Brown Soda Bread

Relationships are full of compromise.

“Can you turn off the light?”

Roo rolled over. “Why do I have to turn off the light?”

I shut my book and placed it on the floor by the bed. “Because you won’t let me buy a Clapper.”

“Because we’re not 90 years old.”

I clapped twice. “See, if we had the Clapper right now, we’d be sleeping.”

“We’re not getting a Clapper. But I’ll turn off the light.”

Sometimes there’s bargaining.

“Big Dave wants to play Halo.”

“Does Big Dave know that Halo makes my eyes bleed?”

Roo laughed. “Big Dave only plays Halo and he just texted to see if I’d play.”

I pursed my lips. I did not want to spend the evening hearing the game announce phrases like, ‘Yoink,’ ‘Swat’ and ‘Infected,’ repeatedly. “I’ll play Minecraft with you if you don’t play Halo.”

Roo set down his controller. “You never want to play Minecraft.”

“I do. Right now.”

“So I won’t play Halo?”

“I’ve been meaning to get into an 8-bit world where you can, you know, mine things.”

“One hour.”

“What?”

“One hour. I don’t want you to play for sixty seconds and say you’re done.”

“You know me too well. Ten minutes.”

“An hour. I know you’ll like it.”

“Thirty minutes, and I get to keep all the cool stuff we find.”

“This coming from the girl who never wanted to play Minecraft.”

But more often than not there are unexpected moments of thoughtfulness.

“I spent my last hour at work talking to a PhD who thinks he’s God,” I said, walking in to our apartment.

“I’m making us a snack,” Roo called out from the kitchen.

“You’re what?” I kicked off my shoes, closed the door and walked over to the stove.  “Oh, you made toast! Is there peanut butter?”

“It’s in the cupboard.” Roo said, handing me a slice of deeply browned soda bread.  “Careful, it’s still hot.”

I grabbed the tub of peanut butter out of the cupboard and popped off its lid. “How did you know this is exactly what I wanted?”

“When you texted me, ‘I just pictured his face melting off,’ I figured this would be a better solution.”

“Of course. Less mess.”

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Rosemary and Thyme Bread

Sometimes I wonder if the library has a wall mounted with photos of their most notorious card holders.  Members who have been caught repeatedly doing things “against the rules,” like eating, drinking or talking. (Clearly one of the greatest institutions must be worse than prison.)

If there were such a wall, I’m almost positive my photo would be up there for “most fines accrued.”  When I check out a book it’s pretty much guaranteed it’ll be returned overdue.

I don’t know why laziness I can’t get books back to the public library on time, but as of late the circulation desk staff have started asking, “Another one?” when they spot me rounding the corner.  It’s kind of like when the baristas at Starbucks see you coming through the door and start making your drink.

But with shame.

This bread however

is something to be proud of.

This bread would bring back books to the library on time.  This bread wouldn’t be recognized by the staff at the circulation desk because of fees.  This bread is good.  Quite good.

Studded with woodsy herbs, a lovely salted crust that it pulls apart with ease, it just begs to be dipped into a bowl of hearty soup. And when you come back from the library after paying your shame fees, you can find some comfort by tucking into some of that savory warmth.

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Chewy Granola Cookies

I am not the easiest person to live with.

For one, I’m becoming my mother at the wee age of 30.  I realized this when I started to wash out the kitchen trash can last weekend.  Really, who does that?  My mom.  Oh, and me.

Also like my mother, I ask, without fail, the second after Roo takes a bite of food how it is.  (FYI “it’s good,” is not a proper response.)

Second, there were a few times where it was pointed out that I have a hard time throwing things away.

“Babe, we have so many empty glass jars.  I feel like we’re one away from being cast on Hoarders.”

“What are you talking about?  I use them, like all the time.”

“For what?  Besides leaving them in a paper bag on the floor.”

“That’s where they live!  I don’t have any cupboard space.”

“Because there’s no room in the cupboard from all your glass jars.”

Lastly, I may or may not have had two meltdowns so far this week.  But in my defense, the first was from burning my hand….by grabbing a pan that had been in the oven.  The second was after realizing there was shattered glass in every single cup we owned….because I dropped a bowl on top of those cups and it um, shattered.

