I know, I know. Autumn is officially here, and every other blog’s talking about pumpkins and apples, and here I am with last season’s produce. But honestly, can you blame me? I’ve baked this bread more than a month ago, but have not stopped thinking about it since. That is, until I baked a spelt carrot-apple cake a couple of days ago, which, by the bye, totally won me over with its sweet nutty flavour and super moist texture;- ah, but that’s another post for another day.
Now, back to this quickbread.
It was my first zucchini bake; a trial batch if you may call it that, for I had read about the moistness this unassuming green vegetable lends to its bakes. I had my eyes on baking a zucchini-infused chocolate cake or brownies initially, following my prior success of adding green stuff into chocolatey treats, but decided to test the waters with something safer and healthier I could enjoy with lil A. (Not to worry though, chocolate zucchini muffins did happen later.)
So, how did this fare?
They say a picture paints a thousand words, but when nothing you do can possibly make it any easier to take a perfect picture of a wonderfully moist, yet non-camera-friendly dark-hued chocolate loaf cake, I guess you will have to type out the thousand words yourself. Now I know these aren’t exactly picture perfect, and it’s possibly against some food blogger ethics to post entries with unabashedly unappealing photos, but trust me when I say my search has come to an end with this, and it is my moral obligation to share a darn good cake, albeit virtually. With a tight crumb, a deep chocolate flavour enhanced with bursts of sweetness from the chocolate chips, and a rich and moist texture which becomes pronounced overnight, it would be almost impossible to guess that the secret ingredient here is avocado. That’s right; no butter, no eggs, no yoghurt, no buttermilk, but just simply mushy riped avocado.
The original recipe is very much like a wacky cake / crazy cake / depression cake (aside: if you don’t already know what I’m referring to, do your time-constrained baker self a favour and google this quick chocolate cake fix), which makes it a perfect vegan cake, but since I’m not a fan of vinegar in bakes, I decided to play around with the proportions instead, increasing the fat ratio. And if you’re still feeling kinda iffy about the whole avocado thing, let me assure you that you can’t taste it even a little. And just to convince you further, even the mister who doesn’t eat avocado / oats / ‘any of those funny healthy things you eat’, couldn’t resist enjoying a couple of slices (and even sighed when they were gone!). Now if that’s not a good cake, I don’t know what is.
Barely five years ago, whilst finding myself elbows deep in mixer rumblings, greasy butter and flying flour, traipsing alone in the kitchen in the dark of the night working on orders, a thought that would constantly fill my head was the day when, God willing, I will have someone to bake for. A little someone, to be precise. That the day will come when all this practice of working on adorable cartoon-themed, rainbow-coloured sweet treats topped with hand-moulded sugary figurines will come in handy for my own little one. The day I will get to see the tiny-toothed smile, cheeky grins my clients had always told me of; only this time, it will be the best gift to myself, to see my own child enjoy my work.
Fast forward four years later, whilst finding myself pinned down on the stomach by a determined one-year-old trying to snatch my glasses by the bedside, yanking my hair and nose in the wee hours of the morning, a thought that plays in my head is that the day has come, all praises to God, when I have my own little someone to bake for. And as fate would have decreed it, those years of practice did not exactly come to play the way I had imagined it to be ever since I donned the mommy badge. With my oven dead and replacement plans on halt till our new place comes along, and with the realisation that I am not exactly comfortable with loading my child with refined sugars, food colourings and dirty dozens, baking for my little A comes with a twist; from the airfryer, and with no added (refined) sugar, and no egg and dairy (under one year old). And with every baking day, I get to see that tiny-toothed smile, cheeky grin, and excited hand-flapping action accompanying “Mmmm!”, and deep inside, I know that I have given her the best gift I can, a healthier (yet still fluffy and delicious) version of one of my favourite baked goods.
It is that time of the year when I rummage through my pantry (and book shelf, don’t judge) for long-forgotten and / or long-purchased-but-never-used baking ware and items. After all, it is only natural that certain baking tools get less attention than others, seeing its novelty and perhaps just the lack of occasions requiring you to whip out your blowtorch or your much-adored Elmo baking pan. And I reckon it is also only inevitable that you enter a new store, not expecting to purchase much, but end up leaving with some irresistible offers on items you may not need, but have always had on your wishlist. Right?
Case in point here would be the Nordic bundt pan I got on offer at ToTT many months ago, wrapped neatly and tucked into the depths of my bookshelf. For a small household not big on cakes, I did wonder (perhaps just for a moment) whether such a large bundt pan would be fully utilised, but after having had baked this beautiful and moist German apple bundt cake, there will no longer be any room for regret of purchase, even if it means baking this recipe over and over again.
I am well aware that it has been slightly over a month since my last post, and thanks to the kind thoughts and concern by some of my readers and blog friends who dropped me a note (you know you are), I reckon a slight nudge was all it took to get me off my rear and resume sharing my bakes. You could call it a long writer-cum-baker’s block of sorts, I guess. Anyway, adhering to the mantra ‘better late than never’, here’s wishing all my Muslim readers a blessed and joyous month of Ramadhan! It has already been well into the second week of the holy fasting month now here in Singapore, and if my Twitter timeline is anything to go by, it seems that more people are keen on baking their own sweet treats for Eid, and have already begun their own oven experiments.
It appears to be the most opportune time then to kickstart this year’s edition of Ramadhan Baking, where I share some of my own ‘Eid-bakes’ experiments, as well as household favourites.
‘Do you really have to turn everything into chocolate?’;– well, as a matter of fact, I don’t, but for all intents and purposes, I absolutely find it much too difficult to resist not to. Not that I had ever tried hard enough, I must accede. And having had worked on quite a bit of brownie orders over the past week (and not having any leftovers) certainly didn’t help with the chocolate craving, though it probably explains my bake-anything-chocolate-but-brownies specification. I wanted something with a deep chocolate flavour, yet light, and not overwhelmed by copious amount of chocolate filling or frosting. Most importantly, I wanted it fast.
And thus, my nifty and tiny 2-dollar madeleine pans (which I had purchased long ago, and completely forgotten about) came to the rescue that afternoon. Along with a recipe I had bookmarked even way before the madeleine pans came into the picture. Enthusiastic, yes?
It has always been said, and is a proven fact, I do believe, that you are the company you keep, possibly pivoting on the simple notion of attracting people of similar energy as to that which you project into the universe. Now, if the Law of Attraction is anything to go by, then I must surely have had sent out chocoholic vibes incessantly, because ever since I posted the left photo from the above diptych into my little Twitter universe, numerous chocoholics (loud-and-proud and closet ones alike) openly declared their support and pledged allegiance towards the same cocoa cause. Whilst I may be far from the journey to converting my household to like chocolate, let alone embrace chocolate addiction;– to be perfectly honest, I don’t even know why I bother, since it just spells a greater share for me;– it is most certainly reassuring to know I’m not the only one with a penchant for this dark beauty.
And since I pretty much decided to bake my own birthday cake this year, there was no doubt in my mind that it had to be somewhere along the lines of chocolate on chocolate with chocolate, plus more chocolate. Continue reading