Saturday, September 11, 2010

Plate of Love Part 2: Raspberry Yogurt Cake

As promised... (ahem, nevermind that I promised this months ago) the cake I love to make, using Clotilde's recipe for Gâteau au Yaourt which she makes with raspberries. Of course I've made my own adjustments, since the genius of this French staple is that you buy a tub of yogurt, and then use that as your measuring cup for all the other ingredients. Children love to make it. I've adjusted it to my North American measuring cups and baking habits. But it is essentially the same kind of cake: fragrant, moist, fluffy, and it has raspberries! Which are quite possibly the best fruit in the world. 

I made it in June, with raspberries, and I made it today. 

But today, I fiddled with it. I wanted to save some raspberries, my stash being very-plundered and not-yet-replenished, but I also wanted to make room in my freezer for the glut of blackberries I hope to pick in the next few weeks. And I had no yogurt! 

What's a girl to do? 

Marionberry Buttermilk Cake. Naturally

I know, you're shaking your heads at me ("Can't that girl leave well enough alone?"), but I can't help it! Who wants their cake to be the same every time? And I love taking the risk - although it's a very slight risk - of trying something new and seeing if it turns out as well as I hope it will. 

Judging by the fragrance coming from my kitchen right now, I think it has turned out. I'm taking it to a BBQ tonight, and my friends know well enough by now that I only experiment on people I love. 

So today, instead of just one recipe for Clotilde's Raspberry Yogurt Cake, you're getting two. 

Raspberry Yogurt Cake (à la Clotilde)

Preheat your oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. 

Butter and flour an 8 or 9 inch tart, cake, or pie pan. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together: 
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil 
3 eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In another small bowl, whisk together: 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup ground almonds (you can do this in your food processor or blender)
1 Tbsp baking podwer
1/2 tsp salt

Gently stir together both wet and dry ingredients, until full incorporated. Do not overmix. 

Pour half your batter into your prepared pan, and use a rubber spatula to smooth the batter to the edges of the pan. Cover the batter with 3-4 handfuls of fresh or frozen raspberries (or 1-2 cups, if you must measure), then pour the rest of the batter over, once again smoothing it with a spatula. 

Sprinkle a coarse-grained sugar (such as raw cane sugar or demerera sugar) over the top of the batter. 

Bake at 350˚ for 45-50 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden brown, the cake is puffed and slightly cracked, and doesn't wiggle when you shake it. (Trust me, this test does work!) Clotilde suggests that if the top is browning too quickly, then tent it with foil to finish baking. 

Let cool. Serve room temperature, with lightly sweetened, floppy whipped cream. 

Marionberry Buttermilk Cake

Substitute buttermilk for yogurt. 
Substitute marionberries for raspberries. 

Proceed as with the other cake. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

B3 Muffins

This weekend Jordan and I went down to Washington to visit my mom. Before we left, we had a pile of bananas threatening to go completely brown and soft on us, so I did what was only right to save the bananas from their imminent mushy death and our apartment from a new infestation of fruitflies: I baked muffins!

I have made these muffins, in some incarnation, at least a couple times a month for the last year. They're hearty yet light, fragrant, fruity with bananas and blueberries. And, I have the distinct pleasure of knowing how nutritious and delicious they are. They keep well in the fridge for up to a week, but I bet they won't last that long.

I like making them in a couple of sizes. I have a mini-loaf pan, which I bought under the influence of the Morning Glory muffins at the Mix Bakery down our street. These mini-loaves are big enough for a hearty breakfast. And, I also make a "snack size" muffin, either in a regular muffin tin, or a tartlette pan, which is what I used this time.

A number of people have asked for the recipe for these muffins, including my mother. So, Mom. This is for you.

Tora's B3 Muffins (Banana, Blueberry, Buttermilk)
The trick with these muffins is to customize them to your taste and your pantry. I use the ratios of dry-to-wet ingredients as my baseline. Use what you have! If you don't have bananas, use applesauce and make a little cinnamon strudel topping. If you don't have buttermilk, use yogurt. Is it near Thanksgiving? Use cranberries and pureed pumpkin instead of blueberries and bananas. You could substitute any other grain for the flaxseed or soy flour... spelt, quinoa, or amaranth flours would all be lovely here. Your imagination is the limit!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, stir together your dry ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ or wheat bran (optional... or just use oats instead)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (optional... I use Bob's Red Mill)
3 Tbsp soy flour (also optional... I use Bob's Red Mill)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
dash of ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves (to taste)
1/2 cup - 1 cup of chopped nuts (optional too... and I like walnuts)

Stir together with a whisk until thoroughly incorporated. (I like to use my hands.) Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together your wet ingredients:
1 large or 2 small-to-medium ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork (I leave them a little chunky)
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt (if you use sweetened yogurt, decrease the amount of sugar used above)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp oil or melted and cooled butter
3 Tbsp molasses (optional)
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together until smooth, but do not over-beat! Set aside.

Line your muffin tins with paper liners OR grease them well with butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Add 1-2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries to the batter, and fold in. DO NOT OVERMIX or your muffins will get tough, chewy, and lose that lovely tenderness of crumb.

Spoon the batter into your pans, and bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your muffin pans, until the tops are golden brown. (I bake mini-loaves for 25 minutes or more, and the smaller muffins for only 20.)

Set the pan on a cooling rack and let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing muffins from pans.

Serve warm with butter.