12 April, 2013

Baking Inspiration: Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes

It's cold and rainy. There's also some ice pellets. Small piles of snow linger on the ground.  Must be... April in Toronto.

So I want to try my hand at living more frugally.  We have a trip to Paris to save for!  You know, goals like preparing baked goods at home instead of donating to my local hipster cafe's pension fund, or accumulating recipes with ingredients that freeze well, or trying the envelope system instead of the debit/credit card system for daily purchases. Whaaat? Where'd all the cash go?

Also on the list: exclusively using the library for reading urges (but I just signed up for Indigo's Plum Rewards card!), using a budget (that sounds really familiar), and reviving the piggy bank for toonies and loonies.  There's other lists too...

Make my own clothing/make my current clothing feel new by adding fun embellishments that may or may not be good ideas, or remembering to be thankful for literally pounds of personal belongings we house in our very cozy flat when others in the world go without both homes and belongings.  Really people, this last trick reminds me of how blessed-by-the-universe my life is each day.  Suddenly I feel very rich.

Back in the kitchen, I figured I had an hour and a half to pump out something baked and good before an appointment downtown.  I knew I wanted to use ripe bananas and dark chocolate.  To the archive of  Deb's blog I went first, cross-referenced with my treasured Joy cookbook just because.  What did I come up with?

May I present the concoction Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes.  Yogurt cakes are common in Paris, need I say more?  I rejigged the recipe to make it my own - I like things only the tiniest bit sweet, I added banana and omitted almond extract.

These little cakes are the perfect purse companion for a lady on the go.

I couldn't find a muffin tin so I had to use my mini-loaf pan (which I bought a few years ago to make a version of Leslie Stowe's incredible savoury crackers). Could I be a proper lady with cake in her purse that resembled a small loaf of chocolate bread?  Why yes!  But perhaps mini-muffins would be ideal so you don't feel like you're stuffing your face in public like I did on the streetcar. Whatever size you make these you will still stuff your face, so stop thinking about it and just bake.

Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
(based on this recipe from SK)

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt (room temp) - alternates: sour cream, creme fraiche, ricotta
3 eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract - alternate: almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
2 ripe bananas - alternate: applesauce
a few tbsp cane sugar - alternate: up to 1 cup if you want them sweeter
pinch of coarse salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease the tins. Melt the chocolate with half the oil in a heat proof bowl over simmering water.

In a medium bowl mash the bananas, add the eggs, half the oil, vanilla, and sugar.

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well and add the banana mixture.  Stir until just mixed.  Now add the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.  Pour into the tins and place in the hot oven for about 25 minutes, or until a chopstick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack.  Store half the batch in the freezer for up to 3 weeks - eat the rest today, tomorrow, and the next day.