Pumpkin Cranberry and Nutella Pound Cake

I am on a Nutella kick.  Nutella on toast, on bananas, in banana bread, in cream cheese, in yogurt….a Nutella sammie…u get the idea.  So I thought, hey, maybe a pumpkin Nutella pound cake in honor of National Pound Cake Day! Pound cakes are traditionally heavy and a bit fat laden so I lighted up this recipe with applesauce and Stevia which made room for those few extra Nutella calories.  Brilliant!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Recipe Notes:  I replaced half of the oil with applesauce, replaced one cup of sugar with Stevia (for baking), added 1/4 cup dried cranberries and swirled a 1/4 cup of melted Nutella into the batter once it was in the pan.

Results:  Very moist with a small ribbon of creamy Nutella and a tart pop of cranberry here and there.


  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • Confectioners’ sugar


  • In a large bowl, combine sugar (or Stevia), applesauce (if substituting for oil) and oil until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves; add to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.
  • Transfer to a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
  • I made a simple yogurt topping of 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar and a tablespoon of Nutella.  Stir and chill until ready to use.
  • Yield: 12-16 servings.

Linked to: Sweets for a Saturday, Saturday Swap, Tatertots and Jello, At the Picket Fence, Decidedly Healthy, Sundae Scoop, Hodgepodge Friday, Cookbook SundaysRecipe Swap SundayPotluck SundaySundays at One, Not Baaad Sundays, Seasonal Sundays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Sumos Sweet Stuff, Something I Whipped Up, Made By You Monday, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Homemaker Mondays, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Eats Well with Others, Meals on MondayFriday 1ST, Happy Housewife, All Things Related, Tasty Tuesday, Sweet Tooth Friday


Cherry Banana Bread with Nutella Swirls

I had every intention of making this banana cherry nutella bread for World Nutella day but for whatever reason the day got away from me and then a week and then well….it was three weeks too late.  I don’t know where the time went but nutella is so darn good that it really doesn’t need a special day to be eaten or baked into a yummy banana cherry bread.

I found the Banana Nutella bread recipe from Barbara Bakes.  I made a few changes by adding 1/2 cup of dried tart cherries and replaced the sour cream with non-fat greek yogurt (Fage) to lighten it a bit more!  Results?  Gooey nutella swirls, plump tart cherries and a mello banana flavor.  A hit for sure.

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about three small)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low fat sour cream ( I used Fage Zero yougurt)
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

1/2 cup Nutella

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; Add flour mixture to banana mixture, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon 1/2 batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loaf pan coated with baking spray with flour. Add 1/4 cup Nutella in dollops. Swirl a bit then top again with remaining batter. Add another 1/4 cup Nutella in dollops on top. Swirl again.

Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Bake mini loaves for 35 minutes or muffins for 18 minutes.

Linked to Tatertots and Jello, I’m Lovin it Friday, Friday Potluck, Family Friendly Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Saturday Swap, Simply Sweet Home, Katie’s Cucina, Sweet Tooth Friday, Friday Favorites, Feature Yourself Friday, Whipperberry Friday Flair, Recipe Swap Thursday, Frugal Friday, Sweet Saturday, Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try

Cherry, Chocolate and Orange {HEART} Scones

I {HEART} these orange, cherry and chocolate scones! Gooey chocolate, chewy cherries, orange zest and cocoa base.  Oh my…these have moved to the top of the scone list!  A keeper for sure!

Really easy, really tasty and a perfect breakfast for a lazy sunday morning. Pop them in the oven, a cup (or two) of espresso, a lazy morning and best of all, an easy breakfast in bed!

And, with Valentine’s Day tomorrow I just couldn’t resist cutting them into hearts.  Too cute.


Cherries by John Loo

Chocolate Chips…

Choco Chips By Ayelie



Inspired by Bon Appetit, 2/2002.


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup miniature dark chocolate chip
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or a large fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. Mix in the orange juice to form a dough.
  3. Turn out the dough on a floured surface. Pat or roll into a 9 inch circle about 1/2 inch thick. With a 2 1/2 inch fluted biscuit cutter, cut out 12 scones, pushing the dough scraps together for the last few, if necessary. Transfer the scones to the baking sheet.

Heart Scones Ready for Baking

  1. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Move to wire racks to cool.

Add a little mint, a chocolate square and serve!

Melting chocolate, chewy cherries, zest of the oranges…I could eat these every day!

Linked to:

Cookbook SundaysRecipe Swap SundaySeaside Valentine’s PartyPotluck SundaySundays at One, Not Baaad Sundays, Saturday Swap, Sweet Saturday, Seasonal Sundays, Mouthwatering Mondays, Sumos Sweet Stuff, Something I Whipped Up, Sweet and Savory, Made By You Monday, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, This Weeks Craving.

{Some Photos Creative Commons Attribution 3.0}

Seduced By Chocolate ~ Quadruple Chocolate Cake

Photo by EverJean

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and well, when it comes to chocolate, I think they are right.

Photo by EverJean

Chocolate…glorious chocolate!

Mexico Chocolate by EverJean


Photo by EverJean

All of this chocolate does lead somewhere…..to a dreamy decadent quadruple chocolate loaf cake!

