Healthy and delicious banana bread

I really enjoy this banana bread because it is filled with healthy ingredients but does not taste healthy. You do not even have to add sugar, because bananas are so naturally sweet. I used butter because I found out recently that butter contains butyrate which is something I need to my diet. My 9 year old darling made this today with little supervision from me.

ING:

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

3 bananas, mashed

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup oats, not quick cooking

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 cup walnuts or almonds

METHOD:

1. Beat the butter in a mixer at a high speed, until creamy.

2. Lower mixer speed, add eggs. Mix 1-2 minutes.

3. Stop mixer, add dry ingredients and mashed bananas.

4. Mix till combined, but do not overmix.

5. Put mixture in a  greased loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

I can’t wait to have this banana bread for my breakfast tomorrow, toasted with a little bit of butter.

Easy Chocolate Cheesecake

We love eating cheesecake. However, I do not make it often even though it is quite easy to make. For my husband’s birthday yesterday, we decided a cool cheesecake would be the perfect treat. This time however, I got my children (ages 6 and 8 ) to make the whole cake and I just gave them directions on what to do. The kids had lot of fun, making the cake, especially since they made it themselves.

It is best to bake the cheesecake in a water bath so that there are less cracks on the top of the cheesecake. It is best to make the cake a day ahead, so that it has time to cool and harden and the finishing touches can be added.

Ing:

Crust:

1 1/4 cups chocolate graham crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

 

Cake:

3 pkgs (250 g) light cream cheese

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

8 square semi-sweet chocolate

 

Method:

1. For the crust-  Add the  melted butter to the crumbs. When well mixed, press it on the bottom of a 9 in springform pan. Set aside.

2. Mix cream cheese and sugar until well blended together ( about 4 min)

3. Add eggs, one at a time.

4. Melt 6 squares of chocolate (either in the microwave/ double boiler).

5. Add melted chocolate to the cheese mixture. Mix.

6. Pour cheese mixture over the crust.

7. Bake at 350 F for 50 min or until centre is almost set in a water bath.  Refrigerate when cool. Do not overbake, as the refrigeration process will harden the cake.

8. When the cake is cool. Melt the last 2 squares of chocolate. Drizzle on top of the cake.

Enoy!

 

Layering up

A dear family member of mine is having a birthday today and I thought a cake was in order after we did our walk. There were just a few of us getting together, so the cake did not have to be super big. I thought that it would be a fun idea to tier the cake up instead of having a flat slab.

I used a 8 inch square pan and a loaf pan for the cake.

I cut the 8 inch square cake into two and put one on top of the other for the bottom slab. For the top two pieces, I used the loaf shaped cake and cut it to fit the sizes I needed. I still have a little bit left over from  loaf shaped cake for a treat another day.  The icing works as glue to stick the pieces together.

Adding some gum paste flowers gave the cake a whimsical look.  I can’t wait to enjoy the cake later with my loved ones.

 

Gum Paste Flowers

One of the things on my happy list for 2012 is to decorate all the cakes I make with flowers (well maybe most, my son wants a Star Wars cake for his birthday).

Gum paste flowers are quite easy to make with a few tools. Ready made gum paste is available in craft stores, or can be made from scratch. Using some gum paste, flower shape cutters and a rolling pin you can make some easy flowers. Of course you can get really creative and make more intricate flowers if you enjoy this craft.

 

Some additional tools that I have are a rolling mat, a veining tool and foam mat (to put the flowers on when you are using the veining tool). However, I find that you do not need the foam mat if you are not making very intricate flowers. Another tool that I have is a flower former, to put the flowers on when you are letting them dry. If you do not have a flower former, do not fret, just let the flowers dry on your rolling mat.

 

Step 1:

Sprinkle some cornstarch on your rolling surface. This will help the gum paste to not stick on the surface and rolling pin. Just work with a small portion of gum paste at one time. The gum paste dries quickly. Keep the remainder sealed in the packager.   Roll the gum paste as thinly as you can.  The thinner the gum paste, the daintier the flower.

