Friday, May 30, 2014

Yogurt Cake



This recipe has become a regular around here. It comes together quickly with ingredients I usually have on hand, tastes wonderful warm or cool, and is a great background for a variety of sauces and toppings. Oh, and it keeps well, too, covered, on the counter. Credit for the recipe goes to Chocolate and Zucchini, a cookbook written by a French author. (She also writes a blog by the same name.) I've altered it slightly.

Yogurt Cake

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use grapeseed), plus what's needed to oil the pan
1 cup plain yogurt (unsweetened), full fat or 2%
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon rum (optional)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 to 1/2  teaspoon salt 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, and oil the sides of the pan. OR, use a 10-inch springform pan and just oil the sides. I use a springform pan.

Whisk together the yogurt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, the rum and the oil. Whisk again. 

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to yogurt mixture and whisk or stir lightly just until combined.

Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean. Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes, then loosen from pan and turn out onto the rack to cool. 

In the above photo I served the cake with a raspberry sauce made with frozen berries from last summer. It's equally good with any fruit sauce, or fresh fruit and whipped cream, or chocolate sauce.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie




Rhubarb's early appearance in the garden is a welcome sight after a long winter. Early settlers to North America considered it an aid to digestion and good health after a winter of eating preserved foods. 

The creamy baked topping on this pie is a perfect foil for the tart, fruity rhubarb filling. Although the recipe calls for an unbaked pie crust, I used a graham crust since I didn't feel like making pie pastry. We'll see how it turns out when I cut the pie. (edited to add: turned out just fine)

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).

1 uncooked pie crust (10 inch)

Line a deep 10 inch pie plate with the pie crust and set aside. 

Filling:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
3-4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb (cut into 1/2 inch sized pieces)

In a medium saucepan mix the sugar and cornstarch. Add the water and stir to combine. Stir in the fresh rhubarb. Cook over medium high heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture thickens and turns clear.

Pour rhubarb mixture into pie shell and bake for 10 minutes.

While the pie bakes, prepare the topping.

Topping:

1 package (8 oz) softened cream cheese 
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth.
Pour over the hot rhubarb.

Reduce the oven heat to 325 degrees. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The topping should be golden brown. 

Cool thoroughly and serve with freshly whipped cream.