Roanna Martin

"make [food] simple and let things taste of what they are." {Curnonsky}

Vanilla Sugar, Tempered Chocolate, and Apple Cake

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The bakery.

A place to bake crusty hearty rolls, and craft decadent treats. Today I had the privilege of working with WVU’s pastry chef, and I fully enjoyed my time in the bakery.

All sorts of treats were being whipped together, and I got to help with a few of them.

After mixing together a batch of Mexican Wedding Cookies, I was flipping through a recipe book, and “vanilla sugar” was mentioned. I had heard of vanilla sugar before, but I had never made it. In fact, I don’t think I had ever touched a real vanilla bean before. They’re a slightly pricier gourmet item, but something that I may add to my christmas list this year- simply because they smell amazing, and I’ll admit that sometimes I’m a foodie. So, to my great enjoyment, I got to make vanilla sugar, by slicing open a vanilla bean, scraping out the inside and rubbing sugar over it with my hands to infuse the scent and flavor.

Then I scraped a slab of white chocolate to make shavings for topping off some banana cream pies. I also learned a bit about the process of tempering- another process I’ve never done. I did not actually temper chocolate today, but discussed the process with the pastry chef, and then did a bit of research tonight.  Tempering is simply heating and cooling the chocolate to specified temperatures to control the crystallization of the cocoa butter  to avoid a mottled appearance on the surface of the chocolate and ensure that it will snap rather than crumble when broken.

And apparently I wasn’t “pastried out” when I left the kitchen today, because I came home to my own kitchen and mixed up one of my very favorite fall cakes. I love moist, dense, hearty cakes, and this one fits the bill. Plus, all the whole wheat flour and apples make it a pretty nutritious dessert!

Apple Cake

adapted from Simply in Season Cookbook, Herald Press

16 servings

5 cups apples (unpeeled and chopped)

1 1/3 cups sugar

Combine and let stand while mixing other ingredients.

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs (slightly beaten)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine in a separate bowl.

1.5 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each ginger and cloves

1 teaspoon salt

Combine in a third bowl.

Stir flour mixture into apples alternately with egg mixture. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F, 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Caramel Drizzle

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons skim milk

1 1/2 teaspoons flour

While cake bakes, heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Mix in. Drizzle over hot cake.


And the final step to any recipe: savor and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts, analyzed by Spark Recipes:

232 calories, 7.8 g fat, 314 mg sodium, 41.1 g carb, 2.7 g fiber


Author: roannamartinwvudietetics12

A dietetic intern with a love of learning, an enjoyment of food, and a passion for people.

One thought on “Vanilla Sugar, Tempered Chocolate, and Apple Cake

  1. Pingback: Saturday’s Activities « Roanna Martin

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