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!

Checking Off the List

When you were a kid, did you ever make lists in class or with your parents or friends about things you wanted to do when you were big and strong and just more…. grown up? Sometimes it’s things like “swim in a sea filled with whipped cream” but there are also those hints of goals and accomplishments thrown into the mix such as “perform at Madison Square Garden” or “graduate from university” – things of a more “realistic” nature (although I still wouldn’t mind swimming in a sea of whipped cream).

 It’s funny for me to think about those lists now because, as it turns out, I’m actually checking things off. Which is crazy to think about- that all those things a poofy blonde-haired 8-year-old me dreamed about. It never really occurred to me how much I’ve checked off until recently when I returned from a trip around Italy.

It felt like I had been gone 2 months in the 10 days where I saw Bologna, San Marino, Rimini and Rome with Kylea, one of my flat mates. It’s funny because one of my dreams was exactly that- travel around on trains with a best friend. Trains are few and far between in Texas and the thought of being able to hop around with only a backpack in Europe with a gal pal was almost as imaginary and unattainable as Peter Pan or a sea of whipped cream to swim in. But i did it! And I even have some great pictures to prove it 🙂

San Marino!

At the Colosseum!

Roma!

Me!

After thinking about this particular trip, I realized just exactly how much I’ve checked off my list. And it’s a pretty good amount of things!

Sometimes it’s difficult to see that you’ve achieved goals because life just gets complicated and filled with other stuff- we get caught in a riptide of tasks and forget to celebrate our dreams and victories and the fact that we worked so hard to get to this place. For me, I can get so focused on the future, the next goal to achieve, the next ladder to climb, that I forget to take time in the present to pat myself on the back and say “Look at everything you’ve done in the past twenty-one years! You’ve ran races, you’ve been a featured artist on the radio, you’ve swam in oceans, you’ve lived 5,210 miles away from home, you’ve worked at a travel magazine, you’ve earned enough funds to buy an awesome camera, you’ve performed in a nightclub in Barbados and the oldest bar in Belfast, you’ve overcome destructive friendships and venomous relationships, you’ve hiked mountains, you’ve traveled, you’ve loved deeply…. and there’s still so much more.”

 They say that “you are your own worst enemy” but I think along with that there’s a hidden meaning- that you can also be your own best friend. While it’s easy to get caught up in a destructive downward spiral imagining all of ways that people are better or have accomplished more that we have, it’s important to realize that the list we made years ago wasn’t for those people and it wasn’t the same as theirs either.

That list is ours!

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!

A Proper Cup of Coffee

Here is a haiku I wrote about coffee.

Hello cup of joe

You are looking nice today

Can we be friends? 

I thought I might take a little break from analyzing Matin Brun (an allegorical work regarding fascism by Frank Pavloff to present in class. SO AWESOME!!!) to share some of the best cups of coffee I’ve had – as well as their respective locations– over the weeks I’ve been in Lausanne. What’s more, between my little espresso maker and Emma’s french press, we’ve made some pretty great coffee ourselves, chez moi!

BUT, before everything, here are some Swiss coffee factoids for all you caffeine junkies out there.

  • Switzerland has one of the three highest per capita coffee consumption rates in Europe
  • 75% of global coffee trade happens in Switzerland and apparently, there are more Starbucks locations than banks
  • Say hello to Nespresso (the coffee child of Nestlé). It’s eeeeverywhere.
  • The most popular drink? Something called a long espresso (aka kaffeecreme). Haven’t had one yet but it’s on the list.
  • My favorite drink? (I’m sure all of your a trembling with anticipation) It’s called a renversé. AKA this warm espresso beverage from Geneva with a structure quite similar to that of a latte or cafe au lait. Oh and it’s SO DELICIOUS.

Okay enough of that. Coffee lovers, prepare to drool.

 

I’m serious. Get those hankies ready!

 

9/16, renversé. MGM Cafe, Ouchy

9/20, café. Chez moi 🙂

9/23, café au lait. Evian, France! 

9/28, renversé. Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory, Gruyères

9/29, espresso. This one café in Bern

9/30, (what used to be a) renversé. This other café in Valais

10/2, machine coffee that’s oh so tasty! (it does exist…and, yes i be you guessed it, it’s a renversé!). Université de Lausanne

10/6, another renversé of course! Centre-ville

And, last but not least, breakfast this morning

Well, that’s enough coffee for one day. Talk to y’all soon!!!!