Archive | March, 2012

Granola Pomegranate Cakes AND Macaroon Cakes

11 Mar

I was going to start by saying, “I’m back, and your long national nightmare is over!” But we saw Game Change last night, and it’s clear that we actually avoided our real national nightmare almost four years ago now. Lack of cakes is nothing in comparison.

And we have been griddling around here, just not updating. Blame it on a busy schedule these last few weeks. Instead of two separate posts, I’m just using this one to clear the cakes backlog. Rest assured, quieter weekends are on the horizon, and normalcy may yet return. I know you have been incredibly worried about it.

We start with the most, er, interesting cakes I’ve done to date. I love coconut, and always wanted to work it into a cakes day. I didn’t want to just settle with sprinkling it as a topping, though—I had to go big, which is sometimes a problem for me. (As if committing to a year of cakes because of one day realizing how much I love them wasn’t proof enough of my problem with going big.) It helped that I was flying solo with these suckers. Neither the boy nor my wife like coconut, so the shackles were off—I had only myself to disappoint, which made it ripe for experimentation. What I really wanted to do was approximate a macaroon as best I could, with all its gooey, coconutty madness.

It worked…ish. I can’t say I loved these guys like I had hoped I might. I liked them a good great deal, but nothing more. Really, they kind of just made me want a real macaroon. It was like needing a coffee and then satisfying the urge with the best Folgers available—not quite truck stop coffee, but not exactly good. Similarly, you could say the cakes weren’t exactly Peeps, but not exactly a good macaroon. You get the idea.

If there is anything instructive about this months-long cakes adventure so far, it has been that trying to make a pancake version of some other favorite food seems to always end with a certain measure of disappointment (Exhibit A: Red Velvet Cakes).

The second recipe, however (which actually appears first below) was derivative of nothing, and was amazing—a granola/pomegranate concoction that made our day. These SOBs were stupid good. Like, get your workout in early and have a second (and maybe third) helping good. Nothing fancy, just damn fine, and pretty healthy to boot. One thing I would say is not to expect any crunch from the granola used. If you want that, you’d probably better just sprinkle it on each cake individually once they’re on the griddle, thus lessening their time soaking in the batter. And even then it’ll be difficult to avoid the sog completely. I didn’t mind, though—the big granola clusters remained intact, so it brought something to the table that simple oatmeal would have lacked.

And I would also say don’t be shy with the pomegranate seeds. I loaded ours up, but even then I wanted more. The use of wheat can lend itself to some dryness, and the little bursts of awesomeness from the seeds is a welcome counterbalance. Get reckless.

Cakes ahoy!

Pants: Yes for both. Still working on the whole role model thing.

Planning: For the macaroon cakes, it was mostly a matter of adapting a cookie recipe for the cakes. Not as easy as it might be with other cookie recipes, as macaroons themselves are already a bit odd. I can’t say for sure if more diligent planning would have yielded better results. I don’t feel too compelled to try, really.

Gathering: Nothing extraordinary, though finding coconut that is not just glorified candy can be a bit challenging.

Execution: For both, it was only a matter of consistency. The macaroons cakes had to be stirred frequently, including between batches on the griddle, as the ingredients separated quickly. For the others, some extra splashes of milk were needed to thin the batter. Neither task was onerous.

Results: Good-ish, and excellent, as noted above.

Crossover Potential: For once, there really is none I can think of beyond different kinds of granola, and different toppings for both, the latter being a universal variable for any pancake experience, reall

The too-small stack

The too-small stack

The Granola Pomegranate Cakes recipe:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (organic)
  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey (organic)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 large egg, beaten (cage-free)
  • 1 single-serving container of vanilla yogurt (Kalona Super Natural)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Additional whole milk (organic) in splashes until batter reaches desired consistency
  • 3/4 cup granola (or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (or to taste)
  • Organic nonstick spray (no butter again!)
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees, or engage warmer drawer
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dries
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and combine
  4. Add wets to dries, very gently folding just until combined–lumps are okay
  5. Preheat your griddle to about 350 degrees and coat surface with nonstick spray
  6. Ladle batter onto griddle using a 1/3 measuring cup, thinning as best you can while you do, flipping after about 2-3 minutes
  7. Keep completed cakes warm in the oven while you prepare the rest
Note: I topped with real Vermont maple syrup, courtesy of my mom–score!

The Macaroon Cakes recipe:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar (organic, pure-cane)
  • 1/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (cage-free)
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees, or engage warmer drawer
  2. Nothing fancy–put all in a bowl and whisk together
  3. Preheat your griddle to about 325 degrees and coat surface with nonstick spray
  4. Ladle batter onto griddle using a 1/3 measuring cup, thinning as best you can; these cook quickly, so be vigilant (1-2 minutes per side, probably)
  5. Keep completed cakes warm in the oven while you prepare the rest

Note: I topped these with maple syrup, and the combo worked well