Thursday, April 22, 2010

Take 3

Third time is a charm, eh? To be honest, I needed to reevaluate this thing. Photos of absolutely everything just isn't practical. I'll share them when I can, but I'm going to keep entries so that they're not much of a chore while on-the-run and such.

I've been staying at my boyfriend's place the past several days, so got into a baking kick. I think it's a combo of having someone around who'll appreciate them and having access to a kitchen with actual counter space.

Last weekend, since my sweetie likes the banana and chocolate combo, I made a whole wheat banana chocolate chip cake for his birthday. Cake is really the only thing I've shied away from when it comes to cooking/baking. I worked at a bakery when I was younger. As I moved up into management, it also became my job to stand in when a baker called in sick @ 2am... ouch- but you should see my sourdough cuts! I'm a pro with a scalpel. Anyway, we specialized in breads, cookies and muffins. We didn't do pastry. I prefer cooking to baking (probably because of my bakery experience, haha), though I'll bake if I like you enough ;-)

I've tried cakes over the year, but only with moderate success (outside of mixes and easy things like poundcake). Trying to bake a completely whole-wheat cake was a daunting task. I was up to the challenge, however. I can bake other things, so why not a cake?

I was successful! I think sifting was what really did the trick in this case. Sure, when you sift whole wheat flour, the bran doesn't go through the strainer, but the rest of the flour does. It's fine, feathery and looks light as air. It's also lump-free. So, I took the leftover bran from the sifter, tossed it in, gave it a whisk (with the remaining ingredients) and on I went. The base recipe (yes, I do use them when baking chemistry is involved and I don't make something often) was pretty plain, but while grocery shopping, I discovered mini chocolate chips, which I know work better in cakes (large chips can sink in the batter), so decided they'd be a nice add-on. I whipped up a dark chocolate butter cream and was in business! The frosting job was a bit sad, but the cake itself was beautiful (if I do say so, myself). The taste was nice, too-- moist crumb and a nice blend of banana and dark chocolate.

Next time, I'll probably play with sweeteners for a more diabetic-friendly recipe, but this was a splurge cake and not about me.

Yesterday, I made a couple loaves of whole wheat, agave-sweetened zucchini bread. It came out fluffy and just mildly sweet. I had a toasted slice earlier as a snack-- yum! They were baked in larger loaf pans than the recipe called for, so look a bit flat, but they rose perfectly.


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