Tag Archives: cake

Aunt Cherry’s Oatmeal Cake

The other day, I was bored and looking for something to bake.  So I did a Twitter call for ideas, and a friend sent me this recipe.  It was called “Aunt Cherry’s Oatmeal Cake” and is apparently one of those old recipes with a fictitious name attached — their family baked it all the time growing up, but never knew who Aunt Cherry was.  Beyond, you can find similar recipes online that also refer to Aunt Cherry.  Based on that, I’m figuring Aunt Cherry wouldn’t mind me putting my spin on it.  And of course, now that I realize that the entire internet is public domain (Thanks Cooks Source!), I am going to call it my own.  But seriously, Monica Gaudio, if you are out there and you are actually Cherry, just email me for my address and you can send me a check for featuring your work.  If I rip off enough people’s work, I might actually find a revenue model for Cuizoo.

The recipe seemed intriguing — not many ingredients, seemingly very easy, and get this:  dollops of a butter/brown sugar/coconut/nut mixture dropped into the cake batter before baking.  That last part is what got me.  There was just no way that could turn out to be anything but delicious.  And I figured that I could make it *slightly* more healthy by cutting back on the sugar a bit and substituting whole wheat pastry flour.  Obviously, I also needed to remove the nuts because of my daughter’s severe nut allergy.

I decided to make it yesterday and if I only knew Cherry’s last name, I’d write her a thank you note — attached to a big bottle of vodka, and perhaps a personal massage device.   She deserves it.  It is that good.  And it’s easy.  I mean one-bowl-for-the-cake easy.  It makes a tremendous dessert (maybe with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream), but I could easily see it served for a special breakfast or brunch too.  Because today was Friday, November 12th, I deemed it a special breakfast day and we had it before school.  With fruit, of course.

The original recipe calls for walnuts (I substituted sunflower seeds), regular all purpose flour, and 1 cup each of brown and white sugar in the cake (I cut it back to 1/2 cup each in the cake — but left the sugar the same in the dollopy mixture).  If you want to go all out, feel free to make it with white flour and the normal amount of sugar.

You can thank me and Aunt Cherry later.

Aunt Cherry’s Sticky Oatmeal Cake

Makes one 9 inch by 13 inch cake

(Adapted from some lady named Cherry, who may or may not be real or alive)

Cake:
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 eggs

Topping:
1 cup sunflower seeds (or other chopped nuts)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup of milk
6 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut (not sweetened)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together dry cake ingredients: oats, white sugar, brown sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Make sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.

3.  Add boiling water to dry ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat in softened butter (1 stick).  When incorporated, beat in eggs one at a time.  The batter will be thin.  Pour into greased 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.

4.  In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients:  sunflower seeds, brown sugar, white sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and coconut.  Drop in small dollops all over the unbaked cake batter.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.  Remove and cool on a rack.  Send Aunt Cherry a thank you note.

Whole Grain Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Ganache

I often say that my first born daughter made me realize I was destined to be a mother — but my second born son made me delight in the role.  As with most women, I suppose, I had a hard time adjusting to motherhood.  You know the drill — the nursing, the lack of sleep, the caring, the balancing with working, the cleaning.  But also, the solitary confinement.  The worry.  The feeling of being solely responsible for so much.  The desire to go and do — but the struggle to actually go and do whatever it is you used to go and do.  The anger and resentment toward my husband who went and did.

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When they say that becoming a mother is like having your heart walk around outside of your body, they do not lie.  I felt that way about my daughter from the minute she showed up in my world.  My love for her was like nothing I ever knew.  But for the first few years, I was stressed in my new role as a mother.  It was difficult and I was not prepared for anything other than unicorns and rainbows.

Things eased up a bit when I was thankfully able to quit my job (my baby girl was 3).  Being able to focus solely on her was a huge blessing and a major relief.  It made me feel like I was actually able to be a good mother. And please don’t go all “mommy wars” on me here — this is only my experience and there are many tremendous working mothers.  But for me, I’m an all or nothing kind of girl.  When I was working, I felt like I couldn’t do anything well because my attention was so divided.  When I became a full time mom, I finally felt like I could be good at something again — and my personality thrives on feeling proud of the job that I am doing, regardless of what it is.

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And I think this confidence made me feel like I could have a second baby.  When I became pregnant, I felt like I was prepared for it all.  I knew the drill.  And in some ways, I did.  But, I was wholly unprepared for how my second baby would make me feel as a mother.  He made my feel like we had a complete family.  My baby boy made me delight in my role as a mother.  It felt natural.  And rather than stressing about how much work it all was, I found a way to enjoy the little moments — by now knowing how fleeting they all were.

