Adam and I are lucky to live in the same condo building as our friends. It sometimes feels as if we are living in a FRIENDS episode, bumping into them in the hallways and elevator, borrowing clothing, ingredients, pots and pans when needed and other miscellanious items such as muffin liners, glue guns, and staplers etc. It’s nice to know if you run out of something, or need to run out quickly someone is home to watch a little one, like we have done for our friends with a toddler. We’ve even relieved them of the little guy when they aren’t feeling well, taking the baby and the dogs out for a walk so they can get some rest. It’s nice to know people in the building, other than just a neighbor whom you pass by in the hallway with a nod. One of our friends lives only a few doors down, while the other live on the opposite side of the building. We get together for dinners as often as possible, knowing its only a short commute between houses, without worrying who is driving or what the weather outside looks like. It’s also nice that one of them is a Vancouver Police Officer, so if anything happens I know where to go! Haha. I was originally going to make another type of apple cake, to bring to Adam’s parents, that required eggs. Having only one egg left, and not wanting to get dressed to go to the store, I called our friend to borrow an egg. We were all still in our PJs. Afterwards, I found this recipe which I wanted to try instead, and of course, it did not require any eggs. Bonus for me, since I have a slight allergy.
Later that afternoon, we were waiting to go to dinner when all of a sudden the fire alarm in our building began to go off. We have had problems in the past of pipes bursting after cold weather, as they did last winter. Again, knowing people in the building really pays off, as our friends apartment was unfortunately flooded with water when the pipe burst, and luckily I was home along with our other friend who had a key to their place, and we were able to get in and try to control the water damage before the Firefighters got there. We figured this was the same instance, and got our jackets on to go outside and wait. However, when we entered our hallway we smelled smoke. This was an actual fire. Other neighbours told us there was a lot of smoke at the end of the hallway, and to call 911. We went back in, grabbed a couple items, like my computer (my life!) and went outside. Our friend, the police officer, was waiting for us to look after the little guy, so he could go inside and see what was happening, as his wife had just gone to the store when it happened. Our other friend had to wrangle their two cats into a carrier, much to their dismay, but humorous for us watching them trying to push their way out of it, met us outside. Luckily it was not a large fire, but rather someone had not watched a pot on the stove that caused it to smoke and sound the alarm in their apartment, to which they did not turn off, and then it caused the entire buildings fire alarm to set off. There was quite a lot of smoke, but luckily no one was hurt and no further damage was caused.
We went back in, got dressed and left for dinner, apple cake in hand. Adam is part of the strata committe, and had to attend a scheduled meeting that night. I’m sure they had more to talk about after the ‘fire’ incident. I sent the rest of the cake down with him to share with the other members. Another reason you should get to know your neighbours – they might bake you something!
This cake is subtley sweet, studded with tart chopped apples. You can bake it in a skillet, I decided to finally break mine in. Or, bake it in a cake dish, 8” or 9”.
Unfortunately I don’t think I can use our skillet for cooking on our stove, as we have a glass top stove and I’ve read some stories online of the cast iron causing it to break and crack. So, for now it will only be used in the oven.
Slighlty adapted from: Joy Of Cooking 75th Anniversary Edition
You will need:
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk, with a squirt of lemon)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 medium green or tart apples
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly season/grease your cast iron skillet. Alternatively, you can use an 8 or 9” cake pan.
Cut apples into segments, chopping up into smaller pieces, reserving some slices, leaving the peel on.
Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl thoroughly to remove any large lumps.
Add, the milk, oil and vanilla.
Add the chopped apples and mix until incorporated into the batter.
Scrape the batter into your prepared baking dish, and spread evenly. Arrange reserved apples slices ontop of batter in a pattern.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on the counter on a cooling rack.
Once cooled, you can sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or maybe a scoop of ice cream.
This would also be good with a crumb topping, a mixture of brown sugar and buter with oats.
Fall has definitely arrived here now! It rained for the first time of the season, and there is a definite crisp chill in the air. I love it. I can’t wait to wear boots, and chunky sweaters. I also love fall baking. Pumpkins, pecans, squash, zucchini, cinnamon. It’s all good.
I’ve seen a lot of recipes for Zucchini Brownies circulating on baking blogs lately. Though, after making this it is definitely more like a cake. It is so moist and spongey, not dense and fudgy like a brownie. Though, it is slightly fudgy if you don’t cook it as long. So, I think I’ll call it a cake. It would be great as a sheet cake with a whipped cream cheese frosting on top. Adam said it would be good with that peanut butter frosting I made before. A chocolate zucchini cupcake with peanut butter frosting? YUM! Maybe we’ll have to materialize that one day…
I love Zucchini baked into cakes/cupcakes/loafs. Like my zucchini bananda cupcakes and bundt cake.
