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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake for Book Clubs

















Welcome to all our readers who belong to book clubs! While I agree with Victoria Abbott about chocolate, both MURDER, SHE BARKED, and THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER take place in the fall, so apple cake seemed appropriate. In the books, Holly Miller is taking up her grandmother's offer to become a partner in the Sugar Maple Inn on Wagtail Mountain.

The inn serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, so there are always wonderful goodies available. If your book club is meeting for dinner, you might want to try Oma's Hungarian Goulash, which you can prepare in advance. But I would guess most book clubs really just need some coffee or wine and a delicious cake. This is the kind of thing that would be served at afternoon tea at the Sugar Maple Inn.

I was inspired when I saw a recipe for an apple cake with caramel on top. We have gobbled this up – just can't get enough of it. The cake is packed with applesauce and grated apples, which make it very moist and the overly sweet caramel on top is irresistible.

Two tips for making this cake. First, when you add the grated apples to the batter, take a minute to rinse off all the parts of your food processor. It will make cleanup so much easier!

Second, use sugar instead of flour to prevent the cake from sticking to your bundt pan. I just read about this and did a quick Internet search to be sure I was doing it correctly. There's nothing to it. Be sure to butter your pan very well, then just sprinkle sugar on it, much like you would flour. The key is to do it just before adding the batter so that the sugar doesn't start to melt. I have never had a bundt cake turn out so easily and perfectly before. Plus, it adds a little sugar to the cake. You'll notice that I removed one tablespoon of sugar from the recipe, just so the cake won't be overly sweet. Then I added one more tablespoon to get full greasing coverage on the pan.

All you need now is a good book, good friends, and a great cup of coffee.


Caramel Apple Bundt Cake


Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup pecans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter at room temperature + extra for greasing the pan
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar + extra
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup applesauce
2 medium apples, peeled and cored

Place flour, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are fine. Transfer the flour mixture to a bowl. Insert the grating disk and grate the apples.

Preheat oven to 350.

Take 1 tablespoon of sugar out of the plain sugar and set it aside. Cream the butter with the sugars. Beat in the eggs. Alternate adding applesauce and the flour mixture until completely combined. Stir in the grated apples.

Grease the bundt pan liberally. Sprinkle the extra sugar on the butter. You may need another tablespoon of sugar for full coverage. Use a cooking spoon to ladle the batter into the bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake 40 minutes or until it begins to pull away from the sides and a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to rest on a baking rack about 5-10 minutes. Loosen the edges, and flip onto the rack. When cool, top with caramel.

Caramel

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 heavy cream

Place the ingredients in a deep microwave safe dish (I used a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup). Microwave in short bursts, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles up and the sugar melts. (You may find that you even like it if the sugar doesn't melt!)




Pulse pecans with the flour and spices.

Sugar the pan instead of using flour!

Spoon in the thick batter.

Before adding caramel.

So moist!

Coming December 2nd

Where it all started . . .

In honor of Book Club Week, I'm giving away a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote bag to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post before midnight September 3rd. Good luck, everyone!



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to Make a Soul Cake + Comment to Win on a Halloween Poll from Cleo Coyle


What is a Soul Cake?

Short answer: The soul cake is the culinary antecedent to the candy treats we give out on Halloween night. Of course, this holiday, which celebrates ghosts and goblins and other scary things, makes little logical sense. I mean, really—if some denizen of the underworld were to knock on your door on a dark October night, would you chase it away by throwing candy at it?

Well, it seems the time-honored tradition requires that we do just that. About fifteen hundred years ago, Druids celebrated the fall festival of Samhain (the dying sun god), by lighting bonfires. They believed the souls of the dead returned to the physical world on Samhain eve and the fires would help ward them off. 

As Christianity spread, Samhain was turned into All Souls' Eve (Halloween) and All Souls' Day (November 1), when the faithful said prayers to honor their dead ancestors. It was during this time that a new tradition was born. On All Souls' Eve, beggars and the children of the poor went from house to house, asking for food and promising to pray for the dead souls of your ancestors in return. As the custom evolved, these “soulers” were given “soul cakes” for their trouble. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. This practice, of giving sweet treats to those who knocked on your door on All Souls’ Eve, is thought to be one of the origins of modern Halloween trick-or-treating.



