Can't Bring Me Down Blueberry Cake

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008

I've been high since Friday morning. No, it's not what you're thinking. I haven't been using any illegal substances, this is a 100% natural type high. On Friday, June 27th, I finally received my National Chiropractic Board Exam Part IV scores. For those of you unfamiliar with board exams, they are national level tests that you have to pass to be a licensed professional for a given state or country. The Chiropractic Board has 4 parts, which you take during certain parts of your curriculum. Each portion tests different aspects of your education, with the last portion having an oral and practical portion. It's actually kind of cool, they have actors pretending to be patients and they act out their injury/condition. You perform exams and question them, and then come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan. The test was 3 hours, and the my fellow students and I were pretty amped the whole time. So basically speaking, this last portion is as big a deal as Ron Burgundy.

I'm in a ridiculous wicked awesome mood because I rocked it. Seriously, nothing can get me down right now. I've busted my ass for 3 years, taking some 25-30 credits a semester, and the light is finally at the end of the tunnel. It's not even a train either. I'm going to be a doctor in November. It blows my mind. Unbelieveable. All I need now is the Jets to win a superbowl, a nice house on the beach, get out of debt, and I'm just about set. Sounds too simple? I like simple. People make drama when they get bored.

So anyways, I didn't mean to make this a chiropractic rant, I'm just super excited to almost be done with school. If anyone has any questions about chiropractic or going through it's program, I'm more than glad to help. I have my own beliefs and methods of treatment, and if you would like to discuss those, feel free to contact me on email. For those of you who don't know anything about our schooling, I found this link.

So what does this have to do with blueberries? Um, probably nothing. The other day, Emiline over at Sugar Plum had a nice post on blueberries. I've been eating them by the pint this whole week, and thought, hey sweet idea. I'm sure you've been over to her site already (she's a big deal too), but if not, do head over.

I combined two recipes for this cake and added my own spins. I took part of Dorie's recipe for a blueberry brown sugar cake, and part of recipe from Eating Well for coconut blueberry muffins. My mom just bought me this new small braided pan, so I decided to use it. Yes my mom still buys me things... she's the reason I'm a baker :)

Blueberry Coconut Cake
Recipe by Adam

-2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp cinnamon

-2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
-2 Tbsp canola oil
-1 egg, beaten
-3 Tbsp honey
-1 cup buttermilk
-1/4 cup coconut, unsweetened
-pinch of salt
-1 1/2 cups blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350*. Grease your 12 cup muffin tin, or small bundt pan, or 8x8 dish.


In a large bowl, pour the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix so it's all evenly together.


In another bowl, place the sugar with the egg, melted butter, oil, and honey. Mix so it forms a nice, lump free, brown mixture. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and add the wet mix in. Fold gently with a spatula, so the mixture comes together. Treat it like a muffin batter, and do not overmix. Fold in the coconut and blueberries.


Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it springs back lightly to the touch.


This cake tastes great on it's own. I may be a loner on this one, but I usually prefer unfrosted cakes to frosted ones. I think if a cake can stand on its own, then it's a damn good cake. That's not to say there isn't room in life for buttercream, but hey if it's not broke, don't fix it. Add a dusting of powdered sugar, and I think you're ready to rock and roll. There won't be a blue mood in the house. Blue fingers though... well that's your problem.

Wacky for Wacky Cake

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I was introduced to "Wacky Cake" at a very young age. It is originally a recipe that my late grandmother used, which was passed onto my mother, and now onto me. I know what you're thinking... that's a lot of history right? Exactly. My grandmother raised 12 children, so that's a long history of chocolately smiles and finger licking.

There's a bunch of reasons why I love this recipe. First, you always have all the ingredients on hand at your house. There are no eggs, no milk, and no butter. Wait... no butter? Yup. And this cake has such great mositure and fluffy texture you won't miss it a bit. Let's face it, butter is getting a little expensive anyways. According to the almighty wikipedia, Wacky Cake doesn't have any of those above items because of rationing during the war time, which makes sense. My grandmother was raised around that time, so I can see how the recipe developed. The other main reason I love it is technique, (or the lack thereof). This cake is easily thrown together, dry in one bowl, wet in the other, and folded and mixed together. The cake seems very watery, but that's ok. It firms and rises up beautifully in the oven.
Wacky Cake
Recipe by Grandma VanDerWerken (RIP)
-3 cups flour
-2 cups sugar
-2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup cocoa powder
-3/4 cup canola oil
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 Tbsp white vinegar
-2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350*, and center the oven rack. Grease a 13x9 pan, or 2 rounds.

