Sunday, May 15, 2011

Something Easy and Chocolate

What do you do when you suddenly crave for something sweet? For me, that happens more often than I'd like, and when I'm too lazy to make something fancy, I turn to this easy chocolate pudding. I'd like to think of it as the "little black dress" of desserts -- you can make this in a pinch when you're pressed for time or stuck for ideas, and you can also jazz it up with whatever flavours you desire, i.e. accessorize it.

I've made this enough times to finally have my favourite version of the recipe, which I'm sharing today. In the future I'll probably tweak it some more just because I like experimenting, and I'll share any successful renditions of this recipe then. :)

Easy Chocolate Pudding
adapted from All Recipes and Hungry Girl Por Vida

1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 tbsp malt powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp salted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, sift the sugar, cocoa powder, malt powder, and cornstarch to remove any lumps. Whisk the mixture well, making sure everything is combined.

2. Place the pan over medium heat, and slowly add the milk while constantly whisking to combine everything.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. When the mixture is thick (enough to coat the back of a metal spoon), remove the pan from the heat.

4. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract.

5. Pour into preferred serving dishes, and let cool to room temperature. If you don't like pudding skin, press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pudding (make sure the plastic touches the surface). Chill the pudding in the fridge until serving time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Something Fit for Spring

Sometimes I wish, just once, I could stumble upon a recipe for something wonderful(ly impressive) and make it right then and there, without the disappointment of finding out that I'm missing a couple of ingredients and bookmarking said recipe for another day. I also wish I have the appropriate crowd to whom I could feed my creations. Sadly, most of the time I have neither a pantry full of atypical ingredients nor a band of people waiting for baked goods!

All the wishing aside, here is a cake I baked not so recently. This is another butter pound cake similar to the marble cake I made previously, but not as rich and heavy due to the tang from the lemon. I think this combination of lemon and green tea, typically only found in drinks, works very well together in a cake. Coincidentally, the colours of the cake are very fitting for a spring! Maybe for a tea party? I also used some whole wheat flour on a whim, and I think it worked pretty well. I used just enough to give the cake a wholesome taste instead of using it to be healthy. And for those looking for an excuse to have cake for breakfast, here it is: this cake has whole wheat (healthy), lemon (healthy), and green tea (again, healthy!). ;)

Lemon Matcha Pound Cake
adapted from Joy the Baker
yields 1 10-inch bundt cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt
scant 2 1/3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup plain yogurt
scant 1 cup butter, melted
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp matcha powder

1. Place the oven rack in the centre. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Grease the pan and then cover completely with flour. Remove the excess.

3. Sift the flours, salt, and baking powder.

4. Whisk the eggs and sugar well. Add the vanilla extract and continue mixing. Then add the yogurt, and mix everything well.

5. Add the dry ingredients from step 3 to the egg mixture.

6. Fold in melted butter in 3 additions.

7. Divide the batter into two portions. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to one portion, and add matcha powder to the other portion.

8. Pour some lemon batter in the pan, then pour some matcha batter. Keep alternating until everything is used up. Gently mix the two batters with a knife to create a marbled pattern. Don't go overboard with the swirling!

9. Bake the cake for 60-65 minutes.

10. When done, cool the cake for about 20 minutes, then invert the cake and allow to cool on a metal rack.