You may have guessed from reading this blog that I bake a lot. I wonder if you have any idea how much I actually bake. Let’s just say that I buy two dozen eggs at the supermarket every week. While some of those eggs go into JR’s breakfast — he eats scrambled eggs with cheese several times a week, which is the privilege of the under-six set — many of those eggs end up in some sort of baked treat. I make bread in my bread machine at least twice a week. I bake some sort of quick bread or cake every Sunday for Zuzu to take to school for her morning snack. And at least once a week, JR and I decide to spend our morning baking together. He’s become quite the assistant pastry chef. He measures ingredients, mans the Kitchen-Aid mixer, cuts out cookies, brushes on egg wash and sprinkles on decorations with aplomb.
I really like my baked goods to be something that is sweet enough to be a dessert but not so sweet that it can’t stand in as breakfast or an after-school snack. So, while I do make cookies and brownies on special occasions, my everyday desserts are things like banana bread or yogurt cake, that have some nutritional value and are versatile. It can be hard, however, to convince a kid that the banana bread she ate for breakfast that morning is also a satisfactory after-dinner dessert. To make it seem more like a dessert, you have to dress it up a little.
We all know that kids love things that seem fancy. (Zuzu thinks an Edible Arrangement is the height of elegance and good taste for Pete’s sake.) If you put anything on a pretty plate or parfait glass, top it with COOL WHIP whipped topping, and maybe a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, your kid will think that he or she is eating the world’s most elaborate dessert. Seriously, try this treatment with fresh berries, sorbet, or even homemade banana bread. COOL WHIP can make everyday foods seem extra-special.
This yogurt cake is one of the treats that I regularly bake for Zuzu’s school snack. With fruit and yogurt, it makes a great brunch item or mid-morning snack. But don’t count it out for dessert! When I added COOL WHIP and sprinkles, this ordinary tea cake became a fun dessert that wowed my kids.
Yogurt Apple Cake
Adapted from Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup yogurt (use whatever you have in the fridge)
1 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
Zest from one lemon
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 TB cold dairy-free margarine or butter
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a Bundt pan, or spray it with a non-stick baking spray.
To make the streusel topping, combine the 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl. Using two knives, a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to combine after each one. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, the baking powder and the baking soda. Add the flour mixture and gently combine. Lastly add the lemon zest.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. (I like to bang the pan on the counter a few times to get out any air bubbles.) Top with apples slices arranged in a circle. Sprinkle streusel topping over the apple slices. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. The cake will keep well, loosely wrapped, for several days.
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