Step 2:

Using your flower cutters, cut out the shapes you want.

Step 3:

Using some yellow fondant, I made the centres for the flowers. I either rolled and cut it out with a cutter or I formed little patties and stuck them in the middle of the flower by using gum glue*.

Step 4:

I used the veining tool for my daisies. For each petal, I drew a vein, to give the flower a more realistic look.

*Gum glue: Mix a small pinch of gum paste in one tablespoon of water. The gum paste will dissolve slowly in the water. I use a clean paint brush (that is designated for this purpose) to paint on a little gum glue in the middle of the flower, where I want to stick the fondant.

Step 5:

These flowers keep for quite a while. Store them in something like a shoe box.

Try this craft out if you want to do something different. You do not need a lot of items if you just want to try it out for fun. My kids enjoy helping me make the flowers, because it is kind of like playing with playdough. I can’t wait to decorate my next cake with these flowers.

 

Sugee cake- a Eurasian heritage

My grandmother is Eurasian and we had a lot of Portuguese inspired dishes cooked at home. I grew up eating sugee cake at Christmas and weddings. I love the texture of this cake. It is buttery and has a slight crunch because of the almonds. The cake is really easy too make, but you need to mix the butter and the semolina/ sugee and let it sit for a few hours. I usually let it sit overnight in the fridge. There are a lot of eggs used in this recipe, but you can half the recipe and make a smaller cake.  For this much batter, I use a 9 x 3 inch pan and one loaf pan.  You could also use a 9x 9 inch pan.

Semolina, is a grain that is used to make pasta. It is easily obtained at most grocery stores.

Ing:

1 lb butter

10 0z semolina

7 oz sugar

11 egg yolks

4 eggs

3 oz almonds

5 oz plain four

1 tbsp brandy

Method:

1. Beat butter until white and creamy.

2. Fold in sugee and mix well.

3. Leave to soak for 6-8 hours.

4.  Give the batter a quick mix. Add egg yolks and eggs.

5. Add almonds, flour and brandy and mix till well combined.

6. Bake at 350 F until cake is set.  A toothpick when inserted, should come out without any crumbs sticking to it.

 

December baking- Lemon Cranberry Loaf

This delightful loaf looks Christmasy with the red from the cranberries and is a great hostess gift. I am making this for my kids’ teachers this year.

I use a cup of whole wheat flour in this easy to make recipe, to give it a heartier texture.  The loaf freezes well and can be made ahead. The lemon glaze is optional, but it does give the loaf and extra nice touch.  If you are making a small batch and need something extra to make with the cream, the scones are a good recipe to make next. (See scones recipe)

This recipe can be doubled to make a few gifts at one time.  It is great with a cup of coffee or tea on a cold winter day. I personally like to heat a slice up in the microwave for a few seconds and have a warm treat.

Wrapped in wax paper and covered in red plastic wrap makes this gift, one from the heart.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cup plain flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 3/4 cup light cream

1/2 cup cranberries

Method:

1. Using an electric mixer, combine butter, lemon zest and sugar. Mix until butter becomes white and creamy (about 4 minutes)

2. Reduce the speed on the mixer to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating in between.

3. Next add vanilla, lemon juice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix.

4. Alternate adding the flour and the light cream, mixing in between.

5. Lastly add the cranberries and give a final mix. Do not overmix at this point.

6. Pour mixture into loaf pans that have been buttered. This recipe makes 3 loaves, with a little extra for some cupcakes for my family to enjoy hot from the oven.

7. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

I made a quick lemon glaze by mixing 2/3 cups of icing sugar, 1 tsp of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and then drizzled it over two of the loafs.

I wrapped up the cake in wax paper followed by some wrapping paper.

The loaves are ready for delivery tomorrow.

SKF2011