Category Archives: Sweet

Brunch / Fall / Sweet

Olive Oil Apple Snack Cake

October 18, 2016

img_9979After seeing this cake on another blog, an immediate craving for fall baked goods set in. Baking here in Amsterdam is tricky, as I don’t have a mixer or a lot of bakeware, plus the Dutch seem to lack a lot of common baking items in readily available places like the grocery store. Not to mention that brown sugar doesn’t exist here. Instead they have something called basterdsuiker, which is not the same thing (and I’m just gonna go ahead and hold my thoughts on the name).

This cake, luckily, uses really common ingredients, and even though the recipe calls for a 10″ cake pan, I thought my casserole dish would work fine for the size, which it did.

This cake is as perfect for breakfast as it is for a mid-afternoon snack, so if you have a brunch coming up — this might just be the perfect thing. It keeps well overnight covered in foil as well, so feel free to make it ahead — it’s fairly sturdy. It’s also pretty foolproof, so it’s a great one to get little hands involved in if you have some kiddos who want to join in the baking process.

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Olive Oil Apple Snack Cake

from Sunday Suppers via Wit & Delight

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 medium apples
  • juice of one lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 10″ cake pan, springform pan, or 12″ x 8″ casserole pan.
  2. Whisk together eggs and sugar, then stir in olive oil, milk and lemon zest until combined.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring just to combine (don’t overmix).
  4. Peel apples and slice thinly, then toss in lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  5. Pour batter into your prepared pan and top with sliced apples.
  6. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Tent with foil if top is browning too quickly (check it at about 30 minutes — you’ll likely need to add the foil then.) Let cool completely in the pan before serving. Cover with foil or plastic wrap to store.

Birthdays / DIY / Sweet

A Fancy $19 Cake

May 12, 2016

img_8352-1In case you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s post, I am pretty proud of the tiny smash cake that I made for P’s birthday.

I aspire to be one of those people who makes adorable confections with the perfectly piped icing and sweet, cakey layers. But… I hate cake. I love the idea of decorating a cake, but eating it? Ew. I’m just not into it.

So anyway, for Prim’s party I was totally torn about what to do for dessert. I knew we were going to have a pretty sizable crowd of people attending, so anything homemade would be a bit of an undertaking. I liked the idea of having a traditional birthday cake, but wasn’t feeling particularly motivated to tackle making it myself. I had toyed with the idea of a Costco cake, since those cakes are actually quite good (according to the people I know who like and eat cake) and are very affordable, but I was sort of turned off by the cake designs.

While I was hemming and hawing over what to do, it suddenly dawned on me — why didn’t I just order a plain Costco cake and decorate it myself? Genius!

img_8348-1So that’s what I did. I ordered a plain white cake from the Costco bakery, and did it up like so:

img_8350-1I had purchased that glittery “one” for P’s smash cake, but it ended up being too big for the tiny cake, so I repurposed it for the larger one and surrounded it with fresh peonies, gerbera daisies and babies breath.

I had searched high and low for those old-school sugar letters that every grocery store used to sell and apparently none of them carry them anymore! What happened to them? I was stressing over having to potentially hand-letter a happy birthday message when I came up with the perfect solution:

img_8294Trader Joe’s to the rescue! Thank god for those little cookies. They were the perfect size and totally fit with the theme of the cake. img_8349-1img_8351-1So that’s how I turned a $19 Costco cake into a treat fit for any party. I’d totally recommend this for any occasion. Honestly, the cake looked freaking wedding-worthy (I thought, anyway), and it was so fun to decorate.

I’ll definitely be repeating this craft for many birthdays and parties to come!

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Birthdays / Sweet

Sugar-Free Smash Cake

May 11, 2016

I realize that a lot of you will think I’m totally bananas for making Prim a sugar-free smash cake, given that a baby’s first birthday is usually the first time many parents opt to introduce sugar. And that’s totally fine. Prim is not entirely sugar free to begin with — she eats Cheerios and Kodiak cakes, both of which have a very small amount of sugar. So whether your baby is totally sugar-free or gobbled up a pile of frosting on their first birthday — it’s all good. I just wasn’t ready to go full-sugar for P’s birthday, and so opted to to research sugar-free smash cake options. It was kind of tough to find recipes, but I did finally land on a recipe that was made entirely of natural foods (no stevia or artificial sweeteners) and decided to give it a go.

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I made Prim’s cake in two four by two-inch cake pans, trimmed down the top of the layers and then stacked them together for a tiny, two-layer confection. The frosting is also sugar-free (though the embellishments obviously aren’t!)

img_8355-1If you’re looking for a no-sugar option for your little one’s smash cake, this recipe is great. The cake layers are more muffin-y than cake-y, given the lack of sugar, but the end result is surprisingly delicious.img_8365

No-Sugar Smash Cake

I made two 4×2-inch cakes + two muffins (which I used as my tasting samples), but I’m sure you could get one 8- or 9-inch cake out of the recipe as well — you’d probably need to double the recipe for a double-layer 8 or 9″ cake.

For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (grind whole oats in a food processor, then measure)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 medium (about 6-7″) very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (I used TJ’s organic unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl (or food processor if you want it really smooth), combine all wet ingredients with bananas and mash/whisk until fairly smooth.
  2. Pour dry ingredients into the wet and stir together until just combined.
  3. Spoon batter into pre-greased cake pans, filling about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.
  4. Bake until the batter is fully set and a toothpick comes out clean. (This was about 20 minutes for the muffins and 50-55 minutes for the 4-inch cakes in my oven.)
  5. Let cool in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Frost when completely cool, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to frost them.

