filling

hearty kale and lentil soup

Back in my college days I was a vegetarian. I mean, who wasn’t a vegetarian for at least a little while in college though, right?

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I grew up in a strictly meat and potatoes (and dessert every night) kind of family, so straying from that formula was definitely a learning experience. I was on my own for the first time and I wanted to express myself as the “independent” young adult that I was… or something like that.

I don’t know.
I was 18.
Who are you to judge me?

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

I think that out of my whole family my grandmother had the hardest time wrapping her head around my new dietary choices. I mean, most of the family was sort of just like, “why?”, and rolled their eyes, but the first time I went home for Thanksgiving my poor grandmother was completely beside herself.

This was well before the bacon-ization of America and most of the sides at the table were totally vegetarian friendly, so I bellied up to the table and piled my plate high with squash and beans and potatoes and biscuits and corn and all sorts of amazing things. Grandma just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) accept that I was satisfied or full without having turkey and stuffing and gravy. She kept asking if I was okay and offering to go get me something else to eat.
Personally though, I was thrilled with all the different sides and it was one of the best meals I’d had in a long time. Grandma wasn’t buying it though.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Back at college I was doing my best to try new things, and was eating all sorts of things that I was unfamiliar with up until that point.

Crispy fried bean curd (basically general tso’s tofu) was one of my new favorite things at the Chinese restaurant on Main St., and a vegetarian chili made with TVP or “texturized vegetable protein” at the neighborhood health food store was a lunchtime staple in my diet. I also ate a lot of BK Whoppers without the meat. No veggie burger, just a Whopper with no meat. Don’t knock it till you try it.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

One thing that I never quite got into though, was lentils.

Something about lentils just conjured images of dusty old hippies gnawing on sprouted mung beans in some commune somewhere. While I was actually really into Phish and the Grateful Dead, the lentils (and the mung beans) didn’t appeal to me.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

It wasn’t until much later, after meat found it’s way back into my life, that I tried lentils. My years as a vegetarian taught me a lot about how to make a tasty & filling meatless meal, and that I should always be open to trying new things.

There was a time shortly after I moved to Brooklyn when I was out of work for a little bit and a good friend found herself out of work at the same time. We decided to save money by cooking big cheap meals together that we could share and eat for a few days. We came across a recipe for a pureed french lentil soup, and given that lentils are like a buck a bag, we decided to go for it.

It was love at first bite and for years that was my go to lentil soup recipe.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Lately though, I’ve been wanting to try something different. Something new. I figured that I might add some diced tomatoes to the soup for a bit of brightness and acid, and throw in some lacinato kale for texture and color and to make the soup feel even healthier and more substantial.

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

This is just the kind of thing I crave this time of year. A hearty, healthy, filling soup to warm my old bones on a cold winter night. Tender veggies, earthy al dente lentils, chewy dark green kale, bright acidic tomatoes, a bit of heat from the chili flakes, and fresh green parsley. Just perfect.

While this soup would probably fall under the “healthy” category, I promise that it doesn’t taste like health food. No dusty hippie communes here, just bright, delicious, hearty soup. And even though this soup is technically vegan, you won’t miss the meat at all. This soup is so thick and hearty it’s practically a stew!

kale and lentil soup | Brooklyn Homemaker

Hearty Kale and Lentil Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced onions (1 large onion)
1 cup sliced carrots (about 3 carrots)
1 cup sliced celery (about 3 to 4 stalks)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
one 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup dried green or brown lentils
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bunch Lacinato kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large heavy stockpot or dutch oven. Add onions, carrots, and celery, & season with salt and pepper. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté one minute more. Add tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes to concentrate their flavor. Add lentils and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kale and parsley and simmer 5 minutes more. Check that lentils are tender. Add vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and some nice crusty bread. A bit of parmesan cheese could be a nice touch too.

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl #bundtbakers

I’m sorry, but I really hate the phrase, “made it by the skin of my teeth”

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

A) Seriously, how gross is that?
B) What the heck does that even mean? Teeth don’t have skin.
Unless we’re talking about gums here, in which case, that’s even weirder/grosser/more nonsensical.

Anyway, even though I don’t like or understand that saying, in this case it’s true. I made it. Just in the nick of time.

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

If you’ve been paying attention, you already know that my oven has been broken (along with my heart). My landlord, in tandem with Brooklyn’s slowest appliance repair company, have been taking their sweeeeeeet time fixing it.

As difficult as going oven-less has been for me, my biggest concern through this whole agonizing experience has been that I might not be able to bake along with the bundt bakers this month. It may have been painful to have cookies taken off the menu and chicken taken out of the oven and put on the back burner (literally), but DO NOT mess with my bundts. I’ve baked a bundt cake each and every month since I found this rag-tag (though truly well organized) team of bakers, and having to bow out because of an ancient apartment oven and a foot-dragging repairman was seriously bumming me out.

