Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Apple #Cake with Caramel Glaze

We were invited to dinner at a neighbor's and I wanted to take something along and found this recipe for apple cake.  The best part was I had everything on hand already and didn't need to go to the grocery store.

The cake was wonderfully moist with good flavor.  The caramel glaze was...wait for it...the icing on the cake. 


2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 tsps vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 medium apples, peeled and cored and chopped

1/2 cup butter
2 tsps heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Prepare apples.

Beat sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs until light and fluffy.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir into batter until blended.

Fold in the apples by hand. The batter will be thick.  Pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 55 to 70 minutes. ) Mine took around 55 minutes so be sure to check often.)

Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pan and then invert onto a wire rack or cake plate.

Caramel Glaze

Heat the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a boil.  Stir to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat.

Add vanilla and stir.  Let sit 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.

Drizzle over cake. 

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Apple Raisin Cake

I am addicted to The Great British Baking Show, which seems to be on most local PBS stations all the time. I am craving vanilla paste (whatever that is—my market doesn’t have any). I now know what “strong” flour is (higher gluten content). I am particularly enamored of the Slide and Hide ovens from the show—so much so that I’ve installed one in my Irish cottage (but haven’t had a chance to use it yet, sigh).

Don’t we all envy two people who get to eat as many different kinds of baked goods as they choose, and get paid for it? Former hosts Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (a new cast debuted in England last year) certainly look like they’re enjoying their job (and why don't they each weigh 200 pounds?). And while I will probably never make more than ten percent of the baked goods seen on the show, I’m very happy to know how some of those cakes and biscuits and traybakes are made, so I know what to order when I find the right bakery.

I have Mary’s cookbook 100 Cakes and Bakes, and I’ve made a number of the recipes. This one is a modified version of one of them, adapted for American ingredients.

Apple Raisin Cake


7-inch high sided round cake tin with removable base
(Okay, in the real world, how many of you have a 7” pan? I used an 8” one. It worked just fine.)

1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
(the last of the Bramley apples I brought from Ireland. They last really well!)

4 oz (1 stick) butter, softened
4 oz (by weight) light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
6 oz (by weight) self-rising flour (note: if you don’t have any, which most of us don’t, you can make your own according to this recipe: sift together 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1-1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. This turned out to be the right amount for this recipe)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 oz (by weight) raisins (if they seem dry you can soak them in boiling water for a short time—be sure to drain them well before adding them to the cake)(oops, my husband ate all the raisins without telling me, so I substituted currants)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the baking tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Put the apple slices in a small pan, add a dash of water, and cook util just tender. Mash it up a little with a fork (do not make applesauce!). Set aside and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until blended. 

In another bowl, mix together the warm apples and the baking soda. The mixture will fizz, but don’t worry about that. Add it to the butter/sugar mixture.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg and cinnamon and add to the butter/sugar mixture. (If you’re wondering where the salt it, remember that it’s in the flour!) Add the raisins (or currants) and fold in with a rubber spatula.

Turn out the mixture into the cake tin and level it.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and has begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and finish cooling on a wire rack.

To serve, you may dust it with a bit of confectioner’s sugar.

Reviewers have been very kind! Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say:

In Connolly’s smart sixth County Cork mystery (after 2017’s Cruel Winter), John Byrne, one of the new American owners of a high-class hotel at Crann Mor, and his management team meet with American transplant Maura Donovan at Sullivan’s, the pub she owns in the Irish village of Leap, to discuss arranging for hotel guests to visit the pub. Hours later, John is found dead, having fractured his skull after apparently falling down a hill on the hotel grounds. During the subsequent police investigation, Helen Jenkins, the marketing manager of John’s company, asks to speak to Maura. When Helen confesses to Maura that she’s her long-lost mother, Maura can’t sort out her feelings about the woman who abandoned her more than 20 years earlier, but she also can’t ignore the bond. For her mother’s sake, Maura, who’s been involved in solving crimes before, decides to look into the suspicious circumstances of John’s death. Connolly vividly evokes rural Ireland, and her characters seem like real human beings trying their best to navigate their lives.

Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cranberry Apple Cake #ChristmasWeek #Recipe @PegCochran

It's late afternoon but it's already nearly dark out.  Snow is lazily drifting down--big, fat flakes--and you can see twinkling Christmas lights through your window.  Suddenly, there's a knock on the door!  It's too early for Santa--who could it be?  Just then you hear voices raised in song and when you fling open your door, carolers are standing on your front walk.  They have brightly colored scarves tied around their necks, and their faces are ruddy from the cold.

They finish their song and you invite them inside for some cake and hot cocoa topped with whipped cream.  Fortunately, you baked this cranberry apple cake earlier that day!  It's still warm and glistens with the dark red of the cranberries.

Cranberry Apple Cake

This cake isn't terribly sweet and is perfect for afternoon tea. 

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 cup sweetened apple sauce
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
Powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and continue to cream.

Add apple sauce and mix well.  (Batter will look slightly curdled)

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

Add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Stir in oatmeal and cranberry sauce.

Bake in a greased and floured 9" square pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.   Dust with powdered sugar.


Barnes & Noble

The USA Today bestselling author of Unholy Matrimony is back with a new Lucille Mystery! This time Lucille must track down the killer of a diet guru who had a lot more to lose than just a few extra pounds.

With her best friend Flo’s wedding approaching, Lucille is desperate to trim down and joins Weigh to Lose, a weight-loss program led by a clipboard-wielding harridan who’s as unattractively thin as she is shrill. When the bossy woman turns up dead with her throat slashed and a tasty-looking cannoli stuffed in her mouth, Lucille figures she got her just desserts.