So when Roo asks if there’s a way he can have cookies at ‘snack,’ (which to me is essentially second breakfast), I try to make it happen.  After all, I need to keep someone around to identify my body when it’s found underneath a mountain of fallen glass jars.

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Banana Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate and Candied Ginger

I have this fear.  A completely irrational fear that only an obsessive planner, type A, control freak like myself could only come up with.

I’m afraid that I’m going to be a “Crunchy Mom.”

To me, a “Crunchy Mom” is basically one who strives to have their family live clean (like chemical free), healthy lives.

And what’s wrong with this?

Well, two things, 1) I’m not married and 2) I’m not pregnant.

I should have no concerns about this whatsoever.  (I told you, it’s completely irrational.)

But after watching this You Tube spoof on Shit Girls Say (if you haven’t seen the original yet, where have you been!?), I couldn’t help but relate to what those women were saying.

For instance, I saw Business of Being Born.  Again, I’m not even pregnant.  I don’t know why the film called out to me from our Netflix queue, but it did, and I watched it.

And I liked it.

I found it super informative, even though I’m slightly traumatized from watching Ricki Lake give birth on film.  Gone are the memories of Ricki prancing around on set in her oversized blazers during the opening credits.  Instead, vagina.

I also rationalize a $20 maple syrup purchase from Whole Foods. (Because it’s Grade B.  Of course.)

I love coconut oil and I have asked Roo if my shirt “shows my back fat.” The two may be related.

And while I don’t hush Roo so that I can focus on “my kegels,” (No.) a lot of this looks scarily foreseeable.

When I explained all of this to Roo (because he made the mistake of asking me, “what’s on your mind, Babe?”), he knew what to do.

He listened, “I mean, am I going to have a ‘Chicken Pox Party?’ My mom took me to one of those when I was a kid, and we all know how I’m going to turn into my mother.”

He smiled, “And I love full fat stuff. LOVE.”

He sat me down, “I’m just so….I don’t know. Everyone is having babies!  My Facebook newsfeed is basically telling me to have babies.”

And put this in front of me.

*I feel totally better.

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White Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Raspberries

“You’re like the hoarder of light bulbs.”

“You never know, this may be a collector’s item one day.”

“Really,” as I reach for the lightbulb to toss it into the trash.

“Hey. Hey! Don’t touch my lightbulb!”

“Roo, it’s garbage!”

“No, it’s my precious.  PRECIOUS.”

This is what I have to deal with.  But there’s an upside.

We’re having pancakes for dinner.

Sure, you can have your *King Cake, but you know what?  That little plastic baby Jesus freaks me out.

Seriously, how can you enjoy your cake when somewhere, lurking inside is little plastic baby Jesus, waiting to choke you.

And technically, is today called King Cake Day?  No, it’s Pancake Tuesday, and eating this

is way more fun than having this,

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Pumpkin, Molasses, Cranberry and Golden Raisin No Knead Toasting Bread

“I can’t believe you said that! Now I’m going to have to eat my feelings in peanut butter.”

“Sometimes I think you try to find things I say offensive, just so you can find an excuse to eat peanut butter.”

“……I can’t believe you said that! Now I’m going to have to eat my feelings in peanut butter!”

“Like I said.”

Roo may have a point, but I’ll never admit it.

Would you?

…Don’t answer that.

One of my favorite ways of eating peanut butter is standing by the kitchen cupboard and eating it out of the jar with a spoon.  I swear it tastes 10 times better this way.

I also love it on classics like toast.  Practically burnt toast with a dollop of peanut butter has been my breakfast for the majority of these bitterly cold mornings  (it’s 24F as I type).  This sticky, crunchy, lip smacking treat makes waking before sunrise almost bearable when paired with a hot cup of tea.

I said almost.

