Tuesday, June 22, 2010

VANILLA CAKE with olive oil and maple syrup and low fat to boot!

WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO?


A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.
~James Beard

I have always been hungry. My mother tells of the time when she worriedly rushed me to the pediatrician’s office. Brand new baby, I was still at the tender age of liquid diet yet, as she exclaimed to the doctor “she sucks down bottle after bottle of milk and she cries for more! It isn’t normal! She just won’t stop eating!” He checked me and discovered that I was both normal and healthy and, with a kindly, reassuring smile on his face, merely said to her “Well, she must be hungry. It’s a little early but go ahead and add cereal to her bottles.” Apparently that did the trick. And it was downhill from there.

I have always loved to eat. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and more snacks, PopTarts or cereal, popcorn and cookies, shrimp cocktail or sandwiches of any and all imaginable combinations of ingredients, salads, vegetables, fruit, even school cafeteria lunches, airplane meals and pretty much anything that was placed in front of me, anything that I could grab. From the moment that I was old enough to serve myself, I had my head in the refrigerator looking for something to eat. I was a passionate, avid reader yet I was rarely to be found with a book in my hand if there wasn’t something to eat in the other. I really don’t think that I was hungry all the time, but rather I just wanted to, had to, was compelled to eat. All the time. How I ever got through all of those mornings and afternoons of school without eating is still a mystery to me.


And I am still an eater. Three square meals a day, my husband’s credo, has done much to tame me and has indeed helped me keep my body from ballooning into the Hindenburg (and spontaneously self-combusting). Three meals may be fine (and quite enough) for some but not for this lady. No, I am one of those who needs five meals during the day, peppered with snacks, although I must admit that as I must share three meals with my husband the other two meals take the form of a hearty snack, sometimes sweet, sometimes savory and often alone. I always have a small bag of emergency chocolates in my handbag and the first thing I pack for any car trip, whether an hour or a week, is the picnic basket full of snacks. But I will admit that I have cut down considerably. One is familiar with that old myth of the skinny Frenchwoman? Well, I understand. Her spouse, the Frenchman, adamantly sticks to his traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner and she, daintily smiling, carefully attentive and the perfect gentle mealtime companion, must join him for those long, layered meals. But contrary to popular myth, this ├ępouse – wife of a Frenchman – does not limit her meals to salad nor does she elegantly pick at her tiny portion, pushing it around her plate to give the appearance of eating, all the while counting the calories laid out in front of her. I love eating and although I try and be careful, eat well, healthy and in moderation, I never disdain a good steak tartare with a side of frites, anything in sauce or, well, seconds. But yes, I will admit, that eating alongside my husband has made me a tad less hungry between those meals and somewhat able to control myself the rest of the day.

But his – and following in his footsteps, his sons’ - response to the offer of dessert or a snack is “No, thanks, I’m not hungry.” Hungry? Hungry? Since when does hungry have anything to do with it? A slice of cake, a dish of ice cream, a plate of cookies or something small and creamy is the sweet punctuation at the end of a meal, a soothing, comforting pause in the middle of the afternoon, a reinforcement, a boost of energy halfway between breakfast and lunch. And if it isn’t formally served on a tiny plate with fork or spoon, then I wander into the kitchen each time I pass through the house, swing by the cake plate, the cookie tin and nibble. A sliver here, a mouthful there, it makes me happy and helps me through the day.


Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.
~Voltaire

Now, I don’t have to remind you that summer is here and vacation is on its way. The suitcases are open on the bedroom floor, the airplane tickets are stacked in a neat little pile underneath the passports, Marty is signed up for camp and that swimsuit of mine is staring at me, mocking me, laughing, shaking an imaginary finger! Oh, I had planned on being a bit more careful this last month before our Florida holiday in that lazy beachside town. But how to keep the hand out of the candy drawer? Or keep from baking?