In one bowl, mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. In another, mix the wet ingredients: oil, vanilla, vingear, and water. Pour the dry into the wet and mix well with a spatula or spoon. Don't worry if the batter seems watery or thin, it will thicken up in the oven.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cake springs back to touch.
The cake is moist, chocolately, and not so sweet your teeth hurt. It is a classic in my family, and an instant favorite of anyone who has tried it. While I have tried other chocolate cake recipes, I always go back to this one. I just recently recieved Dorie Greenspan's Book... which every baker on the internet raves about, so I have to see if she can trump it. I'll keep an open mind, but I kinda doubt it. Maybe it's because I have such a strong connection with this simple cake. So in the words of Rob Scheider of The Waterboy... "You can dooo iiit!"

Some random things I'm thinking about... to go with the wacky theme:
1. Always wear sun screen your first time at the beach in a year
2. If someone finds $100 in the ocean, try your damnest to be their best friend
3. The new Usher cd is awesome
4. When working out... keep your rest periods between sets at 60 seconds or less
5. Too much raw fish or sashimi can make your head feel funny
6. If you have back pain or aches, it's not normal, and you shouldn't have to just "live with it"
7. There's always a reason for chocolate cake
8. Beautiful weather and laughing at yourself can take care of many problems

I know I've done alot of chocolate things lately... I'm kinda chocolated out. Someone else take the reins from me. Sorry if the post today is weird... swear it's the cake.

Set Phasers to Scone

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2008


This blog is like Star Trek for me. No it doesn't make me grow Vulcan ears, or give me melodramatic exaggerated acting skills, but it challenges me. It takes me where no Adam has gone before (at least baking wise... thanks college) While I have recipes that are my "go to" guys, I'm finding that it's cool to pass the ball to a new rookie and see if he drops it. If he has butterfingers and drops the ball like Clumsy McSlippy Hands, well then I'll throw to someone else. Damn is it football season yet? I can't wait to see Jets camp.

So Scones. This kid has never ate one, and never made one either. At the coffee shop they look like some kind of triangle biscuit, big and puffy, yet dull and boring. I have heard that you need to have them with some kind of sweet filling or frosting to make them worthwhile, or coffee. They are like that friend who is a meek wallflower by themselves, but comes to life when a bunch of friends are around. I wanted the scone to stand up for itself without some kind of Siamese sugary concoction attached to it, so I came up with chocolate scones, with chunks of dark chocolate inside, a hint of cinnamon, and a touch of espresso to wake you up... and the beautiful thing is that it's easy. Easy like Sunday morning :) Sorry I couldn't resist.


Caffeinated Charged Chocolate Scones
Recipe by Adam

-1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or AP)
-1/4 cup packed brown sugar
-3 Tbsp cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp espresso powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-3 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
-1 egg, beated
-1/2 cup light sour cream
-1 tsp vanilla
-Chocolate pieces (milk, dark, whatever)

Preheat oven to 400*, line two cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, espresso powder, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon. Pour the butter chunks into the bowl and mix with your hands, until the flour resembles some soft crumbs... like making a pie crust. Add in chocolate pieces. Stir a little to coat them.

In a large bowl, combine egg, sour cream, and vanilla, an mix well. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and with a spatula, fold gently until a pretty wet dough forms. Do not over mix. Please. Treat this like muffin batter, just get everything all together.

Place dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and roll out so it's about 1/4 inch thick. Take a floured cup or cookie cutter and cut the dough into circles. Place the circles on the prepared pans, brush with melted butter, and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the toothpick test comes out clean. Remove the foil from the pan and let them cool completely. Enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee.

The scones turned out pretty well. They were light, airy, and kind of cakey. Think of a not so sweet, drier, lower fat, no mess piece of chocolate cake. I guess biscuit is a good way to describe it. I actually think they would be perfect for dunking into milk or coffee. Pop on some Star Trek, or James Bond if you're British, and make your morning easy.

