Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Yea. I just made healthy muffins. Wait what?
These muffins are loaded with good things like shredded zucchini, fresh blueberries and whole wheat flour. Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to butter/oil to keep these muffins moist. Cinnamon adds flavour and according to google, it’s pretty good for you too!
If you’ve never tried baking with zucchini, you’re probably feeling a little skeptical. I know I was at first, until I baked this double chocolate zucchini bread. It immediately became one of my favourite indulgent breads to bake, and my manly man housemate totally approved and managed to eat a slice every day for a week! You totally can’t taste any sort of zucchini/vegetable flavour in that bread or these muffins.
These muffins are bursting with fresh blueberries and I love how pretty the green and blueish-purple looks. These are the perfect springtime muffin after a long winter season, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
Yields: 12 muffins 

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.In a small bowl, stir together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and lemon zest.  In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and greek yogurt.  Slowly stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.  Fold in the zucchini and blueberries.Scoop 1/4 cup batter each into the wells of your lined muffin tin.  Bake  for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool.Store in an airtight container – can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to two months.
adapted from Cooking Ala Mel


Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes


Sometimes Often the thoughts that race through my mind as if they were on some sort of high-speed conveyor belt are completely random and out of the ordinary and make me question my sanity.

I really think duct tape smells like donuts. Just like dogs smell like donuts. If a bee flies up my pant leg today while I’m walking home and I have to take my pants off right there on the sidewalk flapping my arms and legs around like I’m a chicken trying to fly because the bee is stuck up my leg then I know I can still take comfort in the fact that at least I’m not wearing granny panties. The colour of the car that just drove by my window reminds me of peach cobbler. Poppy seeds sometimes remind me of kiwi seeds the way that they sit there, black and crunchy, embedded in some sort of baked good. Did you know that the only fruit to have seeds on the outside is a strawberry? The Food Network told me that yesterday. It’s almost the weekend, which for many of us means a good sleep-in and potentially a more involved breakfast?    Try these lemon poppy seed pancakes. If you are a fan of lemon poppy seed muffins, then these are the same thing really but in pancake form, making it totally acceptable to cover them with maple syrup and devour in record time. The batter is not overly sweet, and has the perfect lemony flavour. The crisp sides of the pancake are to die for.  I halved the recipe, and then further halved the batter and stuck it in the fridge for almost-instant pancakes the next morning. These are probably my favourite pancakes ever. Ever.

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes 

Yields: about 24 small pancakes

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
butter, shortening, or vegetable oil for frying
maple syrup for serving

In a small bowl combine granulated sugar and lemon zest.  Rub together with your fingers until sugar is fragrant.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the lemon sugar.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl (or you can use a large liquid measuring cup), whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and melted butter.  Pour the wet ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients.  Add the poppy seeds and stir to combine.  If a few lumps remain, that’s no problem.  Let the batter rest for 10 minutes while the griddle heats.

Place a griddle, or a nonstick saute pan over medium heat.  Add a bit of butter, shortening, or vegetable oil to the pan.  A teaspoon of fat will do for a n0nstick saute pan, a bit more fat may be necessary for a griddle.  Dollop batter onto hot pan.  For small pancakes, I use about 2 tablespoons for each pancake.  For larger pancakes, I use about 1/4 cup of batter.  Cook until golden brown on the bottom and and bubbling on top.  Flip once and cook until golden brown on each side.

Place cooked pancakes on an oven-proof plate and place in a warm (about 150 degrees F) oven until all pancakes are cooked and ready to serve.  Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

Joy the Baker


img_3656I’ve been somewhat daunted by the process of making hummus ever since I watched my housemate last year shell an entire can of chick peas just to make a batch of hummus. It looked like a painstakingly long process to make something that could be purchased at the grocery store for a couple of dollars. However as I recall, the resulting homemade hummus was absolutely delicious and the store-bought brands just didn’t compare to the homemade version.

So imagine my excitement when I discovered a recipe for hummus that did not require removing the shells of each individual chick pea! This is probably the simplest recipe possible for homemade hummus. All you need is a food processor (I think a blender could probably work as well) and you are good to go!

I do think that the simplicity of this recipe does sacrifice a bit of flavour as the result is not the best hummus I have ever had, but it is certainly good enough for me on a lazy day.