This past weekend I made a couple loaves of a recent favorite: pumpkin and molasses with dried cranberries and golden raisins.  It’s a great toasting bread, where the natural sugars from the pumpkin and molasses have this wonderful crunch; almost caramelized with an ever so slight, sticky chew.  It’s chock full of raisins and cranberries, but I love that the pumpkin still shines through.  Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger enhance the pumpkin’s warmth, but notes of caramel that can be tasted in the squash naturally make it a perfect partner to deep, lush molasses.

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Cranberry Cardamom Bread

Whenever Roo has school vacation I feel pressured into making sure there’s food in the house so that he doesn’t go back to his old ways of living on takeout.

While there isn’t anything wrong with treating yourself once in a while, Roo’s love for Foodler, and Foodler’s love for reminding him what he used to eat as a bachelor, makes me nervous.  Cheeseburgers, chicken parm subs, and pizza, lots of pizza; meals that contribute to high cholesterol levels and make Roo’s doctor say things like “statins.”

Even though I’ll be at work this week, I’m comforted by the fact that I left soup, potstickers and noodles for Roo to have for lunch.

As for breakfast, that’s a little trickier.  Roo is not one who likes to eat anything in the morning so it usually has to be something enticing like “breakfast cake.”

“Breakfast cake” is a term Roo coined months ago, after I started making healthier cakes that lacked frosting, were only slightly sweet, and great with a cup of coffee.  It was a phrase that sounded all too perfect.  And because of that, I couldn’t stop.  I’ve been making “breakfast cake” every weekend since.

This week’s “breakfast cake” was inspired a bag of cranberries I found in the back of my fridge.  With New Year’s approaching, I’ve had a sudden urge to clean and organize everything in the apartment.  The downside is that I find things like an old bag of cranberries that I was suckered into buying because the clever labeling read, “Use One, Freeze One.”

I forgot to freeze the second one.

But, cranberry cardamom bread was made, and like most spiced goods, this cake gets better the longer it sits.

If you’ve never had cardamom before, it’s a spice that I can only describe as citrusy (sure, that’s a word).  The orange zest and cranberries in this cake only enhance cardamom’s flavor; a potpourri of mid-winter awakening.

The outside of the cake is slightly caramelized, yielding a soft, pleasant crunch as you take your first bite.  The crumb is more delicate than for example, a squash based cake, but in no way does it shrink away from the bold, tart cranberries.  The slight sweetness pairs well with the berries that burst mid-baking.

I’m already looking forward to tomorrow morning so that I can have another slice of this for breakfast.

As long as Roo doesn’t beat me to the last slice first.

Adapted from Chez Us

Makes 1 Loaf

Ingredients

1 flax seed egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of warm water mixed and set aside for at least 5 minutes)

Half cup soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk of your choice) and half teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, set aside for at least 5 minutes

Quarter cup of butter (like Earth Balance)

1 cup of sugar

2 cups of white whole wheat flour

One and a half teaspoons of baking powder

Half teaspoon of baking soda

Half teaspoon of fine sea salt

Quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce

Zest from 1 orange

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Half teaspoon cardamom (Cardamom is an intense spice.  If you’ve never used it before try a quarter teaspoon.  And if you hate cardamom – gasp! – try cinnamon.)

12 ounces of cranberries (A bag of cranberries you can find at your supermarket)

Equipment

A stand mixer (or electric beaters and large bowl)

A medium sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A zester

A spatula

A 9″ loaf pan

Parchment paper or grease your loaf pan with either baking spray or butter and flour

Place the oven rack to the middle position in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line the loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease it).

In your standing mixer (or with a electric beaters) add the butter and sugar and cream together for about 3 minutes (until well combined).  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk the ingredients till well combined (and there are no visible lumps).  Set aside.

To the standing mixer, add the applesauce, flax seed egg, soy milk with apple cider vinegar, orange zest, vanilla extract, and cardamom.  Mix till well combined.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl, going down the sides, and back up, with your spatula.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix till just combined, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the cranberries and fold into the cake batter with your spatula.

The batter is going to be thick, don’t worry.

Scoop the batter into your prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes.  At the 50 minute marker, check the cake with a cake tester (a toothpick, knife, fork etc).  If it comes out from the middle of the loaf with only a bit of crumb, it’s done.  If the cake tester yielded wet batter still on it, throw the cake back in the oven and bake for another five minutes.  Continue checking every five minutes until it’s done.

Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before serving.

Lemon Cranberry Cake

There are times when I really miss my friends from Ireland.

Nearly six years ago, I boarded a plane headed to Ireland to attend graduate school in Dublin.  I left behind a boyfriend of five years, my family, and my closest friends from undergrad.  I think I cried.  Twice.

The first semester was a little rough.  I knew it rained in Ireland, but what I didn’t know is that it really rains.  There were mornings where I would wake up to what seemed like the billionth rainy day, unwilling to leave the comforts of my duvet and hot water bottle, wondering why I hadn’t chosen a sunnier location for grad school.

Looking back, I don’t regret it.  I came out of it with great friendships and valuable life lessons.  For one, I learned who I really was, without that boyfriend I left in the states.  Ireland made me realize that that relationship needed to end.  For that alone I’m grateful.  But what I’m especially grateful for is the friendship I have with AS.

Incredibly smart, kind, same size feet (serious luxury when you can only pack two bags of your belongings to live in a foreign country), generous and a fantastic cook; I couldn’t have asked for more in a friend.

I spent practically every weekend at her house where she would whip up “curried beans,” “salad on a warm tortilla with thai sweet chili sauce,” and “coconut rice.”  All dishes I’ve never had, but gladly ate up.

What I remember most though, was her lemon cake.  A buttery, lemony and not too sweet loaf that was incredibly easy to make and easily devoured in a day.

I wanted to make the same thing for Roo, as with the holiday season we can’t help but think of those we miss and love; AS being high up on that list.  But, with Roo’s plant-based diet I knew I couldn’t rely on the recipe I memorized years ago.  Instead, I went into the kitchen and made cake after cake (three, and it was no bueno having to eat the “losers” throughout the week) until I got my own version that I think would make AS proud.

Moist, lemony and chock full of cranberries leftover from an overzealous pre-Thanksgiving grocery trip, Roo finally did what I was waiting for: he went for seconds.  And maybe a tiny third.

Inspired by AS Lemon Cake

Makes one 9″ Cake

Ingredients

Dry

Two and a quarter cups of white whole wheat flour

Quarter cup of ground flax seed

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Quarter teaspoon of fine sea salt

Wet

1 flax seed egg (one tablespoon of ground flax seed and three tablespoons of warm water mixed together and set aside for about five minutes)

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar then measuring cup filled up to “1 cup” marker with soy milk (or any other unsweetened non dairy milk)

Quarter cup of vegetable oil

Quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce

Zest from 4 lemons

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 cups of cranberries and a quarter cup of sugar, pulsed in a food processor until chunky (you could also throw the cranberries in a large ziploc bag with the sugar and smash the cranberries with a rolling pin, wine bottle, whatever, till crushed up)

Equipment

One small sized mixing bowl

One medium sized mixing bowl

One large sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A zester

A spatula

A food processor

A 9″ cake pan either greased (buttered and floured) or lined with parchment paper

A clean fork

Place your oven rack in the middle position of the oven.  Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a medium mixing bowl add the dry ingredients.  Stir the ingredients together with a whisk till well combined and there are no lumps visible.

In a large mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients and stir till well combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing till just combined.  Add the cranberries to the bowl and stir till just combined.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all the ingredients are mixed in together.

Scoop out your cake batter into a greased or lined 9″ cake pan.  Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and your cake tester (like a toothpick) comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Allow cake to cool before serving.  If sliced into warm, it’ll try to fall apart on you. Boo.

Pumpkin Bread with Molasses and Ginger

Roo has lived in our apartment for about ten years.  Two years ago, I remember getting buzzed into the building and walking up three flights of winding stairs, before reaching the top floor apartment.  Our date was spent sitting on his bed, as his roommate was in the television room and there was no where else for us to go.  The bed was by three uninsulated windows, and I remember being so cold, as I felt the November chill find its way through the seams.  We talked, sipped whiskey, and listened to a Best of Tom Petty album.  It was pretty great.

