Ginger Cake

I'm starting to notice a trend here. I seem to be posting almost exclusively about desserts and totally neglect all the other things I toil over in the kitchen. I guess I'll have to change that, but in the meantime, here's the cake I made today. I didn't frost it. I was going to, but it just didn't seem to need it.

After reading the comments, I made a few changes. There were many comments about too much clove, and sinking in the middle. I cut back on the baking soda and it didn't sink. I may go with even less baking soda next time and probably less sugar, too. I also used two smaller pans so I could put one in the freezer.

'Starbucks' Ginger cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup applesauce
1 egg yolk 
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Preheat oven to 350°F Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan, or even a square baking pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Dissolve baking soda into applesauce and mix into creamed butter. Add flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into a loaf pan.
Check after 30 minutes

'Expert' advice

I should just stop watching the morning news. It seems every day there is another 'expert' trying to sell us the latest 'health food' that is actually less healthy than then evil substance it is supposed to replace. I don't understand why they don't look beyond the surface. Why they don't ask questions or dig deeper? How, when so many people are looking to them for answers, do they continue to give information that will not only not help, but actually may cause harm?

Most people are sincerely trying to do the best for themselves and their families. Sometimes it's not easy to sort through the noise to determine what is healthy and what is hype. The stakes are high, though, so we have to look past the sales pitch do our own investigating. Recently I ran across a blog entry that has been helpful for many just starting out:  'Nourished Kitchens'  '10 Tips for Real Food Newbies'   

I need to work on number 8. I'm not very good at number 10, either :)

Cream puffs

It's my Friday today and I felt like going home and baking something with The Kid. For some reason I decided it was a cream puff making day. I didn't exactly have to try very hard to convince him, either.

I don't know why I've never made cream puffs before. They are so easy! I got the recipe from an old Betty Crocker cookbook, but I'm sure there are loads of them out there just a google away.

The first batch just has powdered sugar on them - but I'm thinking chocolate icing would be nice on the next batch....

Zucchini Muffins

This year we experimented by planting a variety of zucchini called 'Eight Ball'. The plant is compact rather than spreading, and the zucchini itself is round. I like the way the plant keeps to its own area and doesn't sprawl all over the garden. However, when one of the zucchini escapes attention and gets a bit overgrown - I'm not sure whether I should cook it....or carve a face into it!

I'll start by making these muffins - a family favorite.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 C dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease or line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl beat the eggs. Beat in the sugar and oil. Add the cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.
Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and chocolate chips. Mix until just moist.
Pour batter into prepared muffin tins filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Store loosely covered.
"There is nothing more useful than the sun and salt" Latin Proverb