Cocoa, chocolate chips, chocolate syrup and chocolate shavings…this is what chocolate dreams are made of!

What else can I say?  Make!  Eat!  Indulge!  I did and I don’t have one ounce of chocolate guilt.

Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson:


  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g cocoa
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 175g soft unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 80ml sour cream
  • 125ml boiling water
  • 175g dark chocolate chips (unless you’d prefer milk)


  • 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 125ml water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 25g dark chocolate (from a thick bar if possible)

Paris Chocolate by rvacapinta


  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all ingredients can come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170°C (converted to 340F), putting in a baking sheet as you do so, and line a 900g loaf tin (mine measures 21x11cm and 7.5cm deep and the cooking times are based on that) with greased foil – making sure there are no tears – and leave an overhang all round. Or use a silicon tin.
  3. Put the flour, bicarb, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream into the processor and blitz till a smooth, satiny brown batter. Scrape down with a rubber spatula and process again while pouring the boiling water down the funnel. Switch it off then remove the lid and the well-scraped double-bladed knife and, still using your rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips or morsels.
  4. Scrape and pour this beautiful batter into the prepared loaf tin and slide into the oven, cooking for about 1 hour. When it’s ready, the loaf will be risen and split down the middle and a cake-tester, or a fine skewer, will pretty well come out clean. But this is a damp cake so don’t be alarmed at a bit of stickiness in evidence; rather, greet it.
  5. Not long before the cake is due out of the oven – say when it’s had about 45-50 minutes – put the syrup ingredients of cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. You may find it needs a little longer: what you want is a reduced liquid, that’s to say a syrup, though I often take it a little further, so that the sugar caramelizes and the syrup has a really dark, smokey chocolate intensity.
  6. Take the cake out of the oven and sit it on a cooling rack and, still in its tin, pierce here and there with a cake tester. Then pour the syrup as evenly as possible, which is not very, over the surface of the cake. It will run to the sides of the tin, but some will be absorbed in the middle.

  1. Let the cake become completely cold and then slip out of its tin, removing the foil as you do so. Sit on an oblong or other plate. Now take your bar of chocolate, wrapped in foil if you haven’t got much of its wrapper left, and cut with a heavy sharp knife, so that it splinters and flakes and falls in slices of varying thickness and thinness.
  2. I’ve specified a weight, but really go by eye: when you think you’ve got enough to scatter over the top of the loafcake, stop slicing. Sprinkle these chocolate splinters over the top of the sticky surface of the cake.
Serves: Makes 10 generous slices

Tarte Tatin ~ Don’t Jugde a Dish by the Picture (Gutsy Cook Club)

Oh boy, where do I start with this?  I love blog cooking clubs and participate in a few.  For the most part, I haven’t had any issues.  But that was all going to come to a crashing end.  The newest selection from the Gutsy Cook Club was going to bring me down.  Bring me down hard.

What was the dish, you ask?   A Tarte Tatin.  Yes, a Tarte Tatin.  Really, caramel, apples, pastry crust and a flip on to a plate.  Sounds simple huh?  Well, not so quick.  I made two, yes 2 !  I think I have truly produced the ugliest Tarte Tatin in the world.

It started off well…I mean, peeling and coring apples is so simple.  Making a crust is a breeze.

It looked great out of the oven…golden and bubbly caramel.

And then the flip.  Oh no…this won’t do.  It simply won’t do.

But is has to.  This was version 2.  Having said all of that (and thanks for putting up with the whining), it was FANTASTIC!  Really, it was excellent. My husband ate half of it after dinner and the other half today for breakfast!  A real ugly duckling with a swan waiting to break free.

PS.  Wondering why the recipe isn’t posted?  The group cooks from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible and posting recipes is frowned upon, copyright and all plus we want to see more gorgeous books from Victoria Blashford-Snell.  Join the group by clicking on the Gutsy Cook Club link above.

The Humble Crumble

Fresh (and GOOD) strawberries in winter are always such a treat!  Sliced and topped with yogurt and granola, smoothies, sauced and drizzled on ice cream, on salads (one of my favs is home smoked trout, spinach, red onion and strawberries with a balsamic dressing) and in a…humble crumble

Strawberry Crumble adapted from Giada at Home.


  • Butter, for pan


  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 large lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
  • 2 1/2 pounds medium strawberries, halved
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar


  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned style oats
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish (I used individual serving dishes). Set aside.

For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and arrowroot until smooth. Add the strawberries, peaches and brown sugar. Gently toss until the fruit is coated. Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared pan.

For the topping: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Pulse until mixed. Add the butter. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Sprinkle the mixture over the filling and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the top is light golden. Cool the crumble for 5 minutes.

Spoon the warm crumble into bowls and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Linked to Friday Potluck, I Heart Cooking Club and Foodie Friday.

{Photos ~ Strawberries in Bag ~ http://www.rivertracks.com/}

Lemons for “Another Use”

Yesterday I made lemoncello.  I patiently peeled 14 lemons for the sole purpose of having a batch of homemade lemoncello for tea, ice cream, berries, and well…yes, to drink.  This left me with 14 lemons for “another use”.

