Thursday, September 25, 2008

3 Years of KitchenSpace!!

Yes, it's been 3 years since I started this blog and it is amazing how much fun I've been having here. I tried new recipes, created delicious dishes, and best of all made a lot of great friends!
Thanks to all that keep visiting my blog through the 3 years I have been around, I love each and all of you!!

The "blogversary" was actually on the 15th, but I barely had time to sit down and post these past few weeks, so I decided to celebrate today, as today Matheus is also turning 6 1/2 years old.
Yep, he likes celebrating "half-birthdays", so this is something special we do every year, and today we started the day with a yummy breakfast treat: cupcakes with yogurt "frosting", and some m&m's to keep the happines around!
The recipe for the cupcakes is one of my favorites, it is one of my favorite cake recipes, a super easy and simple Yogurt Cake that always come out tender and moist and make me happy any time I make it!
For the "frosting" part I use either greek yogurt or plain yogurt drained overnight. I then add a touch of vanilla to it and sweeten with either honey or sugar. Simple, but delicious and healthy nonetheless!
Matheus loves this "frosting", and I love it even more as he is getting something good for him and at the same time he is as happy as one could be. The only catch here is that since it is yogurt based, the "frosting" does not hold very well for too log, so it is best to spread it on top of the cupcake right before serving.
And as far as "half-birthdays" celebrations go, you can't get much better than this, cupcakes are always a nice treat, and this one is a healthy one to boost!!

And here goes the Yogurt Cake recipe with my notes and some variation ideas I have tried and enjoyed. I have talked about it before (click here!), but am going to post again as it is such a versatile cake that it is worth repeating!

Yogurt Cake

1 cup plain yogurt (one 8oz container - use the yogurt container to measure up the rest of the ingredients)
½ cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder

In a blender put yogurt, oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla, whiz until everything is very well incorporated. Put the wet misture into a large bowl and to it add the flour and baking powder. Mix it all together with a whisk until the batter is uniform (do not overmix). Pour batter in a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350F for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden on top and toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Since every oven is different, keep an eye on the cake after the first 30 minutes)

For Cupcakes, pour batter into muffin tins (greased or lined with cupcake liners) and bake at 350 for about 18 to 20 minutes, keep an eye on them after the 18 min. mark!

My notes and Variations:

You can use less sugar if you prefer, I sometimes use only 1/2 cup and that seems to be enough for us. Also, I have made it with half all-purpose and 1/2 whole wheat flour (the white or the pastry variety though) and it worked out beautifully!

You can add some flavorings you like to this cake too and make it:

- an orange cake: add orange zest to the batter!,

- a lemon cake: add lemon zest and/or lemon exctract to the batter.

- a marble cake: divide batter in two and add a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder to half of the batter. Pour the white batter into the prepared pan and then dollop the chocolate batter on top, use a butter knife to make "swirls" and gently mix the two colored batters for the marble effect.

- a blueberry cake: gently fold some fresh frozen blueberries to the batter (coat the berries first with a tbsp. flour just so they won't sink to the bottom).

- a chocolate chip cake: gently fold some mini (or regular) chocolate chips into the batter (or sprinkle them on top - if folding do the flour trick and coat the chips with some flour so they don't sink into the batter).

- an "anthill" cake: add chocolate sprinkles to the batter! This is one of our favorite cakes, my son loves it! When you cut the cake the chocolate sprinkles look like little ants, that's why the anthill name to this variation.

- add colorful sprinkles to the batter for a "carnival" effect

- Jam cupcakes: fill muffin tins half-way with batter, add a small dollop of your favorite Jam then cover with some more batter. Bake as directed for cupcakes and when they are done you will have some cupcakes with a surprise inside!

-Also, any of the flavorings and add ins works for cupcakes/muffins as well!

As you see, this cake is ultra versatile! You can flavor it or complement with some add ins and never make the same cake twice. It is a super easy cake to make and the end results is a very tender and moist cake that everyone is sure to enjoy!


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

End of Summer Salads
Grilled Eggplant with goat cheese and Tomato Salads that we had over the weekend. I don't want summer to end...!!