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Adventures in Healthy Baking


Top Chef is addicting but a Top Chef I am not.  However watching that show makes me think that I can just throw a few ingredients in a dish and make it taste delicious.  Mama Pea does it all time so why can’t I?  Today was my day to be a great Pastry Chef and make a dessert for my friend Beth who just had a baby.  Someone should have reminded me that all great chefs say pastry is more science than cooking.  Well you live and learn.

I had a zucchini I needed to use up and saw an amazing recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake on Lawson’s Eat Local that would suit it perfectly.  I had all the ingredients or so I thought.  I dug out the food processor and attempted to put together the grating blade so I could get the required 3 cups of zucchini.

They go in there somehow.

I couldn’t figure it out so I just chopped it. Some one should have told me that one regular sized zucchini would not equal 3 cups grated chopped.  Not even close.

Then I got the bright idea to augment the recipe and make a smaller cake with the zucchini I had.  Not my brightest idea I’ll admit.  Oh and did I mention I was trying to use date sugar instead of cane sugar so I could enjoy some with my friends while I meet their new baby and bring dinner tomorrow?  Yeah I was having a major brain fart tonight.

But I forged ahead.  I started gathering the ingredients and went to look for the flour…and couldn’t find it.  I brought it home yesterday with all my other goodies.  And then it vanished.  Not to delay the baking I went downstairs and got another bag.  Then I opened the fridge to get the eggs and what did I find…

Yes that is my pastry flour.

Hunni claims he didn’t put it in there when he put away my blueberry jam from my canning session with Chelle, yet there it was.  Then again he never remembers putting is keys in there either and we have found them the fridge more than once.

I proceeded to mix together a little bit of this and a little bit of that hoping for cake batter.  Hunni played taste tester and it always tasted “off.”  Nothing was helping.  It wasn’t sweet enough and remember I don’t like sweet stuff…well except butter cream frosting but our relationship is troubled.  Then I tasted the date sugar I was using.  No offense to dates… because we all know I love dates and have a little problem with dates and almond butter…but it wasn’t sweet at all.

Then I found something to save the day…

This stuff looks and tastes like sugar.  Could have fooled me.

Looks like the real thing.

It will be my go to “sugar” from now on.  I threw a bunch in and said a little prayer.  And it worked…I think.  It looked like cake batter going into the pan.

Looks okay :-/

The smells emanating from the oven were promising.  When they came out the looked like cake.

It looks okay.

And then came the taste test. Uh oh.  Yes or no.

Tentative bite.

Oh yes!


Don’t mind my hair…I just got back from the gym.  And adding home-made blueberry jam makes everything better.  You get your fruits and vegetables in one serving 🙂

Match made in heaven.

So happy to take my experiments to the new mom as another gift 🙂

I’m actually proud of myself that my adventures in healthy baking turned out but I won’t be making that journey again any time soon.  Baking is definitely science and I was better at foreign languages in school 🙂

Are you a good baker?

Last Week’s Goals:

  • Eat on menu. I rocked this challenge.  It kind of helps that I planned in two “on your own” days.  This saved my conscience from planning meals I knew I wasn’t going to eat to be able to cook and eat due to fun events.  I think I’ll take this philosophy more often…like tomorrow when I’m going to another blogger meet-up. 🙂
  • Vegan Friend Fun. Emily and Maggie are so amazing and fun.  And Emily showed me around Middletown, CT main street.  This is great for two reasons.  I had such a fun day with a great friend and I found some fun places to explore when Hunni and I go there in August for vacation.  Perfect mix of both worlds.  I am looking forward to being there for more than just a few hours.  Oh and the food was absolutely fabulous.  I’ll take pictures the next time.
  • Finish the details. Okay so the details aren’t completely finished but I got so much accomplished this week that I actually added more to my list…if that makes sense.  I got all the little stuff done that had been weighing me down so it was so easy to focus on the bigger stuff.  And I’ll say it again…Online Stopwatch is my friend.
  • More book, less TV. I wasn’t home a ton so there was a lot of reading or TV watching going on.  But when I was home I was enjoying Anthony Bourdain and great English historical fiction instead of Real Housewives reruns.
  • Plan our mini break. We’re going to Middletown, CT!  Actually we are going to visit our friends who are moving in September so this will be our last time to hang out with them before they move 6 hours away 😦  So we are going to hang around with them for 5 days and enjoy every second since it will only take us 2 hours to get there.  I’m just ready to get out-of-town!
  • Organize. So much stuff…so little time.  I had a blast being out of the house this week so nothing in the house got organized.  Good thing Hunni and I are comfortable with the tight quarters.  We’ll get around to the organizing eventually even if it is as we put away the summer stuff and…dig out more stuff?  Yeah winter definitely has more stuff 😀

