We all know that Thanksgiving dessert is all about the pie. But what if it wasn’t? What if we tried something a little closer to the reality of that original Thanksgiving, when no one had a deep-dish Pyrex or even an oven? It’s far more likely that dessert at the first Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t pumpkin pie but Indian pudding, a homespun cornmeal-and-molasses creation fashioned after the Native Americans’ supawn. Colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts, were likely looking to re-create some familiar comfort foods from Mother England, but lacking the wheat flour or oats that comprised their staple hasty pudding, they made do with cornmeal, courtesy of their friendly new Native American neighbors. Hence the name “Indian Pudding.”
Happy first day of fall! Celebrate with my moist, spicy apple cake. Tender, sweet chunks of apple, crunchy walnuts, and rich caramel butter frosting make this a fall favorite! On Eat Real.
Once upon a time, a nice girl (or boy) could not go to the market and purchase an avocado without risk of ruining her (his) reputation. Avocados, it seems, were the culinary equivalent of items more typically purchased in drugstores, with much brow-beating and little eye contact. Back in the day, if you were after avocados, you were planning on making whoopee ~ not guacamole.
Simply put, Avocados were a forbidden fruit because way, way back when, the Aztecs thought they were nature’s answer to Viagra. On what did they base this? Let’s just say that the Aztec name for avocado is ahuacuatl because the fruit on the tree grow low and hang in pairs, and they’re shaped just like….
Anyway, avocados were considered to have such potent aphrodisiac powers that maidens were kept under lock and key during key harvest times.
Then in the 1920s, American avocado growers decided to get proactive about cleaning the naughty image of their fruit. To that end, an advertising campaign was launched declaring that avocados were not, in fact, aphrodisiac. Anatomical resemblances aside, sometimes a fruit is just a fruit ~ a yummy, buttery, wholesome fruit that would never dream of inflaming sexual appetites or endangering the virtue of maidens.
Happily, the advertising campaign was a success! Now the avocado was safe for consumption by good girls and nice boys, and the “alligator pear” ~ a much cuter nickname than “testicle fruit” ~ began its rise to Status: Inoffensive!
And that’s why, today, we do not have to buy our avocados online or in windowless stores that feature private viewing booths. We can boldly walk right into our supermarkets and walk out with an armload and, I assure you, no one but no one will suspect we have plans to get lucky.
Which is a little bit ironic if you’re buying avocados to make this cake. Because in that case, you’ll be feeling pretty lucky to be enjoying a piece or few of this incredibly luscious, intriguingly flavored, pale green pound cake. Who knows? After all, the Aztecs were a pretty populous bunch before they made some very bad choices in the making-new-friends department.
Avocado Cake with Lime Browned Butter Icing
The avocado in this delicate pound cake is present but subtle ~ don’t be afraid to try it, even if you’re not a tremendous fan of the flavor of avocados. It’s really very delicate.
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 very ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; grease two 81/2 x 41/2 loaf pans. If your pans are not nonstick or well seasoned, you might want to flour them as well.
- Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add mashed avocado and continue beating until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Turn mixer down to low and add half of the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, then add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on low just until ingredients are incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl.
- Divide the batter between the loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. If loaves are browning too quickly, cover lightly with a piece of foil.
- Let loaves cool on rack in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Glaze with Lime Browned Butter Icing (recipe follows) if desired.
Lime Browned Butter Icing
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 11/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon lime oil
- Cook butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until golden brown (about 5 mins); remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
- Whisk together confectioner’s sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and lime oil. Gradually pour in browned butter while whisking. Adjust texture of icing, if necessary, by adding additional confectioner’s sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until a thick glaze consistency is reached.
- Use an offset spatula to apply glaze to cooled avocado cake; let set for 30 mins, then slice and serve.
Intensely chocolate and decadently rich…and ready in 5 minutes (plus chilling time). Click here for my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme recipe.
Low in carbs, high in protein and healthy fats, these delectable cookie thins will make your day. Click here for recipe.
I’ll cut right to the chase: there’s Splenda in this recipe. I already know what you’re going to say, so don’t bother…yes, I have used a food analog. And you know what? I don’t even feel guilty.
Up until last week, I would sooner have pulled off a toenail than created a recipe that used an artificial sweetener. But that was last week. This week, I’m a little less judgy, a little more antsy to play around with the sweeteners available to people who–for one reason or another–prefer/have to limit carbohydrate intake.
Now, don’t think for one minute that I condone simply swapping out sugar for sugar analogs just so you can feed your sweet tooth willy-nilly. I don’t. In fact, I would urge you to learn how to live with fewer sweets. It’s possible. Really!
I made this for those times when you just want a bite or two of something sweet, not a planned-for special indulgence. (In those cases, I would recommend this or this.) This is a small, satisfying sweet that won’t pump you full of insulin and make you feel like you not only fell off the wagon but got run over and dragged by it too.
If you want to try this but don’t mind the carbs or you just don’t want to use Splenda, you can sub out a tablespoon or two of cane sugar or granulated sugar for the Splenda.
FYI ~ you’ll see in the picture that my chocolate is a little bloomy. Eh. You can temper your chocolate for this, but that kind of defeats the purpose, which is to have a bit of deliciousness with no fuss and no insulin spike. Never mind the bloom–it’s harmless and a non-issue unless you’re serving dessert to, say, Daniel Boulud. (In that case, I would recommend tempering your chocolate so you don’t look like a chump.)