Well, I have one recipe that may help. 0% fat fromage frais (quark) plays a large part in my desserts. I make my fabulous, creamy, tangy lemon tart with this fat free substitute for cream, and any cake that calls for sour cream or Greek yogurt usually finds itself filling up on the fat free version. I have made a delicious fat-free fruity faux Tiramisu and we’ve enjoyed a fat-free quark mousse. But when we crave cake or when we need something dense and good for breakfast, I turn to this recipe. Made without either, butter, eggs or milk, it gets its goodness and warmth from olive oil and maple syrup. It is extremely easy to put together and just as easy to eat: dense and moist, flavorful enough to eat on its own with a cup of coffee for breakfast or a quick snack, simple enough to be the perfect foil for fresh fruit or fruit coulis (if watching our weight and getting ready for swimsuit season) or ice cream, pudding, or any kind of rich, creamy sauce you like.

It’s even perfect for those husbands (ahem) on low cholesterol diets.


This recipe is featured on the website Maple Syrup World! Visit this site for information on maple syrup as well as great recipes!

VANILLA CAKE with olive oil and maple syrup
From Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil or melted unsalted butter
2 tsps cider vinegar
1 Tbs vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly oil a 9-inch (22/23-cm) cake pan and dust with flour.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk or stir together the two flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together the maple syrup, water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.

Now it is simply a question of pouring the wet ingredients into the dry and blending well either with a whisk or a wooden spoon although I prefer using a whisk. The best method for doing this so you don’t end up with stuff splattered all over your countertop and so you end up with smooth, lump-free batter is to make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour about a quarter or a third of the liquid ingredients into the well. With small, brisk circular movements whisk with just enough of the dry until you have a thick, smooth, lump-free batter, almost a paste, in the center. Add some more of the liquid, pull in a bit more of the dry, and briskly whisk again until, aha! your batter is smooth. Continue until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into your (now) lump-free batter, add any remaining liquid ingredients and give it a go.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the cake is set in the center and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If the cake is undercooked it tends to be more pasty than moist.

Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before turning it out of the pan and letting it cool on a cooling rack.


39 comments:

Elle said...

This looks lovely! Especially with all of that maple syrup in there--you just can't go wrong. Lovely!

James said...

This is perfect for me! I'm one of those freaks who takes the icing OFF of my cake...even as a kid! And vanilla...is there anything better besides chocolate???

Lu said...

nice recipe - I love maple syrup so I'm beting I'd like this too

sasasunakku said...

I'm an eater too - if I don't I get hangry - hungry from angry, not pretty. Do you get that too? I even have a support page for hangrrr sufferers on my blog, hehe.
Your cake is gorgeous, quark is great for moistening cakes, I use it often too.

BribedwithFood said...

I am making me some of this tout de suite.
Wonderful and mouthwatering recipe (as always)

Heavenly Housewife said...

I am a huge fan of olive oil cakes, the oil gives them the most beautiful soft texture. I specifically look for those types of cakes when I'm looking to bake something new.

elra said...

Nothing beat the simplicity of vanilla cake, because you can always dress it up a bit using fresh and delicious berries.

doggybloggy said...

oh my got - soft porn WITH cake - I have died and gone to heaven - and heaven has vanilla cake, my favorite!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I am like you, always hungry and always ready to eat dessert!

That fluffy and moist cake looks wonderful!

Cheers,

Rosa

DebbieK said...

Yummy Jamie...anything topped with fresh raspberries could only be stupendous :)

debug said...

Ahhh lovely low-fat cake...well done jamie...

maple syrup said...

Delicious, maple syrup, convenient and doesn't look like it is too bad for you either.

Marcellina said...

I with you, who needs to be hungry to eat dessert. This is definately a recipe for us!

Half Baked said...

I'm an eater too! No problem til I reached a certain age and suddenly super metabolism just stopped...so unfair! I love the looks of this cake and it has the added benefit of being low-fat! yeah I can have my cake and eat it too:)

shaz said...

Jamie, I have seen your pics from the FBC10 and I know that you do not look anything nearing a blimp! You look absolutely gorgeous and so does this cake :)

Calories? What's that?

delicieux said...

This cake looks so delicious. I love that it's low fat too.

Heather Davis said...

