Posts Tagged 'maple'

Maple-Blueberry Cake


This weekend started off so perfectly. Mike came home Friday night with little surprise for me:

Yep, that would be an animal style grilled cheese from In N Out. This is only the second time I’ve had fast food this pregnancy and it was exactly what I wanted.

Now that I’m within 12 days of my due date, I’ve been thinking about the whole impending giving birth thing. I didn’t take a birthing class, and I haven’t read all that much (or seen The Business of Being Born – am I the only expectant mother that hasn’t? Because it kind of seems like it). HOWEVER, I have come to the conclusion that I want an epidural, and here’s why:

1. I’m a badass and I don’t need a natural birth to prove it. I’ve run marathons and a trail ultra, I’ve done a half Ironman, and I’m still hitting the gym and lifting weights at 38 weeks pregnant. I don’t need to withstand the pain of a natural birth to prove to myself that I can handle it. I put myself through plenty of painful things on my own, thanks.

2. I’m pretty stoked on modern medicine in general. Modern medical technology made me able to run thanks to the 3 titanium screws in my hip, and it’s done a ton for other people too. I like the advances that have been made in pain management and I want to use them.

3. I take Tylenol when I have headaches. This is going to be infinitely more painful than that. Therefore I want drugs. Strong ones.

I have absolutely nothing against people who choose to give birth naturally. The beauty of this country in this day and age is that we get the choice…and this is mine (I choose my choice!) And now that I’ve posted something (possibly) controversial for the first time, lets talk about this cake.

I bought probably the last blueberries of the season last week and wanted to bake something amazing. Blueberry Boy Bait has always kind of appealed to me, but I wanted to incorporate maple flavor as well. So I took a recipe for that, cut half the butter, replaced some sugar with maple syrup, and added extra blueberries. It tasted kind of like pancakes (and Mike wanted me to call it Pancake Cake), with a hint of maple and plenty of berries. Divine.

Recipe:
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

cake
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 maple syrup
3 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup blueberries

topping
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 13 x 9 pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Mix in the maple syrup.

Add half the yogurt and mix on low until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, add the flour mixture, and mix on low just until all traces of flour disappear. Stir in the remaining yogurt.

Gently fold in the blueberries using a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the pan.

Sprinkle the half cup of blueberries for the topping evenly over the cake batter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the cake.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

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Maple Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream


I recently discovered there is an AMAZING cake decorating supply store about a mile from my house. I’m going to need to find some serious self-control so that I don’t end up spending every paycheck there, but I stopped in this weekend and was amazed by the variety of icing colors, cake pans, cookie cutters, chocolate, flavorings, and candy molds. The best part is, the prices are pretty reasonable and the lady working there was extremely helpful. Obviously as soon as I got home I just had to bake.

Although I was tempted to make pumpkin cupcakes, the jar of Grade B maple syrup in the fridge was calling to me, and I ended up finding this recipe for maple cupcakes. The flavor is amazing, although the texture is a little denser than I’d like. Still, it didn’t stop Mike and me from eating way too many of them, and I’m going to post the recipe just because the flavor is so amazing.

For frosting, I decided to experiment with swiss meringue buttercream. It always makes me a little nervous because it takes awhile to take on the right consistency, but after it’s ready it is seriously amazing stuff! Because of my addiction to maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal packets as a kid, I used brown sugar for the buttercream and it worked perfectly. These will make anyone with a sweet tooth extremely happy!

Recipe:

cupcakes
(adapted from Baking Bites)

makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside

Beat the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the eggs (one at a time), scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Stir the buttermilk and maple syrup together and add to the butter mixture alternating with the flour. Mix on low and be careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins. Bake for about 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

frosting
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, cut into small cubes
pinch salt

Stir the egg whites and brown sugar together in a heat-proof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Stir constantly with a wire whisk until the temperature reaches 160 F. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on high until soft, shiny peaks form.
Switch to the paddle attachment, and mix in the salt and butter (one cube at a time) on medium-low. The frosting will look lumpy or curdled at first, but after about 8-10 minutes should be smooth. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Maple-Almond Butter Cookies

It was the night before our third wedding anniversary and I offered to bake Mike whatever he wanted. He requested peanut butter cookies, but we only had a few tablespoons of peanut butter left. So he suggested almond butter cookies and I had one of those “you’re a genius! Why didn’t I think of that” moments. I did a little search and found this recipe, which I thought looked amazing. Sweetened entirely with maple syrup, no butter, and no white flour?! PERFECT! The dough tasted amazing and I could hardly wait until the cookies came out.

When they were done, I was pretty pleased with myself. Sure, they’re not exactly healthy, but they’re much healthier than your typical cookie, have a soft but slightly chewy texture that I adore, and they are vegan! Mike didn’t share my enthusiasm, though. He was thinking I’d keep the butter and sugar and all the unhealthy goodness of a peanut butter cookie, just using almond butter in place of peanut butter in my usual recipe.

“Did you healthy these up or something? Is there even sugar in here?” He asked as he tasted one. I tried to explain that maple syrup was even better than regular sugar, and that spelt flour was much healthier than white flour. He wasn’t sold, so now I owe him real peanut butter cookies. But for me, these are ideal, and if you like almonds, I think you’ll love them. They’re not overly sweet, but they do have a delicate maple flavor and as I said before, the texture is just about perfect. I’ll definitely be making them again, and I guess I won’t have to worry about sharing them!

Recipe:
(adapted from Sweet and Natural)

1/2 cup natural almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a few cookie sheets with parchment or Silpats.

Beat the almond butter, maple syrup, vegetable oil, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Gently stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low. Stir in the chopped almonds.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheets and bake until just set, about 10 minutes.
Let cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Maple Bacon Ice Cream

When I first saw candied bacon ice cream, I knew I had to try it. However, reading over the recipe, it seemed like it was missing something. Like maple flavor! I always love it when I have pancakes and bacon on the same plat, and the bacon gets coated with maple syrup.
So, I candied some bacon the way David Lebovitz instructs, then I mixed up some maple ice cream. Mix them together and what do you get? A surprisingly tasty ice cream!
As a side note – I didn’t cut the bacon up into small enough pieces, so some of them were a little chewy in the ice cream. I also think I could have left the bacon in the oven just a little longer to make it more crisp, but I was paranoid about the sugar burning.

For the bacon, go here
For the ice cream:
2 eggs
3 tbsp sugar
2 cups half and half
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
pinch salt

Bring the half and half and maple syrup to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl.
Whisking constantly, pour about half the heated half and half mixture into the eggs, then transfer everything back into the saucepan. Add a pinch of salt.
Continue whisking as you cook the mixture over medium-low. Remove from heat when it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Chill in the refrigerator, or set in an ice bath and cool, stirring occasionally. Once cool, transfer to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.
Just before you are ready to stop the ice cream maker, mix in the bacon.
Transfer the ice cream to a container and put in the freezer to chill completely.

NOTE: After a night in the freezer, the bacon flavor kind of overwhelmed the maple…so I will try only 2 or 3 pieces of bacon, chopped fine, in my next batch.


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