What could I make?  Dinner and dessert?  Yes.  Lemon Asparagus Pasta with Lemon Cream Tart!

And….the best part is that I still have lemons for “another use” so tomorrow I will make lemon scones with lemon curd.

Lemon Creme Tart


10 servings

  • 1  large egg white
  • 2  tablespoons  stick margarine
  • 3  tablespoons  sugar
  • 3  cups  reduced-fat vanilla wafer crumbs (about 36 cookies)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1  (14-ounce) can low-fat sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated skim milk)
  • 1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
  • 1/2  cup  fresh lemon juice
  • Mint leaves (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine first 3 ingredients; beat at high-speed of a mixer until blended. Add crumbs; toss with a fork until moist.

Press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch round tart pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.

Combine eggs, milk, lemon rind, and juice in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool completely.

Lemon Asparagus Pasta


4 servings

  • 8  ounces  uncooked pasta
  • 2  cups  (1-inch) sliced asparagus
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green onions
  • 3  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  teaspoons  lemon rind
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 teaspoon  black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions (omit salt and fat).

2. Add asparagus to pasta during last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain.

3. Stir in remaining ingredients, and serve immediately.

Cookbook Challenge (Citrus) ~ Key Lime Sour Cream Tart

The challenge was citrus.

I knew I didn’t want to use the usual suspects: oranges, lemons or grapefruit.  I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on kumquats, pummelos, leech limes, or uglis.  I could use clementines, tangerines or satsuma mandarins.  I had just brought home a bag of satsuma mandarins.  But…I had other plans for them (teaser ~ a french almond orange tart ~ more on that later).

Having just returned from Miami Beach, I couldn’t get the deep-fried frozen key lime pie out of my mind.  Yes, deep fried…sounds crazy but it worked…worked very well.  A splurge for sure!  A tasty twist on the official pie of the great state of Florida.

I would pay tribute to the key lime.

Using The Professional Pastry Chef as a guide, I set off to make a lighter version of the original.  I hate to say this but I am not a huge meringue fan (there, I said it) so I topped it off with lime scented sour cream.

It wasn’t deep-fried or frozen but it sure was good.  Two slices good!  Breakfast and lunch good!


Serves 8

  • 9 to 10 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 can (14 ounces) non fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh or bottled key lime juice ( I used Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key Lime Juice )
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch salt



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs form, add butter. Process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, pat into bottom and up sides. Place pan on a baking sheet, and bake until crust is fragrant and slightly colored, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, lime juice, egg yolks, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and salt; whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into crust (warm or cool is fine), leaving 1/2 inch at the top; return to oven. Bake until filling is set around edge but still slightly loose in center, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
  4. Once chilled, combine the sour cream, powdered sugar and lime zest and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula.
  5. Eat!  (If you must store longer, cover and refrigerate, up to 2 days.)

Linked to:

Eat At Home

Wander Wednesday

Almond, Pear and Cherry Tart

Having just completed Gnocchi a la Parisienne from French Fridays with Dorie (it was fab, just posted), I was feeling a bit bored.  I needed a challenge until next Friday.

Sure, I could and do cook and bake without challenges but there must be other groups. What are they cooking?  Are they baking?  Or both? What are the rules?  Should I join another “challenge” group?

Latte in hand, I settled in to search the multitude of cooking blogs to see what was available.  As luck would have it, I found the Cookbook Challenge 2011.

I loved the idea…interpret 26 themes over 26 fortnights using cookbooks in my collection – no new books. I love the use of “fortnight”.  Don’t you?  How often do you hear “fortnight”?  In my little part of the world, not often.

How many of us have cookbooks that we have used once, twice, maybe three times?  I definitely fall into that category.  I have cookbooks that haven’t seen the light of the kitchen in years.  What a great opportunity to dust off long neglected books fortnight after fortnight.

Time was of the essence, the first deadline was one day away!  Challenge one was stone fruit.

I was going to have to complete this challenge with ingredients on hand…no time for a trip to the market.  What did I have?  Cherries and pears.  Not overly exciting but it would have to do.  A french almond, pear and cherry tart?  Yep, that would work.

Using two cookbooks, Around My French Table and Ready for Dessert, I headed to the kitchen to make the crust (Ready for Dessert), almond cream (Around My French Table) and the final tart (David Lebovitz‘s website – OK…I may have cheated a bit using a website to pull it all together but hey, I was under a tight deadline!).  Two cookbooks and a website.

Good challenge!

I loved David Lebovitz’s tart crust as there was NO rolling required and it was heavy enough that I could skip the pre-baking (tick tock, tick tock)…once the almond cream had chilled for an hour or so, quick assembly and into the oven.  The real challenge was going to be shooting pictures as it was late and dark!

Almond, Pear and Cherry Tart

Almond, Pear and Cherry Tart

Almond, Pear and Cherry Tart

Hastily planned, assembled and baked but I did not miss the fortnight!  I must say, it was delightful!

I am ready for challenge two and promise to be prepared…I have a fortnight to plan!

Linked to:  Make it with…Mondays.

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