Jamie this looks great. I love The story aspect of this post. It felt very real! Unfortunately my husband is incredibly skinny and always has been. He can eat anything. So can the kids. It's so annoying! This cake looks like a good alternative. Will definitely give it a go. BTW you have a gorgeous figure woman!

lisaiscooking said...

I think I could snack all day if it weren't for fitting into my clothes! This is a lovely and virtuous cake. Perfect with summer berries.

Deeba PAB said...

This is right up my street Jamie girl, and you are quite like my kids & hub... always hungry! Music the the ears for foodies like us ... nom nom nom!

Cecilia said...

Jamie--I love that this recipe uses olive oil! I'm definitely giving this a try. My swimsuit is also looking at me, telling me to stop using that tub of mascarpone in my fridge. The idea of using quark in lieu of high fat cheeses is great. Will pick up some quark at the farmer's market this Sunday.

Mowie @ Mowielicious said...

Great post Jamie. And I'm a huge fan of olive oil in cakes!

hocolatecoatedrunner said...

I've always loved to eat too! In middle schoo, I loved getting poptarts for lunch everyday LOL. Now im totally into health...and would probably invent healthy poptarts lol

SkeeterNYC said...

Enjoyed finding your blog! I'm such a sucker for anything with olive oil! So nice to meet you and root on USA from afar... Cheers!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe so true, I was never one of those babies that ever needed help feeding. I bought a croissant and a pastry recently and a friend said "You're hungry!" and I looked at her and said "Hunger has nothing to do with it" and pointed to the luscious looking pastry! :P What a gorgeous looking cake and I happen to have alot of olive oil here too! :)

asiangrrl said...

That looks fabulous, Jamie. I must shake a finger at you, though, because you have a lovely figure. You are way too hard on yourself.

English Mum said...

Ooh that looks gorgeous! Am off to look at the lemon tart right this minute too x

tasteofbeirut said...

Wonderful recipe to try out; always ready for a lowfat alternative; love that photo, it is so natural and funny!

fabiola said...

This looks very tasteful and light. I never used olive oil in my cakes but I guess the time has come to try it. My husband will certainly love it!

gastroanthropologist said...

I'm always hungry too. Never leave without something in purse because just incase you never know when something might happen and you can't get some food. I was the girl who packed a lunch for work (when I had a desk job in advertising) and finished by 10AM, only to have to go out for a second lunch at noon.

Maple syrup sounds so good with a vanilla cake!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

My husband definitely eats less than me and I know I would be slimmer if I matched his intake. Oh well.

Lovely looking photo of your cake - you are using your wonderful lights for that aren't you? I realllllly want some of those, maybe I'll get them for my birthday...

ABowlOfMush said...

I love to eat too!!

Looks delicious and healthy!!

Aparna said...

I love food too, but unfortunately the square meals (and my blog now) have done their bit in making a bit round! Don't enjoy your metabolism, I think. :)

Love the cake, btw.

sarah said...

Thanks for posting this. I am always on the lookout for healthy dessert ideas (like the maple and quinoa cookies--they sound bizarre but are actually delicious). Now that I eat more healthily in general I find that the healthy desserts actually taste better to me, too. I think my tastebuds are adapting! I haven't made a cake with olive oil before, so thanks. :-)

sarah said...

PS. Can you imagine doing press ups in your heels? Heehee!

Jamie said...

@Sarah - Ha Ha Ha Ha!

Sophie said...

I never used olive oil in a cake but i use a lot sunflour oiul or canola oil!

Your cake looks so special to me!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

As soon as I'm back to regular eating :-), I'll have to make this!!!!!!!!! It looks yummy...and I love maple syrup in bakes!

Robert said...

great recipe - I work hard to find and publish similar maple syrup recipes at maplesyrupsource.com

Anonymous said...

I just made this. Added cinnamon and coconut flakes as well. It is so delicious. Would make a great base for banana nut muffins too. I can't have gluten or sugar in my diet right now so this has been my first dessert in 2 months. I'm so happy to find something sweet and yummy that fits with my diet. And my family, who is not on a restricted diet, will love it too. Thanks!

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