The apartment at the time housed bachelors that were there to do three things: eat, sleep and poop (Everyone Poops, I hope you’re now over it).  Cleaning was not on the top of the list, and while I myself admit to being a slob, these boys made me look like a reality star from Obsessed.

When Roo asked me to move in with him last year, there was no denying it, I knew what I was getting into…

The kitchen housed a broken toilet (literally, in the middle of the floor) and five cinderblocks.

There wasn’t a refrigerator.

The bathroom did not have properly functioning toilet.  You had to stick your hand in the cold tank to pull on the chain to make it flush.  I hated this.

Said toilet completely broke before I moved in, and then the kitchen housed two broken toilets.

I once tried to be “helpful” by picking up a large dustball off the floor, but it turned out to be a mouse the cats had killed god-only-knows-when.

There wasn’t hand soap in the entire apartment at the time.  Anywhere.

I ended up cleaning my hands with shampoo, wailing (wailing helps with decontamination) over a sink that is “old fashioned” with separate “hot” and “cold” spouts.  Going from “burn” to “freeze” also helped with decontaminating.  Sure.

Roo was incredibly sweet when he asked me to live with him last July, as he immediately followed his question with, “but I’ll make sure that this place is nice by September.  Everyone’s moved out now so I can make this place so much better.  I promise.”

While there were only two rooms that were barely functional in the house (the kitchen and the bathroom), Roo only had enough money to re-vamp one.  I asked for a working toilet, but as for how the bathroom looked itself, that wasn’t really a deal breaker for me.  What did make me hesitant was the state of the kitchen.  And Roo didn’t let me down.

Roo repainted the walls, bought us a new refrigerator, removed the items that were being stored there (ie two toilets and five cinder blocks), and basically made it beautiful place to make my meals.  He moved an old oak table he had in storage to one side of the kitchen, so we could eat there.  Even the floors were steam-cleaned, and right before I started unpacking my pans, he pulled out some shelving from the guest bedroom to store my cookbooks.

As the anniversary of our first date approaches, I can’t help but think of the first thing I made Roo and brought over to his apartment.  It was towards the end of November, practically right on top of Thanksgiving.  I was in an obsessive phase with pumpkin (but who isn’t this time of year?), so I baked him a loaf of pumpkin bread.

This year, I wanted to make something that brought together the flavors from my favorite family holiday (Thanksgiving) and Roo’s (Christmas), but had no idea how to do it.  When I stumbled upon Elise’s recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread, it was the inspiration I was looking for.  Rich molasses swirled into a smooth pumpkin puree, bold flavors such as ginger and cinnamon shining through, made a cake that I was incredibly eager to share.  I’ve already packed a bunch of slices for my co-workers for when I see them next.

I think Roo will enjoy this for breakfast this week, especially as with time, the flavors truly meld together and make something I’m sure he won’t mind skipping his daily Starbucks $3 holiday loaf for.

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Makes One Loaf (or, if you’d like to reduce the baking time, split the batter into two loaf pans)

Ingredients

One and a half cups of white whole wheat flour

Quarter teaspoon of fine sea salt

One rounded teaspoon of baking soda

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

One and a half teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg

One and a quarter cups of pumpkin puree

Quarter cup of butter (like Earth Balance), melted

Half cup of turbinado sugar (you can use regular sugar, turbinado was all I had)

Half cup of molasses

1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, grated

2 flax seed eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flax seed and 6 tablespoons of warm water, combined and set aside for about 5 minutes)

3 tablespoons of water

Half cup of raisins (optional)

Extra turbinado sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Equipment

A large mixing bowl

A medium mixing bowl

A whisk

A spatula

A 9×5 loaf pan

Parchment paper, or butter and flour to grease your pan

Place your oven rack to the middle position in the oven.  Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a medium mixing bowl add the white whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk the ingredients together until they are well combined and there are no longer any lumps.

In the large mixing bowl add the pumpkin puree, melted butter, sugar, molasses, fresh grated ginger, flax seed eggs and water.  Mix till the ingredients are combined.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl so that all ingredients are incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, in increments.  Stir the ingredients till combined.  Add the raisins, if using, and stir till combined.  Again, be sure to scrape down the bowl so that all ingredients are incorporated.

