Until further notice…

Today, my Sweets, I am delivering something other than baked goods. Today, I am delivering news. The news is that I have accepted a job out of state (it has to do with bikes, are you surprised?), so the Cake Pedaler (so very unfortunately) will not be pedaling this season. I am not yet certain of the future of The Cake Pedaler, but I would most certainly hope that I am able to deliver baked goods again, sometime in the future. For now, I need to thank you for your support and the purchases that you made. It meant the absolute world to me, to have so many of you encouraging me and the business. I do, so genuinely, value you as customers and as friends.

My most heartfelt thanks and appreciation!

XOXO,

The Cake Pedaler

Recipe: Homemade Granola Bars

SUPER EASY, SUPER TASTY, HOMEMADE GRANOLA/ENERGY BARS:

Delicious Granola Bars!

Delicious Granola Bars!

All I really have to say is: Take a bunch of tasty stuff that you love, throw it in a bowl, mix it together, press it in a pan, bake, freeze, and …. you’re done! It’s really just that simple, but here’s what I put in mine (below). You can add, subtract, substitute, omit, or do whatever you please with yours.

DRY INGREDIENTS:

NOTE: I don’t measure when I make these, so I apologize for not listing measurements. These are so forgiving that you can add as much or as little of just about anything. Also, it depends on how many you want to make. Just make sure your base ingredients (oats, rice puffs, or cereal/granola) make up the majority of the recipe. Otherwise, adjust everything else to your pallet/preference.

  • Oats (Bob’s Red Mill organic, whole – NOT the instant kind). Available gluten-free too, if you want to make a gluten free version.
  • Rice puffs (or, for more protein, Kashi’s high-protein Go-Lean Crunch Cereal). A pre-made dry granola from the bulk section works too, but watch out for the ones high in fat/oil and sugar.
  • Coconut Flour (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 of a cup or so). This isn’t necessary, but it adds some weight to the bars.
  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts, chopped
  • Almonds, chopped or whole (plain or roasted, it’s up to you, just be sure to get PLAIN — don’t get the salted/flavored kind)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Raisins
  • Dried Cherries
  • Majool Dates, Chopped
  • Chocolate Chips / Nibs (you can find vegan chips, if you want to make these vegan)
  • A dash of sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon or so)

WET INGREDIENTS:

  • Almond Butter (or peanut butter)
  • Dates, chopped
  • Agave (you could also use honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup).
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • **You can add a small amount of coconut oil as well, if you’d like.

DIRECTIONS, TWO WAYS (BAKED & UNBAKED)

UNBAKED:

  1. Pick a dish that fits the quantity you’re making (a 9″x9″ baking dish, a 9″x13″ baking dish, or a baking sheet with higher sides). Line it with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a BIG bowl.
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in about three batches. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until dry ingredients are moist but not wet. You want things to be sticking together. Too wet? Add more dry ingredients. Too dry? Add more wet. It’s not rocket science.
  5. Pour mixture into your pan. It will be STICKY. You will want to coat your hands with some coconut oil (canola would work too), and press the mixture down as tightly as you can, making sure to get into the corners.
  6. You can now place the dish in the freezer for them to firm up. DO NOT FREEZE at this point though. You still need to cut them.
  7. When they are firm, remove the ENTIRE recipe by lifting it out of the pan by the parchment paper. Cut the bars with a sharp knife into about 2″ by 2″ squares. I  cut all the way through the paper. That way, when I stack them to store them, they already have little parchment paper “dividers” between the layers.
  8. You can now wrap them in wax paper and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

BAKED: If you want a chewier, more “fluffy” version of a granola bar… do this:

I add the equivalent of 1 to 2 eggs worth of egg substitute (Ener-g egg replacer, vegan) to the mixture. I wouldn’t recommend adding real egg. I think about packing these up in my pack for really long hikes or bike rides, or camping/backpacking adventures, etc and I don’t like the idea of having real egg in there. This is up to you though. If you’re just going to eat them at home, a real egg white I’m sure would be fine.

DIRECTIONS: Follow all of the same directions through #5 above, but then put them in a pre-heated 250* oven for about 12 to 15 minutes (you don’t want them to brown, you just want them to cook slightly). Remove and let cool and then continue with steps #6-8 above.

*Note: If using chocolate chips in the baked version, they WILL melt. So, the texture of the chocolate in the bars won’t be the same as the unbaked version. The chocolate sections will firm back up again after you put them in the freezer though. Be warned in either case that if you choose to put chocolate chips in your bars that if you leave them out or carry them in warm conditions, they will become a bit sticky/messy as the chocolate melts. Just keep them wrapped in wax paper and you should be fine.