In 1891, a minister in Cheshire, England, wrote down a traditional song sung by Medieval soulers, learned from a little girl at the local school.

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

In 1963, Peter, Paul and Mary recorded a version of this traditional song. Here’s Sting’s (very beautiful) rendition, which he blends with the wassail song:

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CLEO COYLE'S
PUMPKIN SPICE
SOUL CAKES

Like many old recipes, soul cakes came in several variations, depending on the region and time period. Some were more like shortbread, biscuits, or scones, others more like yeasty buns. Most were packed with spices and dried fruits and topped with a cross.

Although my little soul cakes look somewhat like the historical versions, I made mine lighter, moister, and sweeter treats to eat. Instead of dry, rather mealy Medieval biscuits (or yeast buns that require rising time), my soul cakes are a cross between quick-and-easy pumpkin muffins and whoopie pies with brown sugar and plenty of fall spices for flavor. The pumpkin provides good moistness; and the combination of pumpkin and canola oil (instead of butter) creates soul cakes that are a tad healthier for you than traditional versions, while still being quite tasty for breakfast or coffee break snacks. 

May you eat them with joy...
and may God bless you! 

~ Cleo



To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, CLICK HERE.


Servings: about 24 Little Cakes



Ingredients:

2 large eggs


½ cup vegetable oil (I use canola) 

1 cup whole milk (use whole for added fat, better flavor and texture)

1 (15-ounce) can of pureed pumpkin (about 2 cups)

1 cup light brown sugar 

½ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 

1 teaspoon ginger 

1 teaspoon nutmeg 

¼ teaspoon cloves 

½ teaspoon table salt (or 1 teaspoon coarse salt)

3 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups all-purpose flour 

1 cup raisins and/or craisins (sweetened dried cranberries).

If you're not a fan of raisins or craisins, try chocolate chips.

NOTE: I make these little cakes in a rustic way (via a simple "drop and swirl" method on a baking sheet, more on how to do this below). If you would like a more finished looking Soul Cake for company or a bake sale, simply use a whoopie pie pan like the one shown here. Mound the dough into the pan tins, and the little cakes will spread and rise more evenly for you.

(1) One bowl mixing method: First preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Place eggs in bowl and whisk. Add oil, milk, canned pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt. Whisk until blended. Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Stir well to blend the flour into a smooth batter. (You can use an electric mixer, if you like, but do not over mix.) 





(2) Prep pan and drop: For best results, line baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat the paper with non-stick cooking spray. For each cake, fill the quarter cup (1/4) container of your measure cup set and mound it onto the prepared baking sheet. (Or use a ¼-cup size cookie scoop.) Leave room between for spreading. 




(3) Swirl and decorate: Use the back of a tablespoon to swirl the mound of batter into a relatively even circle that is a little bit flatter than the mound but not too flat. (See my photos as a guide.) Using raisins and craisins (or chocolate chips), create a cross on the cake to represent the prayers that beggars and the children of the poor once offered in exchange for the treat. 




(4) Bake: Oven should be well pre-heated to 400° F. Bake about 10 – 15 minutes (depending on oven and size of your cake). Serve warm with butter or allow to cool and dust with powdered sugar if you like. 





Storage notes: Once cool, store your Pumpkin Soul Cakes in the refrigerator after wrapping each separately in plastic or wax paper. They should keep several days that way and can be reheated in about 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave.



And now for those  
Halloween Trick or Treaters!
Here's a poll for you...









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To learn about
this fun, fast-paced,
holiday-themed mystery,

 click here.


Holiday Buzz



Holiday Buzz is a culinary
mystery that includes
many delicious holiday
and cookie
 recipes!




For a free
Recipe Guide to Holiday Buzz
Click here.






 

Eat with 

*spirited* joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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Coffeehouse Mystery
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murder mysteries set in a landmark
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Good luck!


*** 




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