Scoop out the batter into a prepared loaf pan (either lined with parchment paper, or buttered and floured).  Bake for one hour ten minutes to an hour and a twenty minutes (this cake is filled to the max with pumpkin, so it’s going to take a while to cook through).  At the hour marker, remove the pan and sprinkle a little turbinado sugar on top, if using.  At the hour five marker, remove the pan and check to see if it’s done with a cake tester, like a toothpick.  If it pulls out clean, it’s done.  If not bake for an additional five minutes and keep checking until it’s done.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool (in the pan) for about ten minutes.  Run a knife along the edge of the loaf and remove it from the pan.  Allow it to cool till room temperature before serving.  If you can wait till overnight to eat it, the flavor of the cake will be so much better.  But, we couldn’t, we’re not judging.

Butternut Squash Cake with Dark Chocolate and Dried Cranberries

I’ve mentioned it quite a bit this month that some items in our CSA has been more difficult to get through than others.  Produce like kale and onions were used within a day or two, while squashes and sweet potatoes have found practically a permanent residence on the shelf next to our Keurig.

I’ve honestly never made a cake with butternut squash before, but being related to pumpkin, I figured why not do a twist on a cake that I love so much this time of year.  Also, I had such good luck with my sweet potato cake, that I was hoping I’d ride on that recipe karma to something fantastically unexpected.

Yes, I always have high expectations.  That’s how I roll.

I’m glad that I took the chance, as this cake is incredibly moist, lush, with bits of chocolate speckled through the batter, yet countered beautifully with the bright, tart cranberries.  It’s something that I look forward to making again, especially since squash season is far from over and warming our apartment with an oven baking a cake is far better than turning on the radiator (hello humidifier, please jump into my trunk at Target because our heater hates my hair).

Adapted from Sweet Potato Spice Cake with Dried Cranberries

This makes two cakes, but can be easily halved.  The batter is especially thick and when the original recipe is used (for the two cakes), it is a large amount, therefore making one cake should be considered especially when not using a stand mixer.

Ingredients

5 cups of butternut squash “moosh” (1 large butternut squash) *Peel, de-seed and cut your squash into chunks and place on a microwave safe plate.  Cover with a paper towel and microwave until very soft.  (This took me about 10 minutes.)  Mash the chunks until very smooth, thus “moosh.”

One and a half cups of sugar

2 flax seed eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, mixed with 6 tablespoons of water, set aside for ten minutes)

1 cup of unsweetened unflavored almond milk (or another non-dairy milk)

Three quarters of a cup of mild tasting olive oil (if you are halving this recipe, you will need 6 tablespoons of olive oil)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

4 cups of white whole wheat flour

1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda

1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 cup of dried cranberries (I love it when the dried cranberries plump up in a cake, so yes, 1 cup it is)

Quarter to a half cup of chocolate, chopped

Quarter cup of turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (you can use regular sugar)

Equipment

1 large sized mixing bowl (the biggest one you have, seriously)

1 medium sized mixing bowl

A spatula

A whisk

Two 9″ cake pans

Parchment paper (optional) or grease your pan (with butter, like Earth Balance, and dust with flour)

Place the oven rack in the middle position in your oven.  Preheat your oven to 350F.

In the medium sized mixing bowls, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk the ingredients together, till combined.

In the large sized mixing bowl, add the butternut squash “moosh,” flax eggs, sugar, almond milk, olive oil and vanilla extract.  Stir till combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, in increments.  Stir till combined.  Fold in the dried cranberries and dark chocolate.  The batter is going to be extremely thick and you’re going to question my sanity.  Trust it.

Spoon out the batter into your pans.

Bake for about about 35 – 45 minutes.  At the 30 minute mark, sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the tops of the cakes.  At the 35 minute mark, use a cake tester (like a toothpick), and insert into the middle of the cake.  If it comes out with a little bit of crumb, it’s done.  If not, put it back in the oven for another five minutes, and check again.

When done, remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.