(Star Trek Pictures taken from http://startrekspace.blogspot.com/)

Marble Michael Jackson Cupcakes

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2008

Simply put, marble is a cool style. It has this nice swirly look to it, like waves or ripples, but they are solid. I like marble because it not quite chocolate, and not quite vanilla either, it's like an in betweener. I imagine you could technically eat only the vanilla or chocolate part, but come on now, we're not cake savages. We are equal opportunity eaters here. Black, white, lemon, or confused, we accept all cakes.

Marble Michael Jackson Cupcakes

Recipe by Adam


Makes 12 cupcakes


2 cups cake flour

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

¼ tsp salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

2 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ cup cocoa

2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven an oven to 350*. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a whisk until combined.


In a larger bowl, cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add beaten eggs, milk, and vanilla, and mix until they come together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and fold until they are well incorporated.

Pour out half the cupcake batter into a small bowl – add desired cocoa, up to ¼ cup, and mix until it is nice and chocolaty. It will be pretty stiff, so you might want to loosen it up with a Tbsp of milk or two.


With heaping tablespoons, add dallops of the vanilla and chocolate mixture randomly into the prepared pan, so the cupcakes are marbled and confused.


Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched.


There's been alot of 80's music played here at clinic recently. Those of you who are around my age probably remember Michael Jackson back when he could dance, was cool, and made good music. I remember watching an In Living Color parody where he asked himself whether he was 'Black or White', and it was hilarious. Thsese cupcakes don't dance or sing or anything, but I laugh every time I eat one and think of that song. So make some cupcakes, throw on some 80's, and dance like a fly girl, kids.



Flushed out in Flushing

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Monday, June 16, 2008

Long Island is an interesting place. Being from upstate NY, the people, the weather, and the pure volume of cars on the road is much different from what I'm used to. I don't pop my shirt collar. I don't own designer anything. I don't spend an hour in my car to drive 10 miles. It might sound like I'm complaining, but it's not really that bad. If you have never been to NYC or the downstate NY area, I reccomend visiting. There's tons of things to do, and if you're poor, people watching can be your national pastime. But let's not kid ourselves here. There's like 10 million people on this rock... So the ultimate reason to go...

The grand daddy, the big kahuna, the numero uno, the head hancho...

Food

This weekend a few friends and I went down for the Mets/Rangers down in Flushing. We also checked out China town and Little Italy also. It's quite a sight because they are just a street down from each other. On one street I was surrounded by Asians and words I couldn't read, and then I take another step and like globe warp to Pasta Land. There's whole chickens roasting, rice frying, pasteries galore, and pizzas being thrown around Definately a cool feeling.

Here's some cool things I tried and ate...


Budda's Delight / Coconut Juice / Chinese Sponge Cake / Local Market

So... after our gastronomical adventure in the afternoon, we took the train to Shea Stadium to see the New York Mets play the Texas Rangers. It was a bit raining and gloomy, but we were optimistic about it.



Um, that was a mistake.


The rain

Apparently it was monsoon season on Saturday. I felt like I was on the set of Lost and it just randomly pours an ocean on you. We were cold and wet, but Mets fans are diehards. With every lightning bolt we got louder and louder, as if cheering defied the weather and pushes it away. Even the players goof around, which was sweet.


Wright, Reyes, and others sliding

So, no baking today. Thought I would take a break and show you some cool things I saw this weekend. Thanks for reading and I'll make sure I whip something sweet up in few days.

Learn About Yourself No Bake Cinnamon Spice Peach Cheesecake

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Friday, June 13, 2008

Alright... today, I learned something. I try to learn something new everyday, so that I each day I get a little bit harder, better, faster, stronger (Thanks Kanye). Sometimes they are life lessons, like only experts should juggle chef's knives, or make sure you have broccoli out of your teeth before talking to a girl... and other times they are things I learn on tv, like lemon juice stops things from browning. Either way, trying new things and learning from yourself is all part of the game. This cheesecake kind of went that way for me. I have never made a no-bake cheesecake before, and figured the summer was as good a time as any. So today ladies and gents, Adam the student/bodybuilder/novice baker learned...

