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Use Extra Fruit and Veggies In Baked Goods

 

If your neighbor is too generous with zucchini or your trees are overloaded with apples, take heart. Fruit and vegetable-based breads, muffins and cakes help to use up any extras that the garden offers. Moreover, fruit and vegetable-based baked goods are easy to make, store well, and can serve as a breakfast nosh, dinner side or midnight snack.

 

Vegetable based baked goods go beyond zucchini bread or pumpkin bread; unsweetened applesauce, steamed and mashed sweet potatoes, yellow crookneck squash, apricot pulp, and even beets can be incorporated into bread or cake with delicious results.

 

Fruit and vegetables should be fully ripe but still firm; overripe produce will add an off flavor to the baked goods, and underripe produce won't contain the same moisture levels as fully ripened produce.  Prepare the fruit or vegetables according to recipe requirements. In general, vegetables should be peeled, and any bruised or bad spots should be cut out.  Apples need to have the cores removed as well.  Use a blender or food processor for final preparation. Recipes call either for ground or pureed produce.  Large amounts of fruit or vegetable pulp can be packed in freezer bags or containers for later use.

 

This applesauce cake is incredibly moist and spicy. It marries well with a basic cream cheese or vanilla butter cream frosting.

 

Applesauce Raisin Cake

2 c, unsifted all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. dark  brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. butter, melted

2 c. unsweetened applesauce

1 c. raisins

3/4 c. chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

 

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices in large bowl; set aside.  In large bowl, dissolve sugars in melted butter. Stir in one cup applesauce. Using a mixer, beat in one egg.

 

Add half of the dry ingredients and beat with mixer for two minutes on medium speed.  Add the second egg, the second cup of applesauce and the remainder of the dry ingredients, mix thoroughly and beat on high speed for an additional minute.  Fold in raisins and walnuts.

 

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan. Frost with buttercream or cream cheese frosting when completely cool.

Zucchini muffins have a delicate flavor and taste great warm from the oven. Try these for a Sunday brunch treat.

 

Zucchini Streusel Muffins

1/4 c. butter, softened

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c packed brown sugar

2/3 c. grated zucchini or summer squash

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp molasses (use one of the lighter flavored kinds - blackstrap makes the batter bitter.)

1 tsp grated orange peel

2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

1//2 tsp baking powder

1/2 to 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp salt

 

Topping:

1/3 c flour

3 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp cold butter

 

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add zucchini, buttermilk, eggs, molasses and orange peel; mix well.

 

Combine all dry ingredients and gradually add to sugar mixture, mixing until just blended.  Fill greased and floured muffin cups 2/3 full.

 

For topping, cut flour and sugar into cold butter until mixture forms moist crumbs. Top each muffin with the streusel mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.  Makes 12 muffins.

 

Sweet potatoes and ginger are a natural combination, so Sweet Potato Gingerbread is a guaranteed hit.

 

Sweet Potato Gingerbread

2 c. all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

2 eggs

1/2 c vegetable oil

2/3 c sugar

1 1/3 c. mashed cooked sweet potatoes

1/2 c. raisins

1/2 c pecans or walnuts

 

Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs, add oil, sugar and sweet potato pulp, beating after each addition. Add dry ingredients, stirring well. Fold in raisins and nuts, and pour into prepared loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 50 - 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Serve warm bread with whipped cream, ice cream or applesauce.


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