I have been wanting to try using apple sauce instead of butter in baking, and was happy to find this recipe already made the switch. Adam picked me up some last week so I was good to go! And I had a gigantic zucchini from my mom who picked some up from Osoyoos.
I promise if you make this cake, you will not be able to taste the zucchini. You won’t even be able to see it, unless you leave a big chunk in it.. Little kids wouldn’t know the difference! It’s a lot healthier than other cakes/brownies and just as satisfying.
This weekend I’m going to participate in my first baking contest! It’s called the Great Canadian Bake-Off, hosted by Well Seasoned at the BBQ on the Bypass. I’m sure Adam and I will be eating some yummy BBQ eats while waiting for the *judging*
Can be made Vegan! adapted from Food + Words
Yield: one 8″ x 8″ square pan brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 2 large eggs (If you would like to make it Vegan, substitute for 2 flax eggs)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup raw organic sugar
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1-2 medium zucchini
preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish
Using grater attachment for KitchenAid, or using box grater, grate zucchini, measuring out two cups.
In stand mixer with whisk attached, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, applesauce until combined.
sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda, mix until dry ingredients are dissolved and incorporated. the mixture will be on the thick side.
fold in the grated zucchini so that it’s uniformly mixed into the batter.
pour the batter into the prepared pan.
bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.
allow the brownies to cool in the pan on a wire baking rack completely before slicing.
the brownies will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
You can also dust them with some icing sugar if you like
*I always find that baked goods like pound cake, bundt cakes and brownies are better the next day. This is so true with this cake! So deliciously moist even the next day.*
This weekend is extra special for two reasons. First, It was my mom’s birthday yesterday!! We had a delicious dinner, with not one, but two turkey’s! Because, secondly, it was also Easter! A time to get together with family and friends over delicious food!! And I’m finally finished exams!!!!! Well, I guess that’s three things that make this weekend awesome.
My mom is jetting off to Vegas this morning! Lucky huh?!
I decided to make my mom dessert in between studying for exams. Her favorite dessert is cheesecake, so naturally I had to make one. I’ve made cheesecake a multiple of times, pumpkin, and a traditional NY cheesecake for Mother’s Day one year also.
But, I have had this gigantic bag of blackberries that Adam and I had picked last summer still lingering in the freezer. Slowly we’ve been eating them but we just seem to never run out! I wanted to make something easter-y and spring-y. I decided to tweak my usual recipe, and make a lemon cheesecake with lemon juice and zest, and then swirl blackberry onto the top. And of course, I made a blackberry compote to go with it as well. It was so refreshing and delicious! If I do say so myself.
Also, being the great daughter I am ;) I bought my mom and I tickets to go see WICKED at the Queen Elizabeth theatre this June in Vancouver!! I am so excited to see it. I have heard so many great reviews about it. Have you seen it yet?? Did you like it?? My mom and I love going to the theatre, we’ve seen Mamma Mia and a few Ballet’s. I just love getting dressed up and seeing a show.
Back to the cheesecake. You can add in any additions, lime zest, lime juice, different berries etc. All delicious. I would suggest making this a day ahead, and letting it cool completely overnight in the refridgerator.
Hope you all have a great Easter weekend!!
Lemon Cheesecake with Blackberry Swirl
- makes 10-16 servings -
Adapted From Baking From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
For the crust
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two
Lemon zest of two lemons
Juice from one whole lemon
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Blackberries
3 tbs. Lemon
2 tbs. Sugar
1/4 cup water
To make the crust:
1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet. Make sure it is tightly secured, you don’t want a soggy crust!
2. Stir the crumbs, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job.
3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
To make the cheesecake:
1. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
2. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Add in Lemon Zest and Lemon juice. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
4. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. Reserve about 1/4-1/2 cup batter in a small bowl, and scrape the rest of the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.)
4a. Using a blender, puree the fresh blackberries until liquid. Stir the blackberry puree into the reserved 1/4/-1/2 cup batter. Mix together thoroughly. Using a spoon dollop a small amount of the blackberry batter onto the top of the cheesecake batter in small circles dotted on top randomly. Using a knife, draw lines through the cake mixing the batter and swirling it ever so slighty.
4b. Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
6. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack. Do not rush it!
7. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.
Serving: Remove the sides of the springform pan and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.
Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.