Yogurt Cakes

Typical Monday…Monday Blues = craving for something sweet!! I was too lazy to get dressed to go out for breakfast so decided to make something kinda healthy with things that I’ve piling in my fridge. The usuals in my pantry = sugar, flour, eggs, oil. I just so happened to have several packs of 100ml yogurts left and that led me to a google-hunt for a simple yet delish yogurt cake recipe.

I came across a simple one with rave reviews and the best part of this recipe is that I don’t have to wash so many measuring cups!! All you need is to use your yogurt container 🙂 So I pulled up my PJ sleeves (it’s cold here now!) and went to work…

French Yogurt Cake (adapted from www.food.com)
I was able to make 12 good sized cupcakes 🙂

Ingredients:
100ml low-fat yogurt (most personal sized yogurt comes in this size -don’t forget to keep the container!)
1/2 yogurt container canola oil
2 yogurt containers brown sugar
1 1/2 yogurt containers all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 dash salt (i.e. around 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can use any kind- coffee, almond, orange blossom water or rum extract)
1/2 yogurt container chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat over to 300°F.
2. Mix yogurt and sugar.
3. Add the flour and then the salt- the dough should be harder in texture at this point.
4. Add in the eggs, the oil and the vanilla extract.
5. Last but not least, add in the baking powder.
6. Mix well.
7. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan OR as I did, line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
8. Bake for 30 minutes (Original recipe says to bake for 50 minutes, not sure if it’s my oven, but at 30 minutes, it was definitely ready, anymore and they would be over-cooked! So I suggest for the first batch, experiment and keep you eye on the goodies 🙂

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Muffins: Cupcake’s angelic twin

I love cupcakes but have always found them a tad too sweet and a bit of a guilty pleasure!  SO, that being said, I decided to opt for a yummy muffin alternative since it’s really a less-sweet cupcake with no frosting. With extra cranberries and almond in hand, I’m setting out to do some Friday night baking with the aim on another butter-free recipe, because hey, just because you like muffins, doesn’t mean you need to get a muffin top.

Why cranberries? Well aside from being conveniently already there in my pantry…..cranberries have amazing health benefits with antioxidants and studies showing their benefits in reducing cholesterol and preventing certain diseases.

At first, I was thinking that all the different mix of flours in this recipe would be less convenient than I would generally prefer so after a bit of research, I realize that you can easily substitute the whole wheat flour with normal all-purpose flour. But, for this recipe, I actually ended up getting myself a bag of whole wheat flour since it creates more gluten, it will result in a more chewy texture. Generally, it is better for breads than cakes or pastries but since this recipe is sans butter, I decided that the extra UMPH of chewiness might do it justice!

Also, since I was out of baking soda, I did yet another mini research into the soda vs powder dilemma.  So in a nutshell, if you come across a recipe that calls for baking soda and all you have is baking powder, you can easily substitute it by increasing the quantity since both really are just leavening agents. BUT for recipes that call for baking powder, the same cannot but done with baking soda as by itself it lacks the acidic nature to make a cake rise whereas baking powder already contains an acid and a base so it works well with any acidic or non-acidic ingredient. Baking soda also has a slight bitter taste which is generally countered by adding an acidic ingredient (e.g. yogurt, chocolate, buttermilk, honey) whereas baking powder has a neutral flavor. So for convenience sake as again, I’m a fan of economic and simple baking, simply mix two parts cream of tartar with one part baking soda and there you have it! Your homemade baking powder =)

Hope you’ll enjoy these moist babies as much as I do! GUILT-FREE

Cranberry-Orange Almond Muffin (source: www.wholeliving.com)
Recipe makes 16 muffins (BUT for me this recipe came out with 24 muffins!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (Optional as can go with just all-purpose flour)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (If none readily avail in your pantry, you can simply use baking powder. Conversion as follows: x 3 of soda so in this case 3 teaspoons and omit the salt since the substitution of the powder may affect the flavor)
  • Coarse salt pinch (use if going with baking soda and again omit if using baking powder)
  • 2/3 cup non-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen or dried cranberries (I used dry again for convenience-sake!)
  • 1/2 cup slice almonds (or chopped almonds whichever is easier!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (i.e. around 177 degrees C). Line your muffin tins with baking cups (or in my case since I don’t yet have a muffin tray I just overlapped 5 baking cups and baked on normal tray).
  2. Whisk together sugar, flours, baking soda and salt (or 3 teaspoons baking powder only) in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, eggs and orange zest and juice.
  4. Fold liquid mixture into flour mixture, then gently fold in cranberries until combined.
  5. Spoon batter into baking cups until each is around 3/4 full. Sprinkle with almonds (can use any other sprinkles you want really!)
  6. Bake for around 20 minutes. Test with toothpick and insert to ensure the center of each one comes out clean. Then transfer pans to wire racks and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn our muffins onto racks and let cool completely or keep in wrapper. Up to you!