Saturday, February 19, 2011

Every 30 minutes...

"Every 30 minutes, a child is born who will develop a mitochondrial disease by age 10." 
For information on symptoms and how 
mitochondrial diseases affect both adults and children, visit

United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
8085 Saltsburg Road, Suite 201 | Pittsburgh, PA  15239
888-317-8633 | F: 412-793-6477 |

To promote research and education for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of mitochondrial disorders 
and to provide support to affected individuals and families.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Banana Cake

2 1/2 c. flour
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Sift above ingredients together and put in bowl.

2/3 c. shortening
1/3 c. buttermilk (If you do not have buttermilk handy, put 1 tbsp. lemon or white vinegar into a one cup container followed by whole milk to reach one cup. stir and let stand for 5 min.)
3 bananas (I assume these should be overly ripened and mashed.)

Now, the recipe indicates that the above three ingredients be added together, which I did. But then the 1/3 c. buttermilk ingredient is rewritten. I believe this is in error and when I made the banana cake I only added buttermilk once.

Add 2 eggs to the wet banana mixture and beat well. Add 2/3 c. nuts. (I assume this is optional and that you may use almost any type of nut you wish. My walnut supply was rancid so I ended up using sunflower seeds, which gave the banana cake a hearty flavor but perhaps with too much saltiness for some. 

Once again, the recipe does not tell us what size pan to use. Very problematic! I guessed an 8x8 pan because there didn't seem to be enough batter for a 9x13. This seemed to work; however, my oven is so old and unreliable when it comes to temperature control and accuracy that the middle of the cake did not cook properly. The recipe states 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees, but I would suggest playing with the time and temp and pan size to see what works best. If I made this again, I would either try the same time with a lower temp., a larger pan (9x13), or two loaf pans which would likely reduce overall baking time.  Have fun!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mitochondrial Disease Defined

What is mitochondrial disease?   As a reminder, my plan is to complete "Baking Gracefully" and publish it to raise money for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.  My sister has a mitochondrial disease and few people know what this means.  Click on the link provided in this post to learn more.

Some of you may recognize the term "mitochondria" from science class.  At Cardinal Mooney High School, Mr. Tierney taught us that the "mighty mitochondria" perform cellular respiration thereby giving the cell/organism energy.  Practically every cell in your body contains mitochondria with hundreds in the muscle cells where more energy is required.  One could imagine that if there is dysfunction in this cell structure some serious problems would result.  Mitochondria have their own DNA - handy for housing their own special set of genetic defects to be passed silently from generation to generation, eh?

Still a burgeoning area of research as the UMDF was founded only in 1998.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yellow Sunshine Cake

If you are looking to make a very traditional layer cake with homemade buttercream frosting, this is the recipe for you!  The cake is interesting because it requires no "oleo".  The fluffy batter made from whipped egg yolks and egg whites yields a very light, drier cake that, when drenched in buttercream, has a wedding cake flavor and consistency.  The recipe indicates a bake time of 1 hour at 325 degrees, but the size and type of pan is not listed.  I split the batter into three 8-9" rounds only to find that the bake time was reduced to about 20-30 min.  I am being intentionally vague because my oven is possessed.  If it is set at 350 the temp goes up to 400. If it is set at 325 it goes down to 300.  So I watched the cakes like a hawk and they still ended up a bit overdone but still delicious.  What I am saying is that you may wish to experiment with the actual baking pan(s), temp, and time.  Good luck!

6 egg yolks beaten for 15 minutes (save egg whites)
1/2 c. cold water - add to beaten egg yolks and beat 10 more min.
Add 1 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla (I beat the mixture for just a few seconds more)
Fold in 1 1/2 c. cake flour (and 1/4 tsp. salt - recipe doesn't say)
Beat egg whites stiff and add 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar - fold in

For the buttercream frosting I followed the directions on the bag of confectionary sugar.  I will say it involved 2 c. of butter and 7 c. of confectionary sugar, some vanilla and milk.  Enjoy!