different cultures and conversing. And realizing that we aren’t so different after all. And moving on from our past errors into a more hopeful future. Though right now that future seems unlikely, as the events of the news trend toward the disheartening, perhaps a change in our perception of each other may inch us closer to a brighter tomorrow. If we learn about each other, then no matter the decisions made by our leaders and foreign leaders, we will be civil toward each other to the best of our ability. And maybe there will be no more Rapes of Nanking, no more Bataan Death Marches, no more Executive Orders 9066, no more unleashings of atomic bombs.

Will you join me?

Mochi is not a treat exclusive to Japan. Glutinous (mochi) rice is widely used throughout Asia. (Note that glutinous refers to the rice’s stickiness; it is gluten-free). In fact, if I am not mistaken, mochi cake originated in Hawaii as a result of the Japanese influence there. Mochi cake contains all the components of a Western flour cake, but mochiko (glutinous rice flour) is used in the place of wheat flour. I like to make it less sweet than other cakes, because I am accustomed to mochi not being sweet (it’s usually covered in some kind of sweet sauce or topping; I often had it as a child in a mixture of soy sauce and sugar). But you can adjust it to your taste. The cake is sticky, like mochi, but holds its shape because of its cake constituents.

The original recipe contained vanilla extract, but the idea of that somewhat repulsed me. I like the pure mochi taste. I’ve also made a matcha (green tea) flavored mochi cake, but I feel that plain is vastly superior. Just my opinion. I usually like to drink matcha, though. Did I mention that it’s slimming and full of antioxidants? But I digress.

The recipe is adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings. You should try¬†her blog–she has some singular recipes.

 

Mochi Cake

Adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings

Ingredients:

1 cup melted butter (I used applesauce)

2 cups sugar or Stevia in the raw (not the liquid Stevia, the kind in bags)

4 eggs, beaten

2 tsp. baking powder

16 oz. box Mochiko flour (Available at most Asian grocery stores. Also, I believe this is 4 cups; check the nutrition label on the box)

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix butter and sugar.

Beat in the evaporated milk to the butter mixture. Beat in eggs.

Beat in the rice flour and baking powder.

Pour batter into a 9x 13 inch pan. Bake for about 1 hour.

Cool completely before cutting.

Almond Tiramisu Cake

Oh, dear. I shouldn’t have made this.

I cannot desist from consuming it.

It is simply so terribly toothsome.

I am virtually out of wheat flour, and all I had was a bag of almond meal and a craving for tiramisu. I desired to make a tiramisu cake, but how?

I turned to innovation.

Almond cakes are so elegant…I honestly think this is better than a wheat flour tiramisu cake. And it’s gluten-free, with the healthy fats, protein, and Vitamin E found in almonds.

Thoroughly acceptable for breakfast ūüôā

 

Almond Tiramisu Cake

Cake adapted from MyRecipes

Ingredients:

Cake

3/4 cup ground almonds or almond meal

3/4 cup Stevia or sugar

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Syrup

3-4 tablespoons water

2 tsp instant coffee granules

2 tablespoons Stevia or sugar

Frosting

1/2 cup nonfat cream cheese, softened

1-2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

1/3 cup Stevia or sugar

1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream

Cocoa powder for dusting

 

Line a 8 or 9″ round cake pan with parchment paper or even nonstick foil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine almond meal, sweetener, egg yolks, vanilla, salt, and water in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to medium peaks.

Gently fold egg whites into almond meal mixture, adding about a third of the whites at a time.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until edges begin to brown. You may need to tent the cake with foil part-way through.

 

While cake is baking, prepare the frosting and syrup.

Combine syrup ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

For frosting, beat the cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer. Add yogurt and sugars. Stir in coffee and beat until smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator until cake is done.

 

When cake is finished baking, poke holes all over the surface and slowly, evenly pour the syrup over the cake, giving the syrup time to soak into the cake. When cake is completely cool, spread the frosting over it and lightly dust with cocoa powder. Chill until ready to serve.

Angel Food Cupcakes

“Sin had left a crimson stain;

He washed it white as snow.”

 

One cold night in November of 1989, thousands of people poured into the streets to celebrate. The day was not an official holiday. The party was not planned. But people danced and cheered and hugged…

and chipped away at a wall of concrete.

The Berlin Wall.

That was almost nine years before I was born. But history strikes such a chord in me that I may as well have been there.

I watched this video of the news coverage the day after the barrier between East and West was opened. I watched it on a whim, but I am so glad I did. I felt as though I were watching on TV it the very day it happened, I felt as though I were there among the Berliners.

Ich bin ein Berliner. I was them. They were me. I could just as easily have been born in East Berlin during the Cold War as in Pennsylvania in the closing years of the 20th century. The history of mankind connects us all. I love history…

But watching the video and the jubilation of the people of Berlin made me think of another event, in the more distant past, but which affects us more than any other event in our history.

When the Iron Curtain began to crack as the Cold War waned, people celebrated the triumph¬†of freedom. As a sinless man hung on a cross to liberate a world fettered by sin, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom”–the barrier that separated us from God existed¬†no longer.

