Coconut Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Kalua Glaze

Well, it’s rained about 40 days and nights here in Lausanne and things are looking a bit dreary. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good excuse to be all pensive, turning on the big blonde brain machine, staying indoors whist sipping a cup of tea, good book in hand while contemplating my existence. Let’s be honest though even that gets tiring after a while (am I even real? what does the word “banana” even mean?  why do we call them “toucans” and not rainbow-beaked birds?!)

To liven spirits here and elsewhere, here’s a recipe sure to find a special place in your heart, belly AND transport you to a land of tropical paradise (personally, my idea of a paradise is a land where 5’2 is a perfectly tall height and breakfast is served 24/7 but let’s not get crazy here)

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Last week, my pal David celebrated his 21st birthday and I made this cool cake, inspired by David’s love of yogurt. Absolutely loves it. I swear that kid will live to be 312 with all those probiotics floating around.

So without further ado, I present to you the aaaaaaaamazing Coconut Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Kalua Glaze

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Kalua Glaze

Serves 8-10 people

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coconut yogurt
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons Kalua
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, and oil.
  3. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
  4.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. While waiting for the cake to bake, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Next, add Kalua and milk in small increments, stirring until mixed together thoroughly.
  6. When the cake finishes, remove it from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Using a fork or toothpick, poke small holes over the top of the cake and drizzle with the frosting. Serve with lots of love!
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Home is where the French Toast is.

Sometimes we all feel out of place even if we go somewhere of which we’re sure we’ll fit in this time. That people will totally “get” you, understand you, like the same mélange of music, think it’s cool you take your coffee with a bit of cinnamon sugar rather than cream and totally get the fact that you rarely finish a book because you’d rather learn something new than finish something for good.

Unfortunately, I’ve come to conclude that while this place sounds real good on paper, it might not exist all of the time

Even if you’ve found it, this dream place might not last either because the people could change or you may change or maybe a little bit of both or, you know, the place gets hit by a random space rock that destroys most of the town and even though the people are fine everyone has to move away anyways for fear of space bugs. It could happen.

Coming to Switzerland did a little of this for me I think. While not in a bad way, all I wanted to do was leave the States for a long, long while. Maybe I read too much and didn’t finish enough books to realize that adventure doesn’t necessarily mean, well, permanence.  I thought in coming here I would leave my weird American roots behind for good, I’d learn to pronounce a few things correctly and drop my occasional Texan drawl, I’d escape past events I wasn’t proud of or people I still hadn’t fully forgiven, and most importantly, I’d cook all these new crazy, beautiful dishes with my spare time because of my new “European” way of living. So posh and pensive, right?

All of this is actually hilarious because since I’ve been here, the only thing that’s been on my mind more than some great ribeye with a side of mashed potatoes or someone that’ll talk about baseball with me is my mom’s French Toast.

Growing up, this was my personal breakfast of champions. I could take on anything with a belly full of French Toast­– tests over fractions and decimals, piano recitals, soccer games. I could go to a friend’s house and have their mom’s French Toast or try to order it in a restaurant but of course it wouldn’t be the same because it wasn’t my mamas.

Don’t get me wrong– I absolutely love it here. I love that great skiing is just a train ride away, the history, the cool cobblestoned streets and window shutters, the fact that people in their cars actually stop for pedestrians at cross walks and that freshly baked bread is a stone’s throw away.

But sometimes it takes leaving home to figure out exactly where it is and the people that make it up. And while the French Toast I make over here is pretty good, it’ll never compare to that delicious breakfast dripping with maple syrup and cinnamon that can only be found in my mama’s kitchen.

Mama Smith’s French Toast

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk (non-dariy works fine!)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 8 thick slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and extra cinnamon to serve

Directions

1. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and sugar in a medium sized bowl. When finished, pour the mixture into a shallow bowl or container (my mom always used long, rectangular Tupperware for better bread coverage)

2. Melt butter over a large skillet on medium high heat. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, for a few seconds on each side and add to the skillet. Cook until lightly brown on both sides, flipping the bread when necessary.

3. Serve with ample amount of maple syrup, powdered sugar, cinnamon and, of course, love!

Yield: Serves 4-6

If Your Cake Burns, Eat It Anyways

When things don’t exactly meet your expectations in just about any way, shape, or form, what do you do?

Are you the type that just lets it roll of your back while singing, “no worries” or some other words of super chill wisdom while gazing at an invisible Bob Marley poster OR are you the type that lets it brood and fester and rot for two days while muttering like Gollum, developing an odd case of scoliosis from being hunched over, and vowing that you’ll just never again have expectations?

I know this will probably come as shock to the eeeeeeeveryone (the sarcasm here is bounding) but yes, my name is Sarah Smith and I’m totally a 100% expectation lover.  I don’t count on just anything to meet my expectation- I like to count on ALL the things. ALL the pieces. And then, when things don’t work out as usual, comme d’habitude if you will, you can find me hunched over in my room muttering in my really horrible Gollum voice counting the ways how the situation isn’t my fault even though, well, it kinda is for my outrageous expectations.

