1.12.15   Leave a comment

1. Our son playing well while we met with a realtor
2. My daughter talking throughout my son’s dentist appointment
3. Our son wanting to show our neighbor “Giggle Go”


Posted January 15, 2015 by Baking BLA in Uncategorized

Sourdough creations   Leave a comment

This is a selection of my first sourdough recipes. Last fall I decided that I wanted to try creating my own sourdough starter. So I did a Google search and landed at the King Arthur website with instructions on how to get one going. I followed the instructions to the letter but couldn’t bring myself to actually discard my “discard” starter each time I refreshed it. So I began looking for ways to use that as well, which brought me to pizza crust, pretzels, crackers and more. What a fun experiment to explore! At the same time, my in-laws were with us for an extended visit so I had extra tasters to help me sample and savor the creations.



Kale pesto braid


Everything crackers


Spelt bread




Tahini bread



Multi-grain starter bread



Tahini crown with black onion seeds (my own creation)

Posted February 17, 2014 by Baking BLA in Sourdough

Sweet, sweet sourdough   2 comments

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Nearly two months ago I decided I should try my hand at creating my own sourdough starter. I tried to do it several years ago and got absolutely no where. I’m no expert but it’s pretty easy to figure out I did not dedicate enough time to nurturing my bag of flour and water; and my preference for keeping the house cool (60-65F if I get my way) didn’t do me any favors either. This time, it worked!

I was raised in a house where the only option was to have a clean plate before leaving the kitchen table. We were enticed with delicious desserts and large dishes of ice cream once we cleaned our plates, so no matter how much I was disgusted by the cold bites of shoe leather steak I had been served, I managed to finish my dinner and relish the sweet reward. Despite the garbage we generated each week, which of course was picked over by my dad before he brought it to the alley, we were taught the ageless adage “waste not, want not.” So when my sourdough starter recipe told me to discard part of my start twice a day, I reflexively looked for ways to use my “discard.” Before I knew it, everything I baked was sourdough something or other. I’ve made various recipes of sandwich bread, quick bread, muffins, English muffins, pretzels, cookies, scones, crackers, coffee cake, pizza crust, pumpkin-maple cake, sweet bread and now chocolate cake. This one is rich!

I often scan recipe names, their ingredients and preparation without paying much attention to the reviews. My intent is to follow the original recipe and decide for myself if it needs tweaking. Luckily I read a couple of the reviews on this one and decided ahead of time that I would only make half of the frosting they recommend. I am not a big frosting person and was tempted to skip it altogether but my husband voted for the frosting. So I gave in, at least our son could help make it without me worrying about him ingesting raw eggs. As it turned out, I am very glad I only made half the frosting, the cake was still drowning in icing and was incredibly sweet. Be sure to have a coffee chaser ready!

Here’s the link to King Arthur’s Chocolate Cake recipe. I made a few changes and used the following recipe:


Icing (half recipe)

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 Tblp butter
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1/2 tablespoon hot water


  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

1) Combine the “fed” starter, milk, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. It won’t necessarily bubble, but it may have expanded a bit.

2) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.

3) In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa. and espresso powder. The mixture will be grainy.

4) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5) Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter-flour-milk mixture, stirring till smooth. This will be a gloppy process at first, but the batter will smooth out as you continue to beat gently.

6) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

7) Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

8) Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool while you make the icing.

9) Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large mixing bowl, and set it aside.

10) In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water, add to the pan, and bring the mixture just to a boil.

11) Immediately pour the simmering liquid over the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl, and beat till smooth.

12) Pour the warm frosting over the cake. If you wait too long and the frosting stiffens up, spread it over the cake.

13) Combine the chocolate chips, milk, and agave nectar in a heat proof bowl over simmering water, or in a double boiler.

14) Drizzle/drip the chocolate over the icing. You can do this while the icing is still warm, or wait till it’s cooled.

When Life Gives You Bananas   Leave a comment

While others prepare for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene by stocking up on water (and booze) I put my oven and stock of ripe bananas to use. I found the recipe on Food.com check it out for yourself. As you can see, I opted for a bundt cake with a middle streusel layer instead of the 13 x 9 pan, so it required a longer baking time. Enjoy!

Posted August 27, 2011 by Baking BLA in Uncategorized

Coucous Cakes   Leave a comment

Couscous Cakes by Giada
Food Network


  • 2 cups cooked couscous, prepared according to package instructions and cooled
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mild mango chutney


In a medium bowl, mix together the couscous, cilantro, egg, egg yolk, coriander, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Mix until combined.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Form 1/4 cupfuls of the mixture into 8 patties. Add 4 of the patties to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side until golden. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining couscous mixture.

Serve the couscous cakes with mango chutney.

I didn’t have any mango chutney so I served them on a bed of pomegranate seeds with a dollop of yogurt.


Posted December 5, 2010 by Baking BLA in stove top

Pomegranate Pound Cake   Leave a comment

November 28, 2010
from Cooking Light
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1 large)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat sugar and butter at medium-high speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, lime zest, vanilla, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in pomegranate seeds.

Spoon batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Posted November 28, 2010 by Baking BLA in baking

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Ricotta Cake   Leave a comment

November 21, 2010


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan. Prepare the cake according to the directions on the package.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Drop by spoonfuls on top of uncooked cake.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Sprinkle cooled cake with confectioners sugar. Keep refrigerated.


Posted November 28, 2010 by Baking BLA in baking

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