Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sweet Substitutions

Raspberry bread with Greek yogurt icing
My friend C. is a real sweetheart, and lately she's showered me with sugar: She's scanned my emails for bloviation and blunders, she's bookmarked this blog on her browser toolbar, and she let me crash in her bed this weekend when I came to Boston.

Clearly, I needed to make it up to her. I'm not known for my sweet personality (the closest I come is the angry cookie, to which I've recently been compared). So I thought I'd reciprocate with some sweet treats instead.

This raspberry bread slathered with Greek yogurt icing looked like the perfect hostess gift. But by the time I started baking at 10:15 PM on Thursday night, I realized I was missing ingredients. Like, a lot of them.

For starters: a loaf pan. You can always sub muffin tins for this kind of recipe. Hah, as if I have those. Industrious little me rolled up a foil roasting pan into a loaf-like structure. Hey, it did the trick.

The Clothed Cook finally reveals her face
And then onto the simple icing: just Greek yogurt, powdered sugar, and some vanilla. Except I had no Greek yogurt. Or powdered sugar. Erm.

The Internet saved me from adding an icing made purely of vanilla extract. I ground up regular sugar in the blender for a quickie substitute for powdered. Tossed that in with regular ole plain yogurt, a drop of vanilla and a healthy shaving of lemon zest. Dropped a coffee filter into a colander, and pour the whole mess in and stuck my contraption in the refrigerator. By morning the whey had strained out of the yogurt and I had a gorgeously thick icing that's healthy enough for breakfast.

I think of this as the baked incarnation of my visit to C.: A little bit of sweet gets together with a little bit of tart. Together they make something pretty great.

Raspberry Oat Bread
Slightly modified from Pretty Delicious, via Ramshackle Glam 
Straining a substitute for Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1 cup quick oats (I used regular oats)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
Pinch salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp honey
1 cup frozen raspberries (I eyeballed this, and think I may have used too little. At any rate, be generous)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Grease a loaf pan (or folded up monstrosity) with vegetable oil
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger)
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the wet ingredients (eggs, applesauce, honey)
  • Mix the two together. 
  • Either fold the raspberries gently into the batter before pouring into the greased loaf pan, or pour half the batter into the loaf pan, add your raspberries, and top with the remaining batter
  • Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean
Notes for the Naked:
  • Baking recipes usually tell you to mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately before combining. This is because over-beating the flour with liquid forms glutens, which causes your batter to get tough. You can read more about it here
  • I added a bit of ginger to the original recipe. Feel free to tweak the spices further, but keep the total around 2-3 tsp. 
  • Be careful not to overbake this. I find that breads like this that use applesauce can get a bit dry when too well done. 
Lemon Greek Yogurt Icing
Adapted from Cupcake Project
1 C plain low fat yogurt (use full fat for something richer)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar (or regular sugar, ground in a blender until fine)
1 tsp lemon zest, or to taste

  • Stir together all the ingredients
  • Prepare a colander to strain the icing: place a coffee filter inside, and a clean bowl underneath. Pour yogurt mixture into colander
  • Refrigerate overnight. In the morning you should have a thickened icing in the colander and a bowlful of whey underneath. Discard the whey (or apparently you can use it for borscht--rando)
Notes for the Naked:
  • Strain the icing for up to two days for maximum thickness
  • You can also strain the yogurt plain to substitute it for Greek yogurt in other recipes


  1. Thanks! I feel like such a celebrity right now.

    I'll personally vouch for the fact that this cake was delicious, and actually got more moist/yummy with each passing day.

    Hope you come visit again soon! Especially if you bring along another treat like this one :)