I am very excited to have a whole container of fresh hummus to snack on this week :)


3 tbsp. juice from 1-2 lemons
¼ cup water
6 tbsp. tahini, stirred well
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small garlic clove, minced (about ½ tsp.)
½ tsp. table salt
¼ tsp. ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro or parsley (optional, for garnish)

Combine lemon juice and water in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup.  Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.

Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds.  Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula  With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through food tube.  Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute.  With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through food tube, continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and cilantro over surface, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats, from Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2008.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd Filling

Hello!!  So I know I said earlier this week that I would be sharing a delicious peanut butter torte recipe for the cake I had baked for a friend’s birthday, but I was looking through all of my files and I realized I never shared this cake with you yet.  The photo quality is horrible, partly because of lack of skill and partly because I hastily took a photo under poor lighting conditions in front of everyone so you could see the inside.

All that aside, this cake was delicious but it took a surprisingly long time to make. I don’t think it helped that I chose to do a complicated basket weave design on the cake that took a good chunk of time, but by the end of the day I was actually so tired.

Anyways, this cake was for my beautiful housemate, Kelli’s birthday which was a few weeks ago and we all enjoyed this cake very much 🙂

As a side note, this cake can be made into several mini cakes like Annie did, or you can make it into a 3-layer 8″ round cake like I did.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes with Raspberry Curd Filling

For the cake:
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
12 tsbp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk

For the raspberry curd:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pint ripe raspberries or 1 12-oz. package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 tsp. fresh lemon juice

For the lemon buttercream frosting:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Fresh raspberries, for garnish

To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour two 8″ round cake pans.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside.   In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high.  Beat just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted.  Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl, clean the mixer bowl and reattach it with the paddle attachment.

Add the butter to the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated.  Mix in the lemon zest.  Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat until just blended.  Using a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture.  Once incorporated, add in the rest of the whites and gently fold in until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 24-26 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Run a thin knife around the outside of pan and gently turn the cake out.  Allow to cool completely.

To make the raspberry curd, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries.  Stir frequently at first and then constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools.  Stir in lemon juice to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cut both cakes horizontally, so that you have 4 even cake layers. It is up to you whether you choose to make a 3 layer cake like I did (and snack on the last layer!) or make a very high, 4 layer cake. Layer the rounds with the cooled raspberry curd.  Once layered, allow the assembled cakes to cool in the refrigerator to help them set.  In the meantime, make the frosting.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute longer.

Frost the chilled cakes with the lemon frosting.  Garnish with fresh raspberries as desired.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats


Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but lemon and poppyseed is such a perfect combination. They just seem to go perfectly, hand in hand.

The feeling I get when I see a recipe incorporating both lemon and poppyseed is similar to the feeling I get when I see an elderly couple holding hands.

Well, maybe not quite like that. But a good feeling, either way 😛

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

2 cups cake flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk in sugar and poppyseeds until combined.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and almond extract until combined; stir in dry ingredients until just combined.

Divide batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Cool five minutes before removing from pan.

Source: Sugar Plum

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Pound Cake

I have a thing for lemon tasting baked goods.

I also have a thing for Justin Bieber, silver nail polish, and the smell of rose water.

Yes, I know. I’m too old for Justin Bieber.

If you like Justin Bieber, or at least for lemon poppy seed, then you’ll probably love this pound cake. The recipe called for wild blueberries, but I only had standard sized blueberries. Next time if I use standard sized blueberries, I will probably up the amount of blueberries by 50%.

Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed Pound Cake


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan.  Put the pan on an insulated backing sheet, or on two regular baking sheets stacked on on top of the other.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds.

Rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar until sugar is slightly tinted yellow and is fragrant.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fit with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar mixture on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and beater and reduce the mixer speed to medium.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition.  As you’re  working, scrape down the bowl and beater often.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and poppyseeds, mixing only until incorporated.  Take the bowl off the stand mixer, and use a spoon to fold in the frozen blueberries.  Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Put the cake in the oven to bake, and check on it after about 45 minutes.  It it’s browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent.  Bake the cake for about 70 to 75 minutes.  The cake is properly baked when a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean

Remove cake from the oven, transfer the pan to a rack and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and turn the cake out, then turn it right side up on the rack and cool to room temperature.

Wrapped well, the cake cake keep for 5-7 days at room temperature.

Source: Joy the Baker

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