This Week’s Goals:

  • Work on my blog to-do list. Thanks to the lovely ladies of CDNY Eat Drink Blog I’m learning how to make this happy space even more fun.  There are so many things about blogging I didn’t even know.  So much fun.  Of course this means I need a new computer but that just is just a lovely side effect 😉
  • Baby! Okay not for me.  I have Peanut and Leo and they are a handful of know-it-alls.  But my friend Beth’s new little cutie is waiting for a visit…and so is the amazing momma and new daddy.  I’m taking the dinner and dessert before heading out to meet the CDNY Blends.  It’s just going to be a great evening.
  • Finish my book. I got into a bad bind this past week.  I was doing really well reading my book from the library…and then I saw it.  Anthony Bourdain’s book No Reservations at the second-hand book store when I went to visit Emily in Connecticut on Wednesday.  I love his no-nonsense approach to food (even if he hate vegetarians) and my friend Katie loved the book even though she hates him.  I just had to buy it.  And now I’m in the middle of two books and have to choose.  It’s like choosing your favorite child.  I can’t do it.  I just need to finish one so I can move on from this mistake and never make it again.
  • Take one picture a day. This is actually one of my blogging goals that I “borrowed” from Then Heather Said.  But I loved it since it is actually one of my New Years Goals to take more pictures.  So here goes nothing.
  • Get back to the gym. This means both the pool and the gym.  I went tonight and that was good.  Monday is the pool.  The rest need to be schedule right after I finished this post.  I need to hit the gym instead of putting it off this week.  I missed it.
  • Call my cousin on her birthday. She’s turning 11 on Tuesday and I miss her a ton.  I’m going to call even if the conversation will not be very deep.  She’s too cute and I wish she wasn’t 9 hours away this summer. And her little sister is a hoot so I’ll talk to her too.
13 Comments leave one →
  1. 26/07/2010 8:49 AM

    Nice job on the experiment!

  2. Meg permalink
    26/07/2010 9:32 AM

    I’m glad the recipe came out well. I made a plum cake that was only alright last week but neither Keith nor I are huge plum fans.

    I am a pretty good baker, especially if I can follow a recipe to the letter. I’m not good a having to make changes.

    • 26/07/2010 11:59 AM

      I don’t even have a recipe for it because I just kept adding stuff until it tasted okay. But Hunni loves it so that is good.

  3. 26/07/2010 9:43 AM

    Good job with your healthy baking! I am pretty good at baking but I honestly haven’t done any healthy baking. All the things I’ve made in the past were just traditional desserts. I love things like chocolate zucchini cake though so maybe I should try some healthy baking experiments too.

    • 26/07/2010 10:00 AM

      I used to love traditional baking but then I found out I couldn’t eat sugar so my adventures in baking had to begin.

      Healthy baking actually tastes pretty good. You should give it a try.

  4. 26/07/2010 10:22 AM

    Top Chef always gives me confidence in the kitchen. It’s usually not nearly as successful as I think it should be, but it’s fun to get in there and *try* to whip up something spectacular. 🙂

    I’m not a great baker and I’m not sure why. It’s not that I’m terrible. Things just never turn out perfectly like they seem to for other people.

    • 26/07/2010 10:26 AM

      I hear you. Baking is interesting. I have two things that are great. Unfortunately I can’t eat them anymore. I need to tweak them with my new sugar.

  5. actorsdiet permalink
    26/07/2010 5:13 PM

    i enjoy baking, but i like box mixes. i can’t be bothered to measure and clean an extra spoon!

    • 26/07/2010 7:08 PM

      Box mixes are Hunni’s favorite! Especially since he does the dishes.

  6. 27/07/2010 10:03 AM

    You are a Top Chef! I think it’s great you kept working on the batter until it was just right. You are correct – it takes a lot of zucchini to get 3 grated cups!

    • 27/07/2010 11:09 AM

      Thanks Diane! It was a pain to keep working on it but I was determined to have a healthy cake to take to my friends since they are pretty healthy eaters.

      Zucchini is nothing grated. I was so surprised.


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