Strawberry Pearl Yogurt Cake

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The fact that it’s now October makes the whole denying-summer-is-over a bit rougher, but a girl can dream, can’t she? Actually, I’m surprised at how many nice, sunny days we’ve gotten so far (good job, Raincouver)…I went on a quick hike just this past Sunday. That being said, the beauty of fall foliage is undeniable, especially as I walk down Main Mall on my campus. I’ve always thought it a bit Central Park-esque with its impressive trees.

Well, I’m not quite ready to usher in pumpkin spice er’thang yet, but this spiced strawberry pearl yogurt cake is a nice compromise.

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Whole Wheat Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

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Kanelbullar has always been something I’ve admired from afar, primarily for its beautiful twist. Aren’t they like the more understated, simple-but-elegant version of its American cinnamon roll cousin? In this recipe, the primary spice is cardamom instead of cinnamon, and it perfumes the dough subtly. It’s glazed twice, once before and once after baking, with a sticky runny spiced-glaze.

Be warned though, these are definitely not like cinnamon rolls in its ooey-gooey sweet goodness. I’d like to imagine these are a lot more breakfast friendly; they’re made with whole wheat flour and a modest amount of butter, they lack frosting, and are less sweet, and so overall it’s no longer a dessert masquerading as breakfast. I like that its primary focus is the spices– there’s no cream cheese frosting or icing that masks the true taste of cardamom or cinnamon, and you just get a very earthy, fragrant experience. Paired with a cuppa chai, and it’s like a warm hug from the inside.

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Blueberry Lime Coconut Muffins

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I remember my first time baking with yogurt was to make Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake. The excitement of pulling the loaf out of the oven and pouring the glaze on top, the intensity of the lemon flavour, the tender moistness unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. The first few bakes in my life– everything pulled out from the oven was mysterious and magical and sparkly.

Fast forward a decade, and Ina’s recipe is still a mainstay for when I’m looking for an uber-moist cake/muffin.

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Cherry Kirsch Crisp

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A large part of the joy of cooking is witnessing the perfection of nature.

I believe in respecting the integrity of foods– as Brooks Headley so eloquently put it, above. He also said, “the key to making great food is to get the best possible stuff and avoid fucking it up”. Okay Brooks, simple enough.

His cookbook Fancy Desserts is a real pleasure to read. It’s one of the quirkiest, unique, personal, thought-provoking, and creative-juice-stimulating ones I’ve ever read. (“I genuinely love holding a piece of fruit in its perfect state, barely able to contain its own fragile insides, a few hours away from rot. It is magic.”)

Although I haven’t gotten around to making anything from it yet (chocolate eggplant sounds a bit far fetched, even for me…), it just reminded me again how lucky I am to be spoiled by the bounty of local, fresh summer fruit.

For me, there’s a sort of default dessert they’ll be siphoned off to– a crisp. It always goes back to the crisp. It’s quick, easy, simple, versatile, and respectful. You’re fully in charge of how much or how little sugar to add, the combination of fruits, how “whole” you want to leave the fruit, the types of oats and nuts in the topping. Whether or not you want an element of surprise. Black pepper and strawberry, perhaps. A bit of herb in the topping, like thyme, perhaps. It’s easier to make than a pie, since there’s no waiting for the crust to chill, no need to dirty your counters rolling out the crust… it’s pretty much a mix-and-dump type deal. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being able to sneak in oats, your choice of nuts and seeds, and even almond flour into your crisp topping, so you can convince yourself it’s breakfast food. Serve it à la mode, and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer dessert.  Continue reading →