That is also a cause for jubilation.

This weekend is Easter weekend, so why not celebrate with some angel food cupcakes? Airy, ethereal, almost like partaking of fragments of the cloudy sky.

It’s¬†angel food cake in¬†cupcake form. I am unable to construe how¬†prodigiously phenomenal that is.

No necessity of a specialized tube pan. No need to grow flustered over ensuring the cake cools up-side down. No hassle…

Ingenious.

And oh, the sensations: how might I ever expound them?¬†Can a mere moral, this lonely, foolish writer, describe the exquisite and unearthly taste and feel of the¬†ethereal clouds? Yes, clouds! eating one of these cupcakes is like inhaling a cloud as one’s fare.

Nothing like the parched Styrofoam angel cakes sold in the grocery store bakery.

 

Angel Food Cupcakes

Recipe from Two Peas and their Pod

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar or sweetener of choice (such as Stevia or Truvia)
1/2 cup sifted cake flour (I used part white whole wheat for health, but use cake for optimal results)
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (Finally, a 350 degree recipe!) Line a regular 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl.

In another bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy, then add in vanilla, zest, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat to soft peaks.

Gently fold whites into flour mixture.

Divide evenly into prepared muffin tins. 

Bake 16-18 minutes, until tops are golden and spring back lightly. Watch them carefully! Mine took less time.

Cool, then serve these sublime bites of celestial delight.

Lemon Ricotta Loaf Cake

Let me tell you about this lovely, luscious, and likable lemon loaf.

(Our language has lamentably few expressive¬†verbs which begin with “L”.)

How might I describe it to you? Lemony and moist, with a slight cornbread-esque crumble to it and faint buttery undertones.

My inarticulate¬†baker’s parlance does not do this dessert justice.

It belongs on your Easter table.

Do not be disheartened by the ricotta. I am averse to the stuff as well. But not in baking, for it lends to goods a superlative quality. Oh, yes, in baking I cherish ricotta cheese.

Try it once and you shall fathom the marvels of ricotta.

I had three-quarters of a cup remaining in a little round container after producing some lasagna roll-ups. Several days went by. I was a maiden in distress, for the spoilage of extortionately-priced ricotta would be a dire predicament. But no fear! Tuscan lemon muffins came to my deliverance. It was an intriguing idea, and I was open to the endeavor.

I made a loaf instead of muffins. Muffins are adorable, but a loaf cake bears a unique aura of elegant simplicity.

 

Lemon Ricotta Loaf Cake

Adapted from MyRecipes

1 cup cake flour

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup Stevia in the raw or granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup olive oil or applesauce

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 tsp lemon extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8×4″ loaf pan.

(You know what’s funny? This blog is called Fahrenheit 351, but none of the recipes which I’ve shared with you so far require you to preheat the oven to 350 degrees!)

Combine first six ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl.

Mix remaining ingredients (ricotta through egg) in a smaller bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until loaf is done. It will be very soft, yet firm enough to spring back when gently pressed.

Cool before slicing into 8-12 slices. Enjoy!

Hummingbird cake

I believe that my God can turn a mess into a message.

Like this hummingbird cake.

I was in high spirits. The homework was done early and I had plenty of time to bake. Perhaps my spirits were a bit¬†too¬†elated, because I made some…blunders.

I had originally intended to halve the recipe and make one 9″ cake, not two. When I make a recipe for the first time, I like to make a smaller batch, just in case it doesn’t turn out well.

Except…as I flitted about my small kitchen, measuring and pouring, the realization struck me that I had used half the amount of flour called for…but the same amount of baking soda.

I know what too much baking soda can do. It can make one’s cake turn out¬†flat!

EEP!

So I had to add flour and make the entire recipe. Three cups of flour, two 9″ round cakes.

I was pushed very far out of my comfort zone.

Still, something inside me told me to relax; all would be well. I mixed the batter and placed the cake into the oven.

About fifteen minutes into baking, I came to a dire and appalling consciousness.

I. Had. Forgotten. To. Add. Eggs.

This was not intended to be a vegan cake. It was supposed to have two eggs.

I nearly collapsed to the floor.

Still, the inner voice told me to keep calm. This was a culinary mess. God can turn a mess into a message.

The timer counted down. The oven radiated heat. The cakes baked on.

I pulled the cakes from the oven. They looked fine. But how would they taste?

 

Heavenly.

 

Hummingbird Cake

Recipe from Baking Bites

Ingredients:

1.5 cups white whole wheat flour

1.5 cups cake flour

2 cups sugar or Stevia in the raw or Truvia

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil or applesauce

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs (don’t forget them! *wink*)

2 cups banana, chopped (2 medium-large)

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained (or finely chopped fresh pineapple)

Cream cheese frosting, if desired (recipe follows)

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix together vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.

Stir chopped banana into flour mixture and toss to coat. Stir pineapple into wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry and mix.

Divide evenly between pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until done. Cool.

Eat as is, or layer with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese block, any fat content

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, strained

1 tsp vanilla extract

1T powdered sugar

1 cup Stevia in the raw or sugar

Beat ingredients together until smooth. Chill.