But when the local police come up empty-handed, Lucille sinks her teeth into the mystery and narrows the list of suspects to a husband with a wandering eye, a sexy young Swedish au pair, and a gambler deep in debt to the wrong people. Until one of the suspects becomes the victim of another gruesome murder.

Afraid she’s bitten off more than she can chew and worried that she might be next on the killer’s list, Lucille puts her own neck on the line with a wild plan to trap the culprit and tip the scales of justice.

If you want a very funny murder mystery, then this book is for you. I’ve never laughed so hard while reading before.” —Goodreads, on Unholy Matrimony, Book 2 in the USA Today bestselling Lucille Mystery Series


NYC 1938.  Featuring Elizabeth "Biz" Adams, debutante turned crime photographer! 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Streusel

I've been trying to use the gadgets that I have, and to that end, I ordered America's Test Kitchen's Food Processor Perfection. I've had fun looking through it and trying out some recipes. The food processor is a real workhorse, but I don't make as much use of it as I could.

Inspired by one their recipes, I tried making a pumpkin cake. It was an interesting experiment. One of our favorite cakes (often requested for birthdays) is a food processor cake but it only has a few ingredients. This one was a little more complex.

One of the things they point out is that the food processor makes it easier to incorporate items that need to be chopped or shredded first. Why not keep using it to make the whole cake?

The process isn't that different from making a cake using a mixer. You start with all the dry items (flour, spices, etc.) and then add the wet items. It made a lovely thick batter for the pumpkin cake.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Streusel
inspired by a recipe from Food Processor Perfection


1 cup pecans

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon water


1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted + extra for pan

1/2 15-ounce can of pumpkin (roughly 7.5 ounces)

1 large egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. While it's heating, toast the pecans on a baking sheet. Grease and flour a springform pan. Place cooled pecans in food processor with sugar and process until ground. Add cinnamon, salt, butter and water and pulse until it makes clumps. Only about 8 pulses. Set aside.

Wipe out the food processor with a paper towel.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to food processor and pulse to combine well. Add butter, pumpkin, egg, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Process about 10 seconds. Scrape the sides. Pulse 5 times. Pour into prepared pan.

Dot the top with small amounts of the streusel and smooth together so they cover the top. Bake 40 minutes or until the middle is set and the cake begins to pull away from the sides.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Almost here!

Friday, September 22, 2017

How We Cook and Apple Ginger Cake

So I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying to pry my eyes open and reading the paper, when I stumbled on a foodie article by Janelle Nanosin in the Boston Globe. Mainly it was about millennials and cookware, but she also commented on how millennials look at food and how they prepare it. What caught my eye was her statement, "The species [i.e., millennials] shop at Whole Foods and order meal kits from Blue Apron, scan for recipe ideas, and then document dishes on social media." 

We here at MLK probably have well over a century of cooking experience among us. I shop at Whole Foods when I'm near one, but I've never ordered a meal kit from anywhere, nor had I ever heard of (Okay, we do all talk about food on social media.) I'm more likely to look for ideas on Epicurious, which in comparison to Food52 seems kind of stodgy.

So I took a peek at Food52. Oh my--they promise nearly 3,000 apple recipes. The recipes overall are a bit edgier than those on Epicurious, with a broader range of ingredients and more foreign dishes. They certainly look interesting, but . . .  What? Are we stuck in the past with our mothers' cookbooks (guilty as charged--I've been known to give you recipes here that are a couple of centuries old)? Not that I'm against trying new ingredients and ways to combine them, but there were a few examples of Food52 that kind of pushed my limits. Polenta with sausage and apples? Quinoa salad with hazelnuts, apples and cranberries? Definitely a lot of creativity here, but I'm not sure I want to make them (I might try one if I saw it on a restaurant menu, though).

But my apple crop is at its peak and we're eating as many as we can straight off the tree, so I found a cake recipe that combines apples and ginger (powdered and fresh), both favorites. And of course I changed a few things, starting with the apple varieties. The original recipe called for a hearty dose of dark rum, which I don't happen to have, so I swapped in Irish whiskey.

The result? The cake worked (came out of the pan easily), and has a nice balance of flavors. I loved the buried layer of apples which peek out. It's a little more complicated than some apple cake recipes, but it's a bit more interesting. 

Apple Ginger Cake

3 large firm apples (or four smaller ones)

4 Tblsp turbinado sugar*
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for 
     greasing the pan and sauteeing the apples

*A note about turbinado sugar: it’s raw sugar made from pure cane sugar extract. You can substitute demerara sugar, which is easier to find in markets–that's basically the same but with coarser but more uniform crystals.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan (if you know yours leaks, wrap the bottom outside with foil).

Core and peel the apples and cut into thin slices. Melt about 2 Tblsp of butter in a saucepan and cook until it begins to brown. Add the apple slices to the pan and stir until all the slices are covered with butter. 

Sprinkle about 2 Tblsp of turbinado sugar over the apples and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.

1-1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tblsp lemon zest (1 medium lemon)
1 Tblsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 Tblsp molasses
3 Tblsp Irish whiskey
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yoghurt

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Dry ingredients in my vintage sifter

In a stand mixer with the paddle blade, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the two eggs and beat. Then add the lemon zest, ground ginger, molasses, whiskey and vanilla (the mixture may look curdled, but don’t worry).

By hand, stir in the flour mixture a little at a time, stirring after each addition. When the batter is smooth, fold in the milk and the yoghurt and combine thoroughly.

Scrape half the batter into the buttered pan. Cover with the apple slices, then spread the rest of the batter over the top. Smooth the top, then sprinkle with the rest of the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a racks, and run a knife around the edge to loosen. The open the springform ring and remove the cake. Let it cool on the rack. 

You can serve it with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you like.

Less than two months until the release of A Late Frost! (Yes, the cover image looks just like my apple crop--well, almost.)

Available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.