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applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), ...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

orange poppyseed bread

most of the recipes I've seen for this sweet, light tea bread call for artificial butter flavoring and lemon extract, neither or which are ideal ingredients, IMO. also, most of those recipes make two loaves, and I only want to bake one at a time. it's easy enough to double the recipe if you want an extra loaf.

for the bread:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (just about any kind of milk will work; I used homemade almond milk, because it's what I had on hand)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange (or lemon) zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon into measuring cup and level off to get an accurate measure)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil*, warmed so it's liquid (I used refined, but if you want the flavor of regular coconut oil in this, feel free to use it)
for the glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons orange (or lemon) juice
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange (or lemon) zest
  • a tiny pinch of salt
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. butter a 9" by 5" loaf pan. in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, citrus zest and vanilla. measure the flour and baking powder into a sifter or fine mesh sieve, and sift it into the liquid mixture. whisk just to combine. add the salt, then pour in the coconut oil while whisking to incorporate -- this prevents it from solidifying when it hits cool ingredients (which is why I never try to mix it into the eggs and milk first). mix just until combined, without lumps, but don't over-beat. pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes; until lightly browned. a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. place on a rack to cool.

in a small bowl, whisk the citrus juice, confectioner's sugar, zest and salt until sugar is dissolved. this will make a relatively thin glaze. while the bread is still warm, gently poke holes in the loaf at even intervals (about 1" apart), then spoon about half of the glaze over, distributing fairly evenly. allow a minute for the glaze to be absorbed, then spoon the remainder over. after the last bit of glaze has been absorbed, remove the bread from the loaf pan (I ran a butter knife around the edges to be sure it wouldn't stick, then placed a plate over the top of the loaf pan and inverted it, then flipped the loaf over so it ended up right-side-up). allow to cool. slice to serve.

this should keep for a few days at room temperature, covered.

*note: I'm especially perplexed at other recipes' use of imitation butter flavor, because I think the flavor of butter interferes with the floral citrus and toasty poppyseed notes here. refined coconut oil adds no scent or flavor, which is how I prefer it, but the tropical scent of regular coconut oil would be an interesting change of pace. butter just isn't the right flavor here for my tastebuds. however, if butter is the right flavor for you, substitute a stick of melted, unsalted butter for the coconut oil.

favorite fluffy pancakes




note: this makes a large batch of pancakes. you can freeze them (with sheets of wax paper in between the pancakes to keep them from sticking), refrigerate them for a few days, or scale the recipe down by 2/3 or 1/3 if you prefer. it will still work.
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup yogurt (Greek or regular) 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned into measure and leveled) 
  • 6 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder, sifted or forced through a sieve 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 
place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl or jug and melt in microwave (30-60 seconds). add the yogurt and milk, then the eggs. whisk until smooth. add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and whisk just until combined (a few lumps are fine, and even preferable).

cook over medium heat in buttered skillet. pour out ¼ – ½ cups of batter at a time, and cook until bubbles start to dry out on top and edges begin to firm. flip and cook 30-60 seconds longer, until middle of pancake springs back when you press it lightly with your finger. adjust heat under pan so pancakes get as brown as you'd like during this cooking process. stack on a plate until all are done.

photo courtesy of Charles Geiger

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

the perfect yellow cake

  • 1 stick butter, softened to room temperature 
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar 
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (warmed until liquid, then measured) 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk 
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (spooned into measuring cups, then leveled off with a knife – no need to sift) 
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder, sifted or pushed through a sieve to break up clumps 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 

preheat oven to 340° F.

cut parchment paper in circles to fit the bottom of (2) 9 x 1 1/2-inch round cake pans. butter the pans, then place the parchment in the pans and butter the paper.

in a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition until completely incorporated. add the coconut oil and vanilla, and combine. mix in half of the flour (don't overmix, just incorporate), then half of the milk, then the rest of the flour, then the rest of the milk, beating until fully combined. sift in the baking powder, add the salt, and beat until just combined. pour the batter into prepared pans.

bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted near center of cake comes out clean (a few small crumbs are fine), or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center. cool cakes on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.