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So, last week my baby boy turned three.  Maxy, my Star Wars loving, chocolate eating-dare devil, you have made our family complete and we love you so much.  Thank you for making me a better mother.  I hope you liked your chocolate birthday cake.

Here’s the recipe. It’s whole grain, light on sugar, and even the ganache is relatively healthy — not that you should really care about these things on a birthday.

Whole Grain Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Ganache

Makes a two layer cake and enough ganache to glaze the cake (with some leftover for ice cream)

Cake:

5 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar (can use up to 2 cups if you want)
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 t vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (not low fat)
1 cup boiling water

Ganache:

18 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%, but use whatever you like — even cream if you want)
4 T butter
Pinch of salt
1/8 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Butter two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.  Line with parchment cut to fit the bottom of the cake pans.  Butter the parchment paper.

2.  Melt the 5 oz. of chopped chocolate and allow to cool slightly.

3.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

4.  In a large bowl, cream the softened butter with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy.  Add brown sugar and cream for 1-2 minutes.

5.  Add the eggs, one at a time and mix for 1-2 minutes more.  Mix in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract.

6.  Mix in one third of the flour mixture, followed by one third of the sour cream.  Repeat with additional flour and sour cream (adding in one thirds).  Do not overmix at this point.

7.  Stir in boiling water and mix until smooth.  Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 24-26 minutes until a tester comes out just barely done.  Do not overbake.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes on a rack and then remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on rack.

8.  For ganache:  In a large sauce pan over low heat, melt together the 18 oz. chocolate, milk, butter, salt, and cinnamon.  When completely smooth, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Let cool until almost room temperature and slightly thickened, but still pourable.  Pour over cake layers when cake is completely cool, allowing it to fall over edge to glaze sides.  Let ganache cool and harden before serving.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

We have entered into the time of the summer where zucchini is plentiful.  And by plentiful, I mean like a crazy band of procreating feral cats.  The first two or three kittens are so damn cute — but then they just become a nuisance that not even your neighbors or co-workers want.  You know the scene in the office kitchen … right next to the tupperware container that has random packets of soy sauce, non-dairy creamer, and ketchup in it, there is a nice big basket of zucchini free for the taking.  If you cook at all, you might take one or two because they are free. But after you’ve sauteed a few and made some zucchini bread, you pretty much walk by that nice basket wishing that someone had planted way too much corn.

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And if you are the person who actually has the zucchini surplus, you basically turn into a mildly insane person willing to try anything to use up the four or five you are plucking from the garden everyday.  Mock crabcakes?  Sure.  Mock apple pie?  Hell yes.  Zucchini pickles? Absolutely.  It’s just too bad that someone hasn’t figured out how to distill vodka from zucchini.  I am sure it’s not from a lack of trying.

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I know this all because I have been receiving somewhat crazed emails from people asking for zucchini recipes.  And the first one that came to mind was a chocolate zucchini cake that I made a few years ago from our CSA recipe files.  I decided to pull it back out and modify it so that it was actually healthy — beyond just the hidden veggies.  So, my version is made with whole wheat pastry flour and has much less sugar.  The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups — I have cut it back to 1/2 cup of honey and 1/4 cup of sugar.  I also used half butter and half coconut oil.

Shredding the zucchini is quick work in the food processor, but it can certainly be done by hand too.  I don’t even bother peeling them.  And if you have any shredded zucchini left over (and I know you will), freeze it in containers — I mix it into soups and chilis all year long and it is a veggie booster that you hardly know is there.

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The resulting cake is really great though — very moist and delicate.  It reminds you a bit of the old Texas Sheet Cake or a chocolate snack cake.  And given the modifications, it can actually be a decent snack for the kids that they will like way more than mock crabcakes.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Makes one 9×13 cake

1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup of coconut oil (brought to liquid state, can also use canola oil in place of it)
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1/2 cup of milk (at least 2%)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
5 T cocoa
2 t baking soda
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (unpeeled, tightly packed)
6-8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely

1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.  Butter a 9×13 inch glass pan and set aside.

2.  Prepare wet and dry ingredients:  In a small bowl, combine milk and lemon juice.  Whisk in egg and vanilla.  In another separate small bowl, combine whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa, and baking soda.

3.  In a large bowl, cream together butter, coconut oil, honey, and sugar with an electric mixer. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture in about three separate additions.  Mix until just combined and then switch to a wooden spoon or spatula.

4.  Stir in shredded zucchini and pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 325 F for about 40 minutes.

5.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chopped chocolate over surface of hot cake.  As the chocolate melts, spread evenly and let cool completely before slicing.  (You may want to throw it in the fridge for a bit to harden the chocolate.)

(Possible variations:  add some espresso powder, replace vanilla extract with almond extract, or stir some extra chocolate chunks/chips or nuts into batter.)

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