OTHER OPTIONS – Get creative! You can add just about anything… 

  • Other “base” ingredients: Oat bran, wheat germ, flax seeds
  • Fruit: Any dried fruit (try to find the ones that are naturally sweet, without added sugar), or dried coconut flakes.
  • Nuts/Seeds: Macadamia, Pistachio, Pecan… whatever you like. Any nut/seed butter can be used.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, pumpkin pie spice
  • Protein powder: a plain or vanilla soy or whey protein powder could be added.

The point is, you can customize this one million ways to Sunday, just add whatever you like.

HELPFUL HINTS/CHEATS:

— It’s easier and most of the time cheaper to find your favorite trail mix in the bulk section and just buy that to add to the mix, instead of buying each individual item. I’ve never tried to add any trail mix containing yogurt-covered or chocolate-covered items though, so I’m not sure how those would work out – I assume they would be tasty, but I would recommend going with the no-bake version if you use those.

IDEAS that I’ve had for other bars (but have yet to try). 

The “German Chocolate Cake” bar: oats, dates, agave, coconut oil, chocolate chips, dried cherries, finely shredded coconut and a pinch of sea salt. You could even add some raw cocoa powder for a more chocolate based bar.

The Amaretto: Oats, dates, agave, almond butter, almonds, dried cherries, a little amaretto or almond extract, and a pinch of sea salt.

The “Elvis”: Oats, agave, peanut butter, mashed banana (or home-made dried banana chips), chocolate chips, and a little vanilla extract. Want to get crazy? Add a small amount of bacon grease as your oil. Weird? Probably. Tasty? Probably.

Bananas Foster: Oats, agave, dates, mashed bananas, molasses, rum extract.

Black Forest Bar: Oats, agave, dates, almond butter, dark chocolate, dried cherries, almond.

…. I could go on and on.

Recipe: Layered orange cake with mulled wine jam.

I’m sorry, did you say, “orange cake with a mulled wine jam”? Why yes, yes I did.
(I don’t have super fancy photo of this cake for you. I explain why, at the very bottom of this post.)
I had some friends in town this weekend, visiting, and I wanted to make something great for them, but I didn’t have much time so I needed to get creative with what I had on hand. I had a big bag of oranges on my counter so I decided to make an orange cake. I wanted it to be a layer cake, but I wasn’t feeling the whole chocolate/orange combination, so I started thinking of what else paired well with orange and I thought (most likely due to the season) of mulling spices and ciders and then I thought of mulled wine …  and I definitely had wine on hand, so… that’s how it all started.
I went looking online for some inspiration and I found this recipe. I couldn’t believe somebody else had thought of this! Of course, I can’t ever just follow a recipe exactly as I find it, so, I adjusted according to personal “taste”, ingredients available, and skill (there’s a reason I decided NOT to make a meringue frosting for this and went with a buttercream instead – I can make meringue, but it can be a bi tricky and I needed something that wouldn’t require that amount of time or stress).
So, here you go!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED (INGREDIENTS):

For the Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (2 oranges) freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk (2%), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature (keep the whites and yolks)
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the mulled wine jam:

  • 2 cups of a sweet red wine (like a merlot)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 (5-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch-thick slices
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp butter *optional
  • 12 ounces fresh berries (cranberries, blackberries…. whatever you want)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (or a packet of fruit pectin)

For the Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grand marnier, or other orange liqueur
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

CAKE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Lightly coat two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds and coat once again with baking spray. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; reserve.
  3. In large bowl, whip egg whites with whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form, 3 or so minutes longer.
  4. Beat butter, sugar, and orange zest with paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time and beat well, scraping down sides in between additions. Combine milk, orange juice, and vanilla in glass measuring cup and then add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk mixture.
  5. Gently fold in egg whites (just until you incorporate them, don’t over work or you will break the whites down).
  6. Divide batter equally between prepared pans.
  7. Bake until tester inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, approx. 25 minutes. Transfer cakes to cooling racks and cool 10 minutes in pans. Turn cakes out directly onto racks, peel off and discard parchment, then invert so the tops are facing up. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

JAM DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put a spoon in the freezer. Go on, do it.
  2. Pour the wine into a large pot and bring it to a simmer with the cinnamon, cloves and star anise (placed in a tea bag or tied in a cheese cloth is helpful for removal). Allow this mixture to simmer on very low heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove your spices.
  4. Add your fruit, orange juice, ginger, and butter. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil (keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t boil over). You’ll want it to boil for approx. 10 minutes, stirring often (if you care and have a thermometer and want to be official about it, you’re going to want it to get to a “setting” temperature of 220 degrees). I just watch mine and wait for it to reduce and thicken.
  5. Whisk the sugar and pectin together and add it to the fruit until incorporated. You can decide at this point if you want whole berries/fruit or if you’d prefer to break them down a bit. I used a big fork to smash the fruit a bit.
  6. Test your jam by pouring a little down the back of your frozen spoon (see, I wasn’t just having you place silverware in the freezer for no reason). Your jam should be smooth, not grainy. Run your finger through it. It should make a path that stays open on the spoon. If not, boil a few more minutes (5 minutes or so should do it) and then test again.
  7. Remove from heat, place in a glass container and let cool. BAM! JAM!