Cake Tips:

  • This batter doesn’t rise much, so assume that whatever level the batter is, it will only rise about a quarter higher than that. Also, it will fall a bit after you remove it from the oven.
  • I’m always afraid of over-baking sweet treats, and so usually opt to remove things when just done, rather than risk something hard and overcooked. Don’t be afraid of over-baking these  a little though! The batter is very moist and dense, so it’s better to go a little long on the baking than a little short — the cake layers will be a bit more bread-y and will hold together better if you make sure they’re fully cooked before removing them from the oven.
  • Because this recipe makes more of a muffin-type cake, the layers are pretty dense and durable (which is great if you’re like me and not an accomplished cake-maker!)
  • If you need to speed up the ripening of your bananas, take the bunch apart and put them into a paper bag with a few apples and seal the top — they should ripen in about 12-24 hours.

For the frosting:

  1. Combine cream cheese and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk together using an electric mixer. Slowly add in apple juice concentrate while continuing to whisk on medium to high speed. Add in apple juice concentrate until desired consistency is reached (I had a couple tablespoons left over from the 1/2 cup.)
  2. Store frosting in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to use and/or store the frosted cake in the fridge until your party starts.

Frosting Tips:

  • The more you whisk this icing, the lighter and fluffier it will be . I whisked it on high for about 5 minutes total, adding in about a tablespoon of juice every 30 seconds or so. Keep in mind that the more juice you add the thinner the frosting will be, while the less you add the thicker it will be — but the juice makes it sweet, so the less you add, the tangier the frosting will be. If your frosting appears too thin, try whisking on high for a bit to get it to come back together.
  • Because there are no preservatives in this frosting, it can start to turn brown a bit as it sits out (due to the apples). I would recommend frosting your cake the day you’re going to serve it (you can make the frosting ahead and store it in a sealed container in the fridge until you’re ready to use it). I frosted my cake the day before, stored it in the fridge and noticed minimal discoloration, but opted to add another layer of frosting the morning of the party, which brightened the cake right back up.
  • You can dye the frosting using food coloring if you’d like, but if you’re looking for a natural dye, try roasted strawberries or beet puree for a red/pink hue, or roasted blueberries to make the frosting purple/blue tinted. You could also add some of the roasted fruit (not the beets!) to the middle layer for a little sweet treat!

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Breakfast / Dairy-Free / Stay Healthy / Sweet

My Favorite Protein-Packed Smoothie Recipe

February 17, 2015

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Since I’ve been pregnant I’ve been craving fruit in pretty much any form, including in smoothies.  One of my favorite smoothies is from Jamba Juice — the Protein Berry Workout smoothie.  The ingredients are pretty minimal, so I decided I should try to recreate the smoothie at home.  It ended up being surprisingly easy (and delicious!) so I figured I’d share the recipe with you all.

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Copycat Protein Berry Workout Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 small or 1/2 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain soy milk
  • optional: 1 tbsp agave nectar (I just eyeball this and add one big squeeze)
  • optional: 1 serving protein powder of your choice (I’d use this)
  1. Blend together.  (It’s a smoothie, not rocket science.)

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I like this smoothie because it’s not overly sweet and it’s packed with protein.  Even if you omit the protein powder, you’re still getting 9g of protein from the soy milk (the protein powder I linked to would add an additional 5g).  Plus the whole thing is under 300 calories (including the agave and protein powder), which makes it a great breakfast or snack on the go.

Whip one up and try it out for yourself!

Cocktails / Dairy-Free / Drinks / Gluten-Free / Happy Hour / Sweet / Vegan / Vegetarian

Bourbon Blackberry Smash Cocktail

August 6, 2014

Bourbon Blackberry Smash Cocktail

Given that it’s the middle of the week, I thought a cocktail post might be in order.  Sometimes a Wednesday night calls for this sort of thing, y’know?

This cocktail is a summery twist on the classic whiskey-ginger, and is perfect for mid-week drinking (given that it takes almost zero effort and brain cells in order to make.)  The recipe is also highly adaptable, so feel free to sub in a different berry and/or herb if you feel like it.

Bourbon Blackberry Smash

makes one cocktail

  • Bourbon
  • 2 large, ripe blackberries
  • 4 mint leaves, torn
  • Ginger beer
  • Ice
  1. In a rocks or double old-fashioned glass, muddle together the blackberries and mint leaves.
  2. Add 1.5 ounces bourbon.
  3. Fill glass with ice and top with ginger beer.

Notes and Modifications:

  1. I used Woodford Reserve, but feel free to use any whiskey or bourbon you like here.
  2. Cherries or blueberries would be a nice alternative to the blackberries, if you’ve got them on hand.  If your berries are more on the tart side, add a little sugar during the muddling step.
  3. Feel free to try basil in place of the mint.
  4. I used Cock & Bull ginger beer.  If you find the cocktail too sweet (as different types of ginger beer will add different amounts of sweetness) add a squeeze of lime.

I mean, it’s pretty much rocket science, right?  Maybe I’ll recreate this around the holidays with cooked cranberries and rosemary.  I think that might be quite a treat!