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

Luckily the repair man pulled through at the eleventh hour. On Monday he came through with the backordered fuse in hand and within an hour my baby was back in working order. I was at work at the time, but Russell was filling me in from home and once the oven was purring again we were sending jubilant texts back and forth for the rest of the day. I was like a giddy school girl. 16 days with no oven can do that to a guy.

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

With no time to spare, I assembled the ingredients for my cake and set to work. The lovely Anshie of Spice Roots is our group’s host this month, and she chose “Hidden Surprise” as our theme (which is appropriate, because my ability to even make this cake was a total surprise!).
The idea was to bake a cake with a filling or ingredient inside that isn’t visible until it’s sliced. From the outside it looks like any ordinary cake, but once sliced a whole universe of delicious is revealed.

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

At first I was having a really difficult time deciding what to do with this theme. My mind immediately went toward berries and chocolate, but in my experience berries always want to sink through the batter and settle into what, once un-molded, is the top of the cake. That wouldn’t really be much of a surprise would it? I pawed at a few other ideas in my head but nothing really seemed to take.

That all changed about two weeks ago when I caught a nasty bug and couldn’t get off the couch for a few days.

When I was growing up, my grandmother always prescribed the same “medicine” whenever I was sick. The patient always needed canned chicken noodle soup, plain vanilla ice cream, warm ginger ale, and graham crackers. Now that I’m older the chicken soup seems to make sense, but the vanilla ice cream just seems like a bad idea. I don’t really get the warm part of the ginger ale, but I guess the lack of ice was supposed to be easier on the stomach, and I suppose graham crackers are easy on an upset tummy too.
To this day, whenever I get sick, I always crave these things. Once I was well enough to actually eat, I went through an entire box of graham crackers in like two days. All that was left was a small trail of graham cracker crumbs.

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

That’s when it hit me, what if I made a cake using crushed graham cracker crumbs in place of some of the flour?
And what better flavor to pair with graham cracker crumbs than key lime pie?
Better yet, key lime CHEESECAKE!!!

Surprise!

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

I can’t accurately describe how amazing this cake is. Words like moist, tender, flavorful, warm, & homey come to mind to describe the graham cracker cake, but really don’t do it justice. This cake is out of this world. Why hasn’t this been done before? If it has, why haven’t I been informed? Graham cracker cake, filling or not, is something I’d like to be buried with. Hillary should choose graham cracker cake as her running mate. Seriously. Clinton/ Graham Cracker Cake/ 2016.

I could have paired this cake with any number of fillings and knocked it out of the park. Chocolate and marshmallow “S’mores” cake would have been amazing, but KEY LIME CHEESECAKE was a real stroke of genius. Seriously, out of this world. I want to use words like tangy, rich, creamy, silky, & decadent; but like I said, words cannot describe the otherworldly levels of deliciousness happening inside this cake.

Go make this. Now.
(you can thank me later)

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

Graham Cracker Bundt Cake with Key Lime Cheesecake Swirl

  • Servings: 12 to 16-ish
  • Print
Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
pinch of salt
1 large egg
4 tablespoons key lime juice
finely grated zest of 1 lime

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for pan)
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs (plus more for topping)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks, plus more for pan)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Glaze:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons key lime juice
pinch of salt
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 and move the rack to the center position.  Generously butter and flour a 10 to 12 cup bundt pan. Tap out extra flour and refrigerate.

To make the filling; cream sugar, softened cream cheese, and salt together in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer) on high speed. Beat until fluffy and completely free of lumps, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add egg, and mix to combine. Add lime juice and zest and mix to combine. Scrape filling out into a small bowl and set aside. Wash bowl or at least scrape it out well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, baking powder, & salt. Set aside. In the same bowl as before, cream the butter with sugars on high speed until pale, light, & fluffy; about 4 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating on low to combine after each addition. On low speed, alternate three additions of flour and two additions buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, scraping the bowl between additions. Do not over-mix. Scrape batter out into prepared pan and use your spatula to push the thick batter up the walls of the pan to create a well in the center.
Pour the filling into the center of the well, and use a small icing spatula or butter knife to swirl the filling into the cake batter. Try to avoid scraping the bottom or sides of the pan.
Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before turning out of the pan onto the rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and lump free. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add lime juice and salt. Beat again until smooth and lump free. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. (I used all 3 tablespoons)

Pour or drizzle glaze evenly over the top of the cake and sprinkle a few tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs over the top.
Cake should keep, tightly covered at room temperature, for about 3 days. If you refrigerate it bring it back up to room temperature before serving.

graham cracker bundt cake with key lime cheesecake swirl | Brooklyn Homemaker

Are your taste buds ready for a few more delicious surprises? There are a whole lot of tasty secrets hidden within these recipes y’all. Check it out.

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BundtBakers

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Interested in learning more about us? #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com. If you are just a lover of Bundt baking, you can find all of our recipe links by clicking our badge above or on our group Pinterest board.