ORANGE BUTTERCREAM DIRECTIONS:

  1. Beat first four ingredients (butter, orange zest, orange juice, and grand marnier) on medium speed until soft and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a 1/4 cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Set aside (cover to prevent from drying out while you prepare your cakes).

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Your cakes shouldn’t have risen too high, but if they did, level them off. Now, on your bottom layer, make a “reservoir” by cutting inside about 1/4 of an inch and down about 1/4 of an inch and removing that center piece. This will give your jam a nice place to sit. Alternatively, you can pipe a “ring” of buttercream frosting around the edge and then place your jam inside that. The point is to prevent the jam from sliding or squishing out the sides once the top layer is put on.
  2. Now, spoon the jam gently onto the bottom layer and spread evenly.
  3. Place top layer on cake, then frost sides and top.
  4. EAT CAKE! BE HAPPY!

***The short story behind the photo:  I was running really late to meet with my group of friends, because the cake took longer than I thought (due mostly to me adjusting the mulled wine jam portion of the recipe and having to wait for it to cool before putting it in the cake). So, once the cake was perfectly put together and frosted and ready to go (ahhh, it was so pretty!), I just boxed it up in my cake carrier and ran out the door, thinking “I’ll take a photo at the park, once I take it out of the carrier.” It wasn’t but a minute that the cake was sitting there before my friend’s daughter walked over to it, picked up the carrier, and toppled it over on its side.  So…. life happens and sometimes, you just have to scrape frosting out of your cake carrier lid, do your best to reassemble your cake, and serve it anyway. Did my friends mind? Of course not. Plus, it was seriously easy for me to forgive the tiny one, because she’s the most adorable little thing ever.

So, that’s the photo you get, because it’s the only one I took. Trust me though, the cake is worth making.

Coming Soon!

BAKED GOODS, DELIVERED BY BIKE

COMING SOON TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH!

After years and years of baking as a hobby, spending countless hours adjusting and altering recipes and experimenting with different flavor combinations and baking methods, staring impatiently through the oven window, watching cupcakes slowly rise and round, breads fill in their pans, and cookies brown around the edges all while my apron hung neatly in the closet because I was too excited about baking in the first place to remember to ever put it on, the reality of the situation has finally hit me: this is not just a hobby, it’s a passion. I have had friends and family, co-workers, acquaintances, and complete strangers tell me that I need to do this for a living, that I have a “gift”, that what they just tasted was the “best thing I’ve ever eaten” and you know what? I finally believe them. I am absolutely head over heels in love with the process and the art of baking and it’s time that I pursue this passion. So, what does ANY of that have to do with bicycles and why have I decided to deliver by bike? Well, I have the same passion for cycling as I do for baking and merging the two just made sense. It’s a more environmentally-friendly way to transport goods, it will keep me in shape, and a woman in an apron on a bike pedaling around Salt Lake City, hauling baked goods just sounds great, doesn’t it?

There’s not currently anything quite like this in Salt Lake, so I’m starting from scratch here (baking pun intended). Much like a new recipe, I am going into this with an idea of what the end result will be (a concept of a final outcome), but I am not yet entirely sure of what the exact ingredients are just yet or what the final product will actually look like once it’s all said and done. I’m being totally honest with you here because that’s just my style and hey, I need your help. You are my community. You are my customers. You are the people I’m going to be baking for and delivering to and the reason I didn’t wait to have it all “figured out” before going out into the great City of Salt is because I want this to be an organic process that’s crowd-sourced and community inspired as well as flexible, and fun. So, what do you say Salt Lake City? Are you ready for delicious home-style baked goods that were made with passion and purpose by somebody in your community, using the freshest ingredients (seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible) that are delivered by bicycle? I hope so!

Your support and patience, your business, and your help spreading the word about this new endeavor are all so very much appreciated! Follow me on Instagram (@CakePedaler) and become a Facebook friend!

More blogs, a menu, information on delivery routes and schedule, and more coming soon! Speaking of those things, I’ve created a few short polls that I’d love for you to take. The answers will help me identify the types of baked goods that you want, the area where you live, and the times that delivery would work for you. All of which will help me craft my menu and my routes!

FILL OUT THE POLLS BELOW!

If you have additional feedback, comments, or questions, please feel free to contact me by emailing cakepedaler (at) gmail.com!

– XOXO,

The Cake Pedaler