Chocolate-Dipped Almond Thins ~ low carb, high fat; gluten-free
- 3/4 cup almond meal
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons granulated Splenda
- Pinch sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (liquid)
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 11/2 tablespoons coconut oil
This is my first weekend experimenting with the metabolic efficiency training diet, and since weekends call for dessert, I took to my kitchen. What I came up with is this little number–a silky smooth dark chocolate pot de creme with a hint of peanut butter. It’s gluten-free and almost dairy-free (the darker the chocolate, the smaller the amount of dairy).
Honestly, I would have no trouble serving this to dinner guests and not telling them it meets any certain dietary specifications. Even though it’s LCHF, no one would ever guess it’s anything other than a rich, decadent chocolate pot de creme. You can take my word on it (pastry chef here). And the best part? It takes about 5 minutes to throw together. True story.
Give it a try. You know you want to.
LCHF Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat, not light)
- 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I like Perugina or Ghirardelli, 63% or higher)
- 2 teaspoons granulated Splenda
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream whipped with 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon granulated Splenda (Optional)
- Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
- Bring coconut milk to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Place chocolate, Splenda, vanilla, and peanut butter in the bowl of a food processor*.
- Pour hot coconut milk over chocolate (et al.) in the food processor. Fasten the lid and process until smooth and completely blended, about 1 minute. Pour into ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3-4 hours, until firm.
- Top with a dollop of whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve cold.
*If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this with a good blender. Follow your blender’s instructions on processing hot liquids–most blenders have a removable insert in the cap to vent steam. I hold a folded dish towel over the opening when operating mine with hot liquids.
Chocolate. It heals all wounds. Stops time. Says “I love you” or “I’m sorry” or “it’s Tuesday” in every language. Chocolate doesn’t judge, it just offers it’s broad shoulders for crying on or hoisting to celebration.
So, what, exactly, is Chocolate Velvet? “Velvet” is not an actual pastry term. It’s a little like saying “Chocolate Surprise,” but more descriptive. To me, this dessert is something like the love child of chocolate mousse and a brownie: creamy and smooth, it melts in your mouth, but it’s dense and intensely chocolaty. You can eat it warm or chilled. You can eat it plain or capped with a snowy mound of vanilla ice cream. You can share it with a loved one, but you probably won’t. Better make enough for everyone to have his or her own.
Yield: 6 servings
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I like Perugina)
- 1.5 ounces butter, room temp
- 4 large eggs, room temp
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons coffee, almond, or hazelnut liquor
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease six 6-ounce ramekins with nonstick baking spray. Place ramekins in a 13×9-inch glass baking dish or roasting pan.
- Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave or in a double boiler; stir until smooth. Allow to come to room temperature.
- Beat eggs with sugar until light and foamy–about 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and additional flavoring, if using; beat 1 minute more.
- Fold about 1/4 cup into cooled chocolate mixture to lighten; add chocolate mixture to beaten eggs and fold gently to combine completely.
- Divide batter among the six ramekins. Pour very hot water into baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake at 350 degrees F 20 to 25 minutes, until velvets are set and the top is no longer glossy. Remove from water bath and allow to cool 10 minutes on rack. Eat warm or let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill. You can eat them cold or rewarm in a microwave for 20-30 seconds.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup to garnish, if desired.
This is not a tea cake. This is a deep, dense, baby-gimme-somma-dat coffee cake. It’s dense. And deep. I emphasize this, because I don’t want complaints about how heavy this is. It’s not HEAVY. It’s moist, delicious, flavorful, and dense. And unlike in men and souffles, in this cake, that’s a great quality.
But why so dense? Well, first of all, the streusel. It’s in the middle, it’s on top. And no one has ever accused a good streusel of being delicate. So it’s not.
Second, there’s a lot going on here: peanut butter (dense), bananas (dense), chocolate (dense), and sour cream (dense). Think about it.
Third, I use a deep pan. A real deep pan. Why? Because I didn’t have a shallow pan on hand when I was originally developing this recipe, and my chief taster liked it pretty well just this way. And I agreed. So I stuck with it. If you like your crumb cake a little more ladylike, use an 11×7-inch baking dish. I won’t judge you. It takes a while to work up to this much badonkadonk.
A couple of words on the actual cake . . .
Regarding streuseling: Don’t just sprinkle. Get in there like you mean it. Grab yourself a handful of streusel, make a nice clump, and break it up ~ a little ~ then drop that onto your batter. That’s what’ll give you those gorgeous take-me-home-to-mama chubs of streusel on your cake.
Regarding flours: I used Hodgson Mill white whole wheat flour for this (and all of my other recipes requiring whole wheat flour). I originally developed this recipe for a contest on their site via my dearly departed baking blog (which is a sad/angry/frustrating story for another day). So I would like to give a shoutout to HM for their consistently good products. I’m a big fan of their white whole wheat and their whole wheat pastry flour, specifically.
And that’s it. Go make it. Give yourself plenty of time; it’s a big prima donna and it’s going to take a while to bake. I’m not exaggerating. If you use the deep pan like I’m telling you to, plan on sticking around for at least an hour and a half. But all feedback so far suggests it’s worth it.
Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chunk Crumb Cake
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 3 ounces butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×9-inch glass baking dish with nonstick pan spray and set aside.
- Make Streusel: In a bowl, combine brown sugar, flours, peanut butter, and butter. Mix with a pastry blender or fingertips until butter and peanut butter are fully integrated.Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and smooth; add peanut butter and cream until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate; add vanilla and scrape down the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add bananas and sour cream and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour half the batter into prepared pan. Top with half the streusel. Add remaining batter. Don’t worry if the streusel layer isn’t covered ~ things will work themselves out. Top with remaining streusel.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, then check. If browning fast, cover loosely with a sheet of foil and return to oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, check, repeat until a toothpick inserted in the center of the crumb cake comes out clean.
- Let cool on a rack and dust with powdered sugar if you’d like.