Izzy Does It

Kichen Chaos, the Izzy way

Month: April, 2013

Apple & Cinnamon “Skillet” Cake

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I love the humble apple with all my heart. One day I will own an orchard (and a pygmy goat). When I was a very little girl I started a survey at my primary school to prove that Cox apples were better than Granny Smiths, off my own back and for no real reason. I am hopping I didn’t name the survey Cox V Granny (snigger!). Granny Smiths won; I have never got over this.

Now, let us move away from fanatical children and back to the subject; apples. Take an apple. From there you can make a multitude of scrumptious recipes that will delight me. Simply add it to a pan with some water and sugar and you get stewed apple, wiz that in a blender and you get apple sauce. Be a little more advanced and add a crumble topping, and you have my ultimate comfort food. Any apple dish is always cosy to me, whatever the weather.

For this recipe my beloved apples are sliced, cored and added to a cinnamon buttermilk cake batter to make an apple cake. I promise this blog won’t all be cake, but today, it’s cake. But this cake is baked in a frying pan (or skillet as they say in the US) so it’s a special cake. I found this particular recipe from joy the baker, who is a recent addition to my food blog obsession (I really need to be more patriotic and follow more UK bloggers; Parisians and Americans seem to be my go to) and this is the first of her recipes I have tried, and it worked! Which sounds like a poor compliment but I have found many a recipe online that just doesn’t. Apart from its ability to form itself into a cake, it was also very quick, very easy and very very seductive.

I liked the novelty of bringing a frying pan of cake to the table but it can be baked in pretty much any cake pan or dish of a similar size.

Ingredients

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Cake
3 or 4 apples
190g cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
180ml (3/4cup) buttermilk

Topping
60g Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease and flour a 9 inch frying pan or similar sized cake pan/ dish (If you are using a non-stick pan you may not need to do this but better to be safe than sorry).

Peel your apples and slice horizontally into 5mm thick disks. Using a cookie cutter (or an icing nozzle/ other implement, if you don’t have right size cutter!) cut 1 inch circles out of the centre of each disk. If you have an apple corer you can core the apple before slicing. To avoid your apples turning brown while you make the batter, squeeze a little lemon over the slices.

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Whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, and salt in bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon for your topping.

Using your electric mixer on a medium speed, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated and then add the separate egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat.

If you have a wonderful mixer like mine you will have a plastic guard that goes over the bowl to avoid the flour flying out, if you don’t, use a dishcloth over the mixer when you add the flour to avoid covering yourself (or your dog) with flour.

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Add half the flour mixture to the batter and with the mixer on low, beat until just incorporated. Add the buttermilk, beat, and then the remaining flour and continue beating until fully incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan/dish and top with the sliced apples and sugar cinnamon topping.

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Bake cake in the top third of your oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Serve hot straight from the oven with clotted cream or ice cream for dessert, or, if you can avoid the allure of spiced cinnamon apple wafting around your kitchen, serve cooled for more of a tea and cake moment. This cake kept for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge, although it was at its best on the first day.

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Almond and Date Breakfast Bars

Breakfast bars

My life used to (and often still does) consist of stages of eating badly, followed by guilt, followed by dieting.  The minute I deny myself something I become a brat because the concept of never eating chocolate/donuts/bread again depressed me. Not a good look. My sister (who lives in LA and as a result is a fountain of diet knowledge) mentioned the idea of ‘binge day’ or ‘cheat day’; in other words; eating healthily on all but one day of the week. This was a revelation, as now whenever I get a craving I can tell myself ‘just wait until Sunday’ and I don’t turn into a grump.

Most of the recipes that will appear on this blog will be my ‘Binge day’ recipes as I rarely get excited over something that’s good for me.  But here we have a healthy recipe (very out of character) as these are just too dam special to be ignored. I have been trying to find a breakfast that satisfied the urge for something crunchy and carby that I always have first thing, without the buckets of sugar. I was bored of porridge with its various toppings, I can never just have one bowl of cereal, and all pre-packaged breakfast bars are so full of sugar my teeth ache just looking at them. So I was intrigued when I came across this recipe for these breakfast bars in Smitten Kitchen’s new cookbook. The sweetness of these bars comes from honey, they are full of fibre and protein and as a result you get a slow release of energy rather than the peak and drop of sugary cereals, but most importantly they satisfy my crunch need.  I can say, hands down, they taste better than shop bought version.

These bars are extremely easy to make; just add all the ingredients together, bake, cool and cut, so it’s a super quick thing to make on a Sunday for the rest of the week. This recipe makes twelve bars; one for both me and The Dishwasher for each weekday minus our Sunday cheat day. You can double the recipe and freeze any extras or cut the bars smaller, the choice is yours. The dried fruit component in these is dates, but you could substitute that for any other dried fruit, such as apricots, if you’re not a fan. The original recipe called for wheat germ but I substituted this for chia seeds (a new wonder seed full of Omega-3 and Omega-6) which I bought from Whole Foods. If you can’t find them, substitute back to wheat germ.

Ingredients
Makes 12 bars
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150g chopped dried pitted dates
110g quick rolled oats
20g of whole wheat flour
35g chia seeds
55g sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
65g almond butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
85g honey
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Take a 23x33cm (13×9 inch) baking pan, or the equivalent, with sides and line with two pieces of greaseproof paper crossed over each over to create a sling (this will make the bars easy to lift out later).

In a large bowl add the oats, flour, chia seeds, almonds, dates, cinnamon and salt and stir to incorporate. In a separate bowl whisk together the orange zest, almond butter, honey, olive oil, and almond extract until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated.  Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and press it firmly into the sides and base.

Bake the bars for 20 to 25 minutes on the middle shelf until they are brown around the edges.  Cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes and then use the parchment sling to remove and place on a wire rack. Once completely cooled cut into to your desired number of squares/bars. I did twelve. If the mixture is a bit too crumbly, place it in the fridge for 30 minutes and slice from there. Enjoy with your morning coffee

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