Baked cheesecake totally and utterly annihilates no-bake cheesecake... when it comes to texture, flavor, and just being what a cheesecake should be. I have nothing against gelatin, I actually lived off sugar free Jello during a pre-contest cut diet, and I love cream cheese and yogurt... but this cake lacked that dense, rich heaviness. It was light, which is nice for summer, but I prefer that thick as a brick, but creamy smooth texture only a baked mother can provide.

This by no means is a bad recipe... it's super fast, it's easy, it's light and airy, and it has a nice peach flavor. There are plenty of no-bake enthusiasts out there that would love this. I'm glad I gave it a shot... because hey as Alanis Morissette told me in the car yesterday, you live you learn. My name is Adam... and I vote baked cheesecake for president.Cinnamon Spice Peach Cheesecake – No Bake
Recipe by Adam

Crust:
2 cups finely ground granola
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup butter


Cheesecake:
2 – 8oz. packages lower fat cream cheese (or regular if you like)
2 – 6 oz. containers peach yogurt
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin mixed in 1/3 cup hot water
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cloves


Peach Topping:
2-3 peaches, peeled, sliced into ~1/8ths
½ cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
1 Tbsp butter


Preheat your oven to 350*, grease up a springform pan, I don’t know what size, I only have one.


In a small bowl, combine granola, sugar and cinnamon. Mix so that the granola is evenly coated and there are no super large pieces. Add in melted butter so it coats the granola evenly. Pour into the springform pan, pat down so it covers the pan completely, and bake in the oven for ~15 minutes, or until crisp brown looking. Cool completely.


Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, add all of the cheesecake ingredients minus the gelatin. Blend until smooth and uniform in color. Use a spatula to get at the sides and bottom on the blender. Heat the 1/3 cup of water until boiling in a microwave, and stir in gelatin until completely dissolved. Now with the blender running, add in the gelatin-water mixture slowly. Once the cheesecake mixture is well blended, pour over the granola crust.


Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or even over night so the gelatin sets.


To prepare the peach topping, place peaches, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and butter in a small saucepan. Turn on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until peaches soften up a bit. Cool slightly. Add peaches to the top of the cheesecake and enjoy. Serves 8-10.


Once again I just want to thank everyone for their support. I've only done this for a few weeks, but have met some really cool and funny people. Comments always put me in a good mood, and stop me from going all Incredible Hulk-ish. Happy Friday the 13th to all the superstitious cats out there.

Cooldown Cherry Coconut Crunch Parfait

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I like the heat. Once I graduate in about 6 months, I plan on moving down south, have some fun in the sun, and helping people the best I can. Some people love the snow, or the rain, or the four seasons. If you're one of those of people, that's cool, I totally dig that. I'm a little different though. My love affair with snow is over... and by love affair I mean getting my lunch money stolen everyday for 4-5 months out of the year. So this heat wave up in NY is something that I don't mind, and am actually happy for. The only thing that I miss now is AC. When you want to go to sleep at midnight and you're swimming like a toy boat in sweat, it's not awesome. So there is no way my oven is going on this week. This week is cool dessert week. So I bring you something cool and simple. If you think I'm cheating you a little, well just blame the heat on my brain. I'm a poor college kid. Send me AC money :)

I like parfaits because they take about 3 minutes to make, and are super versatile. Cherries were on sale, so I went with that. I'm sure any fruit you have will work, so just take your yogurt, fruit, and some crunch like granola and layer them. It's a nice texture combination, and the presentation gives out super style points. I feel like I could impress a girl with this (but there's probably no fooling some of you), which might be a great idea down the road. When you're hot and tired, give this summer treat a shot.

I don't know the exact measurements for the recipe, and sort of just layered things, so just use your best judgment. Remember, we just make stuff up here.
Cherry Coconut Crunch Parfait

1 cup low-fat, vanilla yogurt
1 cup cherries
½ cup granola
¼ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Take out a clean, small glass like a wine glass. Layer yogurt, cherries, granola, and coconut into the glass until you have between two and three layers each. Chill for a few minutes to combine the flavors, and enjoy.

Serves 1-2.

Oh and a word of advice, coconut and cherries go really well together. It might sound weird, but they are like a fun version of peas and carrots.