Let me provide an example.

Yesterday I was invited to this dinner party hosted by (get ready for it this it’s a bit complicated) a work colleague of the father of my friend Drew. Being a lover of food, I asked my friend if I should bring anything, he said “aw of course”, and after some thought I decided to make a cake I heard about in one of my classes. Charlotte aux Pommes (aka the weirdest cake ever).

The afternoon went a little like this:

Stage one: chopping apples (the recipe seems quite normal at this point)

food a la fac

 

Stage two: sauté the apples with a bit of cane sugar and cinnamon (also quite normal)

 

Stage three: get 15 slices of bread and cut the crusts off (uhhhhh what?)

 

Stage four: slice the bread in thirds and use two thirds of them to line a deep baking dish (ummm okay…)

 

Stage five: put the sautéed apples atop the bread slices, top with remaining third of sliced bread, drizzle with melted butter, and bake (… but won’t my bread get soggy?)

 

So I put it in the oven and things were looking weird but good. Until of course I began to smell something like burnt toast igniting on fire and ran to the oven while forming some kind of recovery plan (can you give a cake CPR?).

I take out the “cake” or whatever it’s supposed to be and this thing is nasty looking. Nasty. The bread on top is covered in what seems to be asphalt or black paint but that’s really just the burnt bits laughing at me. After I take it out there’s complete silence in my apartment I really hope my friends aren’t thinking, “…if you have a food blog doesn’t that mean you know how to NOT burn things” or really just “…ewwwww”.

I think my friends either saw a hint of my disappointment or maybe my back hunching over and the whole Gollum bit coming out to whine and so they told me everything would be okay, to put some powdered super on the top to cover the burnt bits, and not to worry about it. But of course I worried about it.

I worried about it on the metro.

I worried about it at the door when I handed our host the cake and thought surely “He’s gonna throw this in my face I mean I’ve basically disgraced his native cuisine”.

I worried about it during delicious raclette and then when our host announced “time for Sarah’s dessert!” my heart was pounding with fear.

But that was the silliest thing because everything ended up being…well…perfect.

Once plated, you couldn’t even see the burnt bits the powdered sugar didn’t catch. The apples looked and tasted perfect and the bread had this really nice “bread pudding” effect that really made everything come together deliciously. Even the burnt bits added a nice crunch that no one would have anticipated.

 

Needless to say, I happily brought home an empty dish.

So the moral of the story is, the next time you come across something that really didn’t meet any of your expectations, do what I should have in the first place:  dust it with a little powdered sugar, hope for the best, and dig in anyways.

 

Charlotte Aux Pommes 

Ingredients:

6 apples

1 loaf rustic bread

4 tablespoons butter, melted

6 tablespoons cane sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and slice apples and then place in a large bowl. Add cinnamon and sugar, mixing until all apples are evenly coated.

2. Sauté the apple mixture over medium high head for about 4 minutes. Set aside.

3. Cut the crusts from the bread and then cut each slice into thirds.

4. Coat the bottom and sides of a deep baking dish with about half the melted butter. Line the bottom with roughly 2/3 of the bread slices.

5. Add the apple mixture and then top with the remaining 1/3 of the bread.

6. Drizzle the remaining butter over the bread and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, checking regularly to ensure the bread doesn’t burn.

Spiced Banana Coffee Cake

Hello World!

It’s me again (quelle surprise!!!!) broadcasting from Lausanne where things are gettin’ chilly. I’m talking leggings-under-your-tights-under-your-jeans type stuff, at least for me. (When it comes to the cold, I wimp out faster than a Chihuahua who accidentally found himself on an elite dog mushers team delivering milk in rural Alaska.) However, the one good thing about cold weather is the opportunity to craft yummy and delicious things in the kitchen, which also provides an excuse to stay indoors. Take this banana streusel coffee cake for example: good enough for breakfast…..dessert….. all the time. 24/7. Infinite coffee cake.

Some pals and I have a little dinner rotation going during the week and, as yesterday was my night to cook, I made this cake for the grand finale. We had some perfectly speckled bananas lying around and I figured, why put them to waste?! (I get pretty picky when it comes to the texture of bananas I’m willing to eat and I always feel awful throwing them away and rejecting them. Problem solved!)

To spice things up a bit, you could replace the 3 mashed bananas in this recipe with anything else of a similar density or texture for an entirely new cake. Pumpkin purée, sour cream, chocolate pudding- the choice is yours!!!

Spiced Banana Coffee Cake 

For the cinnamon streusel:

  • 2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown or cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons brown or cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup smashed bananas (about 3)

Directions:

1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (around 180°C) and grease a medium sized loaf pan or 9 inch cake pan.

2. For the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.

3. For the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the bananas. Mix until just combined and slowly add in the flour mixture.

4. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Top with the rest of the batter and remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Allow cake to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and serve!