Hooray for the Half! Angels vs. Devils (cakes, not kids)

From Lisa Barnes

When you ask a child under 10 years old their age, you’re bound to hear a fraction in the answer. “I’m 5… and a half” says my son. Of course the “half” is said louder than the rest of the answer. A friend of his says “Well I’m 5 and a quarter”. My kids both get their halves in January. In order to celebrate this momentous occasion, we make a half dessert. It could be half a cake (to be shared by the family) or each person gets half a muffin or cupcake.

We even cut the candle in half. So you still get a wish, it’s just a stubby one. And we sing “Happy Half Birthday to You…” There are no fancy gifts (isn’t the title enough?), but I like to give a pair of socks or shoes (just wrapping one).

My daughter is a vanilla lover while my son goes for chocolate (like, Mom, the darker the better). I’ve shared a few cupcake recipes (carrot cupcakes, better brownie cupcake) which work well cut in half. Here’s also an angel food and devil’s food recipe, so you can see who wins out in your house.
Happy Half!

Angel Food Cake

This is a yummy, light, and airy cake for celebrating just about anything. It is a lighter alternative to chocolate cakes with heavy frosting. The fun part for kids and adults is letting them choose their own toppings and décor for their piece. Set out fresh raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries; whip up some cream; and maybe have some chocolate sauce for a truly decadent treat. Let children create their own special pieces.

Makes 12 servings

1 cup organic cake flour, sifted
1 1/3 cups evaporated cane juice
12 large cage-free organic egg whites, at room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan.

Mix cake flour and sugar together in a bowl. Beat egg whites and the cream of tartar with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks are formed, about 5 minutes. Sift one-third of the flour mixture into the egg whites and gently fold in. Repeat by sifting another one-third of flour and finally the last one-third until all combined. Fold in salt, vanilla, and almond extract until combined.

Pour or spoon batter into prepared pan. It will fill the pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until top is golden brown and batter does not shake. Remove pan from oven and completely cool in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour. When cool, place plate over top of pan and carefully turn over. If cake does not come out, slide a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen cake.

Little Devil’s Cake

This is not a true devil’s food cake because it does not contain melted chocolate in addition to cocoa. However your little devil will be happy to indulge in this tasty cake. The drizzle of frosting is especially pretty and lends moisture to the cake.

Makes 1 (8-inch-round) cake; 8 servings

5 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted
½ cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup organic applesauce
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 large cage-free organic eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unbleached organic all-purpose flour
¼ cup hot water

Icing

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic milk, plus additional if needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch-round cake pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together butter and cocoa. Stir in applesauce and brown sugar until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating to combine. Stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt.

Gradually add flour to cocoa mixture, stirring just until blended but do not over mix. Stir in hot water, just until blended.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Gently turn out cake and cool completely on wire rack before icing.

To make icing: Combine all icing ingredients in a small bowl. Using a fork, drizzle icing over cake. To serve, cut into 8 wedges.

Disappearing Icing. We made this for my son’s half birthday. The next day my son wanted a piece and noticed the icing was gone. He wondered what happened. I explained it was magic and that it just sunk into the cake. He asked, “If I say abracadabra will it reappear?”
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See also Lisa’s She Takes The Cake (with Organic Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe For Kids)
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Lisa Barnes
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com

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Kid’s Cupcakes – “The Best Ever” (Organic Recipe)

From Lisa Barnes

So last year’s cupcake trials for my son’s birthday did not come out great, as you can read. However I was determined to make him proud this year with a yummy recipe since once again he wanted cupcakes. His sister just had a yummy cake a few weeks prior, so the pressure was on. This year I was ready as I’ve been testing them for client requests and my next book.

This recipe was very well received at home, as my husband and son said “these are the best ever!” But they were also a hit at my son’s preschool. We even turned the cupcake celebration into an activity for the kids. I made the cupcakes and brought in fresh whipped cream, blueberries, strawberries and sprinkles for the children to frost and decorate their own. We had a great time. Of course I did not anticipate the use, make that overuse of sprinkles. I only brought one color but the teacher had a few left-over from Valentine’s. As you can see by the picture above, they all have personality and are unique masterpieces – like the children themselves.

Better Brownie Cupcakes

I call these cupcakes “better” because they are better for you than the usual chocolate cupcakes found at the grocer or bakery. And children (or adults) won’t believe these are wheat-free. Who knew potato flour, brown rice flour, and oat bran could make such a yummy brownie dessert? As my husband says “It still has chocolate in it. Anything tastes good with chocolate.” These are great for packing and sharing as they do not need any frosting so are less messy and easy to tote.

Makes 9 standard-size cupcakes or 18 mini cupcakes (can be doubled)

6 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
4 ounces (1/2 cup) organic semisweet chocolate, chips or chopped
½ cup evaporated cane juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large cage-free organic eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons potato flour
¼ cup oat bran

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard muffin cups or 18 mini muffin cups with paper liners.

In a double broiler or microwave, melt butter and chocolate together until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and let cool.

Stir evaporated cane juice, salt, eggs, and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Mix well then stir in rice flour, potato flour, and bran. Scoop by tablespoonful into muffin cups (about ¼ cup for standard muffins and 2 tablespoons for mini).

Bake for 18 minutes for standard muffins and 12 minutes for mini, until puffed but gooey in center. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in the refrigerator for fudge-like texture.
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See also Greg’s Recipes For Kids – Organic Whole Wheat Bread and Chocolate Cookies
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, and Williams-Sonoma: Cooking For Baby, and lives in Sausalito, California.
Images Credit: Lisa Barnes
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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She Takes The Cake (with Organic Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe For Kids)

From Lisa Barnes

So if you read my blog this time last year you’ll be reminded that both my children’s birthdays are in July. Last year was the quest for the perfect cupcake. I had some success and some failures. This year as it approached my daughter’s birthday I asked her what she wanted to choose for her special dinner. She said Thai food. Yes, she is quite decisive and specific for a newly turned two year old. We made plans to go to a new favorite Thai Restaurant without any problems.

Then I asked about the dessert (or as she pronounces “dirt”). I was kind of cringing at the cupcake request, but I lucked out and she said chocolate cake. My husband was happy too as he quickly said how about the flourless chocolate cake. This is such a quick and easy (yet very rich) cake. The recipe is from Gourmet Everyday. I felt a bit guilty since it would not have frosting (just too over the top) so I decorated with powdered sugar. Instead of a simple dusting or using a pre-made stencil, I thought of a way the kids could help. Remember making snowflakes out of paper? I folded a piece of wax paper (careful not to crease) and my son and I used the scissors to cut shapes. When we unfolded it we placed our own snowflake stencil on top and sprinkled the confectioner’s sugar over the cuts. Voila!

My daughter didn’t really notice the decoration. She liked seeing the candle and loved eating the cake.

4 oz. fine quality bittersweet chocolate (I use at least 65% cacao), chopped into pieces
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted organic butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large cage free organic eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.

Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler (or microwave) and stir until smooth. Whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Whisk in eggs. Sift cocoa powder over chocolate and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in middle of oven for 25 minutes or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.

To serve, dust with powdered sugar as explained above or sprinkle with cocoa. Goes great with a scoop of  vanilla ice cream.
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See also Lisa’s Easy, Creative Organic Dips For Kids Recipes
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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