Bodybuiding Banana Bran Date Muffins

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Friday, June 06, 2008

Bodybuilding changes a person. By no means am I the ultimate resource or guide on the subject, but it is something I love and cannot imagine being without. Lifting weights is about as natural to me as breathing and eating. For those of you who have never done resistance training, I can compare it to baking and cooking. Do you know that feeling you get when you spent hours on something and it's finally finished? That sense of accomplishment and pride you feel? It's similar to that. I have spent onwards of 4 months counting calories and dieting, pushing each workout to my fullest, and on one special day I show it off to people and have a blast. It's not about vanity, it's about challenging yourself. It's amazing.

So how does this relate to food? Well a bodybuilders friend is fiber. It fills up your stomach, it contributes to satiety, and it is good for your health. Fiber binds to cholesterol and causes you to 'get rid' of it, when you use the restroom. A great source of fiber is bran, and another is bananas. So here is a fiber filled fest of muffin... Banana Bran Date Muffins.I was going to use the recipe on the side of the Kellogg's All Bran Cereal box, but it's no longer there. What the...? It is always there. I guess this is a good thing... because it forced me to make the recipe up all on my own. It was fun doing what we do here... making stuff up. These are exactly what you want in the summer... low fat, a little sweet, and tan.


Banana Bran Date Muffins

Recipe by Adam

1 ½ cups All Brain Cereal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of cloves
1 cup buttermilk
2 bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tbsp canola oil
Touch of honey
1/3 cup chopped dates

Preheat oven to 400*. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, oil, vanilla extract, bananas and All Bran Cereal, so that the cereal has some time to soften up. After a few minutes, add chopped dates and honey and mix with a wooden spoon so that everything is incorporated.

In a small bowl, add the whole wheat pastry flour, AP flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cloves and cinnamon. Mix evenly with a spoon or whisk.

Add the flour mixture to the wet cereal mixture, and with a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into batter gently and smoothly. Try not to over mix, its perfectly fine to have lumps and the batter look a bit thick and uneven. You might fold the mixture a total of 10 times.

Scoop heaping spoonfuls of batter into the muffin tin until all 12 are full to the top.

Place in the oven on the center rack and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean or the tops spring back. Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then onto a wire cooling.

And if you start getting stronger after eating these... nice.


Lemon Sugar Cookies and Strawberry Frosting

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Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Today I realized it's summer. Full blown summer. Grills are blazing, cars are AC-ing, and the sun comes up at 5am. It's awesome. I love the beach, the water, and just being outdoors. Do you ever feel like everyone is in a better mood time time of year? There's a greater sense of forgiveness and helping each other out. Care to give me a hand with this grand piano? Sure buddy, I don't mind, the sun is shining.

So onto summer time fruit and summer time goodness. I always think of strawberries as an early summer fruit, and sugar cookies are my favorite. So here is my version of a summer cookie, and it won't even totally kill your bathing suit aspirations. I cut a few corners here and there, and you'll miss them about as much as those last 5 pounds.


Lemon Sugar Cookies & Strawberry Frosting

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Makes about 2 dozen

For the Cookies:

¾ cup AP flour
½ cup cake flour
1 cup sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract


For the Frosting:

1 cup Frozen or Fresh Strawberries, mashed and drained
Splash of vanilla extract
1-2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375*, and place oven rack in the middle position. Get two ungreased cookie sheets ready.

In a medium bowl, measure and add the AP flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until evenly distributed.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, until pale yellow and fluffy. Add the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture in two batches, stirring well until a very soft, uniform, sticky dough forms.

Roll dough into small balls with your hands, about the size of a tablespoon, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Place in the oven and bake at 375* for 9-12 minutes. Do not over bake these or they will get really crunchy and crumbly. Cool in pans for a few minutes, and then cool completely on wire racks.

For the Frosting:

Place the strawberries in a fine strainer over a large bowl. Sprinkle the strawberries with sugar and mash them slightly. This will extract the juice from them. Let sit for 30 minutes. Once you have collected some juice, take a tablespoon or two and pour into a small bowl. Add the splash of vanilla extract, and slowly add the powdered sugar. Add sugar by heaping tablespoons and mix evenly. Keep adding more sugar until the mixture thinkens up, and you’ll be able to spread it onto the cookies. If it is too glazy or loose, just keep adding sugar slowly.