Tag Archives: baking

Olive Oil Banana Bread

I had always wanted to try baking with olive oil, but was always worried that whatever I had made would end up tasting like olives. A taste that I actually really like, but not in a cake.

So, last week, when I invited a friend over for that afternoon, I got my chance to bake with olive oil. You see, I had no butter in the fridge and three very ripe bananas that needed to be used.

I made this recipe, it made the softest banana bread I’ve ever eaten. The recipe also has very little sugar in it. I mixed the whole thing together in my food processor, and was very happy with how this turned out.

Olive Oil Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed, ripe bananas
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180C and grease a loaf pan.
One by one put all your ingredients into a food processor blending in between each addition.
Pour into your prepared loaf pan.
Bake until golden and a tooth pick comes out clean (about 50 minutes).

Pear Spice Cake

Diets. I hate trying to diet when I am not working outside of the house. When I am home all day, it seems like every time I walk into the kitchen, I want to eat something. Let me tell you, I’m not hungry, I just want delicious tastes.
I’m actually not on a diet (don’t worry mom!), but I did have a baby two months ago. And although I am back into all my old clothes, I need to be eating healthier.
The problem is two fold, one I had gestational diabetes and was on such a strict diet during my pregnancy that now I am going crazy with the sweets. But according to the doctor, I should still be eating carefully. This is not helped by my second problem, breast feeding.
I love breast feeding, but it makes me crave a ridiculous amount of sweet stuff. When I was breast feeding Alara, I was eating a chocolate bar a day. However, I was working in a school and much more active than I am now.
Until last week, my dad was here with me, and he didn’t help with my sweet cravings (I’m not blaming, simple stating a fact). Every day we would have a ‘treat’ from the local bakery. My treat of choice, a chocolate croissant with chocolate ganache on top and cream inside, heaven!
Now that my dad has gone home, and Alara is back to school, I’ve decided that this week is when I will start to get my healthy on. So far it is going…
Well, this is what I’ve decided, I can still have sweet treats, but the have to be something that I’ve made, or small pieces of dark chocolate. It’ll work right?
Anyway, yesterday my good friend invited me to her place for lunch. I knew that she is also trying to get healthy, but loves a good sweet treat herself. So I decided to make this cake. It’s not too sweet, but still satisfies that craving. Plus, it’s got fruit in it!
I only made a small batch, half is this recipe, just enough to make four little loaves. This way there wouldn’t be a lot left over. It satisfied our sweet tooth, and didn’t leave us feeling too guilty.
It worked, I only ate the cake yesterday, but I just left the kitchen wondering what I should make today.
Pear Spice Cake
adapted from Joy the Baker
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons speculoos mix (similar to all spice)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups buttermilk
3 pears, peeled, cored and diced into roughly 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 to 1 1/4 cups of fruit)
Make cake:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour bundt pan. (I used little loaf pans)
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat together butter, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, add in the eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches, mixing well after each addition.
Spoon batter into loaf pans and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.

Gluten Free Earl Grey Chocolate Cake

Winter in Belgium this year has involved a lot of cold days, no snow, only a bit of rain, but generally cold. Well cold for Belgium, my Canadian family would not be impressed by what I am calling cold these days.

It is cold enough to want to come into the house, get under a blanket and curl up with a hot mug of tea, or in my dad’s case, coffee.

I love tea, especially Earl Grey. I love chocolate (I’m very lucky to be living in Belgium). I love cake (don’t trust anyone who doesn’t). So when I saw this recipe come along on one of my new favorite blogs (shutterbean.com). I knew I had to make it.

The combination of chocolate and Earl Grey tea is one that I fell in love with last year while I was in a chocolate shop in Brugge, Belgium. I had never tried a tea paired with chocolate and instantly fell in love.

The unfortunate thing is that after, I couldn’t find it anywhere else. Then I had the gestational diabetes, and I wasn’t looking for it. I thought it was a distant memory, a taste never to be enjoyed again.

Then last week I was out for Valentine’s day lunch with Seyfi, at our favorite salad restaurant, Boule de bleu in Mons, when with my coffee, comes a little piece of Earl Grey chocolate.

The taste was back!

A day or two later, this recipe was out, and I made it instantly. It was delicious. I can now make the flavour combination in my own kitchen.

I’ve made this recipe twice now, the first time using normal flour. I just wanted to see how it would taste. I was so good, that I ate all of it, (ok, probably 3/4, and it was over three days…) I also wasn’t sure if Seyfi would like the idea of tea in a cake. But after he saw me enjoying it, he wanted me to make him some too.

All I did to make this recipe gluten free, was change out the flours. I also made it in little loaf pans. Delicious!

This cake is super moist, I would recommend using the darkest chocolate you can find.

Here is Shutterbean’s recipe (and link) with the adjustment for gluten free.

Earl Grey Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free)

6 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
4 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350° F.

Coat an 8-cup fluted tube pan (that’s a bundt, right?) with cooking spray. (I used little loaf pans)

Brew the tea in the water 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags or strain the leaves and set the brewed tea aside.

Using a mixer, beat the butter, eggs, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Blend in the chocolate. Beat in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, yogurt, and brewed tea. Pour into pan.

Bake 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.

Turn out of pan and cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes

When I registered Alara at the local school this summer, I forgot to get a year calendar to know when all the holidays would be. I thought it wouldn’t be a problem because I would always be told if the school would be closed the next day.

So months ago I made a doctor’s appointment for this week, and told my dad that it would be fine if he left on the eighteenth, I had no idea that it would leave me all alone, for the first time since Ela was born, at home with Alara, and needing to go to an appointment.

I am however so lucky to have a great friend who offered to take care of Alara for the afternoon of the appointment. For Alara, this friend of mine comes with a friend for her, a big girl who loves to make tents, put on costumes, and generally give Alara all the attention in the world.

What do you bring to a friend who is doing such a big favour? Well, since I woke up at six o’clock the morning of that appointment, giving me lots of time, and I had just bought a new, heart shaped cupcake mold, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes, with pink whipped cream frosting.

These cupcakes turned out delicious. They are a nice, dense, rich cupcake,
that I made ‘healthier’ by adding ground up flax seed to the batter.

I hope my friend knows how much I appreciate her, her wonderful daughter and our friendship. Here is the recipe…

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 tbsps ground fax seeds (optional)


Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, add the vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and the milk milk; beat well.
Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven.
Frost when cool.