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Lemon Olive Oil Cake

26 Feb

I don’t know what it is about winter, but I love making summery desserts.  Maybe it’s the fresh flavours that remind me of things to come.  Momentarily, I am transported into the future as I bite into a slice of lemon cake.  Just for a moment it’s a breezy summer evening then in a flash I realize that breeze is actually the a gush of winter wind that I feel as my husband opens the front door.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike winter, no? But I’m pretty sure that I have hinted at it.  I get the winter blues, no amount of vitamin D will ever cure the winter blues.  As you also may have noticed I don’t do much blogging in the winter. It gets so dark quickly that I can’t take a decent picture that is blog worthy. But every once in a while I come back to my blog and tell myself to snap out of it and to post something new.

So here it is, my Lemon Olive Oil Cake.  It’s one of those recipes that I had wanted to try for a while.  This cake is definitely a keeper.  It comes together quickly and the result is a moist, tangy cake with a hint of olive oil.  The moistness comes from a simple lemon flavoured syrup. I was a little worried that it would be über greasy and the olive oil would monopolize the overall taste.  I was wrong on both accounts.  It’s topped with a lemon glaze which I thought it could do without, but my husband begs to differ.  The recipe actually didn’t call for the glaze, but I wanted to dress it up. Continue reading

Yogurt Butternut Squash Cake with Spiced Vanilla Icing

17 Nov

How’s that title for a mouthful? So I wanted to try something different from my usual, you know trying to step out of my comfort zone.  This recipe is by no means difficult, it’s just that it has butternut squash which I have never baked with before…or cooked with either for that matter.  As much as I like to think that I have a pretty unbiased palate, I do tend to stay away from the unknown.  Like the other time when I baked the chocolate cinnamon cake, it was something different, I tried it, didn’t like and will never make it again.

Tonight I thought that I would give it another go with a recipe I saw in Fine Cooking, Sweet Cakes  Holiday Baking Issue.  I picked up the magazine the other night while I was at the Home Depot of all places.  I pretty much studied all the mouth-watering recipes during my morning commutes to work, and this one just stood out. So when I stepped off the bus today I walked into the corner fruit stand and purchased myself a butternut squash.

I rushed home, quickly checked the mail and made my way into the kitchen and got my grater out.

Having never cooked or baked with butternut squash I was a little uneasy, first I noticed how difficult it was to peel and how much more difficult it was to cut.  Man, that is one hard-as-a-rock vegetable.  So t here I was breaking a sweat trying grating this squash thinking that maybe it’s not ripe enough and I’ll end of with a dense cake.  I quickly banished that thought from my mind and got back to the recipe only to remember that I forgot to but buttermilk.  No worries I thought, I can make my own.  You see the problem is the only milk I have in the fridge is 1% so I was pretty sure the cream of tartar trick wouldn’t work…and it didn’t, nor did the adding vinegar to the milk trick. Instead I opted to use plain yogurt instead, hey why not, I’ve made many delicious and moist cakes using yogurt.

 

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Chestnut Cake

29 Oct

I love when the seasons change, there’s always a different variety of foods to choose from and I find that my pallet also changes with the season.  The summer staple of berries is replaced with apples and tangerines, I don’t know why but those seem like winter fruits to me.  I’m pretty sure it was the way I was brought up. 

As the winter months and the holidays approach I also find that I start baking with different ingredients.  I so cannot wait for the holidays to make gingerbread; sure I can make it all year round but it just doesn’t taste the same in the sweltering summer, know what I mean?

Yesterday I was inspired to try something different using something wintery, what’s more wintery then chestnuts.  There’s this great shop, Consiglio’s my place that sells an array of Italian products (did I mention I live in one of the two little Italy’s in Toronto?).  This is my go to place for Italian goodies, so naturally that’s where I went when I was looking for chestnut flour I needed for a recipe I found on a great Italian blog; Menu Turistico

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Italian Apple Cake

20 Oct

 

You know that feeling you get when something triggers a memory and you’re suddenly transported back to your childhood? 

It can be something as simple as the smell of bubblegum, for me it was a little Italian recipe book from Bertolini that my mom has had for years.  I was over my moms the other night and I asked her for her apple cake recipe or torta di mele.  She then came back with this little recipe booklet that I haven’t seen in years. 

Aside from the great recipes it holds, the one thing I remember most is the story at the end of the booklet, the story of Maria Rosa. As a child I used to beg my mother to read it to me over and over again, I loved the characters, the pictures and of course the story.   Flipping through the pages I felt like a little girl again in my mother’s kitchen, I almost asked her to read it to me …almost.   The booklet itself according to my mother is 40 years old and she has kept it in pretty good condition.  I asked her to borrow it so that I can scan it to have a copy for myself (not sure if I am breaking any copyright laws here, no copyright notice on the booklet itself). 

 

The first recipe I made was the Torta Di Mele or Apple Cake.  My mom has been making this for years and everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe.  Continue reading

Weekend baking…for dinner!

5 Oct

What we have here is a cake, but not your typical cake or maybe it’s a pie…after all it does have a crust, but it’s also layered, confused yet? 

This is a potato “cake”; I’ve been making this for years.  It’s one of those recipes that’s been in my family for decades, my mom made it, my grandmother made it and now I’m making it.  I learned not from a recipe but by watching my mom.  The only difference between my version and that of my mom’s it that she puts the bread crumb crust on the top of the cake and I out it on the bottom. 

This cake boasts two luscious layers of mashed potatoes, sandwiched in between is homemade salami (I’m Italian, is there any other kind of salami?) , mozzarella, hardboiled egg and parmesan cheese.  It’s assembled and baked to delicious goodness in a 9-inch spring form pan. Continue reading