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Fruit, Yogurt, and Cake Parfaits

Community meeting training session, 11/14/12

These easy parfaits are a great way to use fresh or frozen fruits with any crumbly, not-so-pretty cake you might have.

For each parfait:

  • 1 small slice cake (such as Yogurt Pound Cake)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen and thawed fruit, any kind

Cut or break the slice of cake in half. In a small bowl or glass, layer half the cake, then 1/4 cup yogurt, then 1/2 cup fresh fruit. Repeat layers with remaining cake, yogurt, and fruit.

Strawberries with Yogurt and Chocolate Cake

Community training dinner, 5/21/12 – Served using Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cake

Strawberries are in season in the spring and early summer. In this dessert, they go with vanilla yogurt and chocolate cake – a perfect combination of lightness and decadence.

  • 16 oz strawberries, washed and cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 small slices chocolate cake
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt

In a large bowl, combine lemon juice and brown sugar. Add strawberries and toss to coat.

To assemble dessert, pile strawberries and yogurt on top of a piece of cake.

Serves 4.

Rhubarb Crisp

Committee meeting working lunch, 5/3/12

Community meeting training dinner, 5/7/12

Adapted from The Minimalist

Crisps are a very easy dessert to make with any fruit* that’s available. If it’s not rhubarb season, you can substitute whatever is fresh in season, or you can use frozen fruit.

  • 2 ½ to 3 pounds rhubarb, chopped into about 1-inch pieces (5-6 cups)*
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice (take the zest off before you juice!)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (grated peel)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus a little extra for greasing pan
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup rolled or quick-cooking oats (do not use instant oatmeal)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts, any variety
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, to taste
  • pinch salt


Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter a 8” x 8” or 9” x 9” baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, white sugar, and lemon or orange juice and zest. Stir to evenly coat the rhubarb with sugar, then pour into prepared baking pan.

In a smaller bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together thoroughly, then sprinkle this topping over the rhubarb in the pan.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the topping is browned and the rhubarb is bubbling. Serve warm.

Serves 8.

*Technically, rhubarb is a vegetable. But we all use it like fruit. And it’s easy to grow (read: nearly impossible to kill) in your garden.

Yogurt Pound Cake with Strawberry Swirl

Community training session demonstration dinner, 3/12/12

This cake is very tasty and adaptable. In fact, it’s a more basic version of this grapefruit yogurt cake. The cake is very simple to make and doesn’t require a mixer.

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup plain yogurt (if you can only find vanilla, see substitutions below)
  • 1 cup sugar (3/4 cup if using vanilla yogurt)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (omit if using vanilla yogurt)
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup frozen and thawed or fresh strawberries, mashed into a chunky puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan or 11” x 7” sheet pan with oil or butter.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, mix thoroughly to combine yogurt, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Then add the flour mixture and stir or whisk to combine. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold the oil into the batter. To fold in, place the spatula in the center of the bowl so the edge hits the bottom. Slide the spatula under the batter, up the side of the bowl, and then flip the batter you just scooped into the middle. Continue this motion, turning the bowl to get all sides, until the oil is fully incorporated.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Then add the strawberry puree. Add the remaining batter on top.

Bake for 50-70 minutes for loaf pan or 25-35 minutes for sheet pan, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf


VARIATION – PLAIN POUND CAKE: This cake works great without the strawberries, too. Just bake as directed without adding the strawberries. Cooking time will be slightly shorter. Try using plain pound cake in these fruit, yogurt, and cake parfaits.

Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

Committee meeting working lunch, 2/23/12

Slightly adapted from this recipe at Smitten Kitchen

This cake tastes similar to lemon pound cake, with an unexpected grapefruit twist to make use of a winter fruit that, though not local, travels well.

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large grapefruit (you will use the zest [grated peel] and ⅓ cup of the juice)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt – whole milk, low fat, and fat free all work. (Note: you can use vanilla yogurt if plain is unavailable, but see notes for other changes required.)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided between cake and syrup. (Note: if using vanilla yogurt, reduce to ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar.)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (Note: if using vanilla yogurt, omit vanilla extract.)
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan, then dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Zest the grapefruit by rubbing it on a cheese grater. You should grate off only the colored part of the peel, leaving the bitter white pith on the fruit. Set the grapefruit aside (you will be juicing it later.)

In a large bowl, combine the zest, yogurt, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the large bowl and stir until combined. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold the oil into the batter. To fold in, place the spatula in the center of the bowl so the edge hits the bottom. Slide the spatula under the batter, up the side of the bowl, and then flip the batter you just scooped into the middle. Continue this motion, turning the bowl to get all sides, until the oil is fully incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then flip the cake out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool.

While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. Cut the grapefruit in half and squeeze the juice. Measure ⅓ cup juice (remove any seeds) and place in a small saucepan with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Heat on the stove, whisking, just until sugar is dissolved, and then remove from heat.

When the cake is done and cooling, slide a plate or tray under the cake on the rack. Slowly pour the juice mixture over the still-warm cake, allowing it to absorb as much of the juice as possible. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

Yield: 1 loaf

Lots-of-Apples Cake (Apple Sharlotka)

Committee meeting working lunch, 1/26/12

Slightly adapted from this recipe at SmittenKitchen.com

This cake is so delicious that it’s hard to stop at one piece. But since it’s mostly apples, making it healthier and lighter than many cakes, that’s not such a bad thing.

  • Butter or cooking spray for greasing pan
  • 6 large, tart apples (Granny Smiths are ideal)*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, almond extract, whiskey, brandy, rum, or other flavoring
  • 1 cup flour
  • Cinnamon for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” springform pan. (Note: you can also make this cake in a 7” x 11” sheet pan, although it is a little harder to get pieces out to eat.)

Peel the apples, then cut into bite-sized chunks. Pile the apples into the greased pan.

In a large bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat until very thick. The batter should fall off the whisk in thick ribbons. Beat in vanilla or other flavoring. Gently stir in flour with a spoon or spatula until just combined.

Pour the batter over the apples in the pan. Smooth the batter and apples so that they are level.

Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes, until apples are soft and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Dust with cinnamon before serving warm or at room temperature.

*While fruit trees can be finicky in Nebraska, local apples are available and can be stored well.

Winter Fruit Salad

Committee meeting working lunch, 1/11/12

Based on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Citrus fruit is never local in Nebraska. But it is seasonal, and it stores and ships well, so it’s a good choice for the winter when most fruits grown out of season are of poor quality. Dried fruits are also a good option in the winter, as are pears, which can be grown locally and stored for long periods of time.

  • 4 cups water
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 star anise (optional)
  • ½ plump vanilla bean (optional)
  • zest of 1 lemon, orange, or Meyer lemon, peeled off with a vegetable peeler
  • 12 dried apricots, cut in half
  • 8 dried figs, cut in quarters
  • 2 tablespoons juice from the zested fruit
  • 2 firm-ripe pears
  • 1 apple
  • 3 oranges, cut
  • 1 grapefruit

In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, star anise and vanilla (if using), and zest. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar, then remove from heat. Add dried fruit and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, peel and slice the pears and apple. Toss with the citrus juice.

When the dried fruit in syrup has cooled, add the pears and apples to the pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours to 12 hours.

Whenever you get a chance, prepare the oranges and grapefruit. Cut the peel away from the flesh, then cut out each individual section, leaving no membranes (see instructions here). Refrigerate the citrus sections until ready to use.

When ready to serve, remove the apple, pears, and dried fruit from the syrup. Toss with citrus sections and a few tablespoons of syrup, and serve. (Save the syrup for sweetening beverages, or other uses.)

Serves 8-12.