Snickerdoodle Magic Cake

Snickerdoodle Magic Cake

Snickerdoodle Magic Cake

 


I think we all know by now that I tend to be late on trends. I am ornery, I am contrary, I am too darn independent for my own good and every time a food gets trendy, I mentally fold my arms over my chest, stick my nose up in the air, give a silent “hmmpphhh” and walk off until it’s no longer trendy. Which of course is a case of biting off my nose to spite my face (on THAT note, you know how most sayings got their starts in something that actually happened at one time? Well, I want to know who the heck bit off their own nose to spite their face and how the heck they even did that! What? That’s the way my mind works. I never claimed it was pretty in my head!) because then, by the time I come off my high horse and try something, everyone else is already bored with it.

But I think I may have gotten this one in under the wire. I am still seeing incarnations of “Magic Cake” all over the place. You can see different flavors everywhere you look. Except for one flavor. Snickerdoodle. I looked and looked to make sure and no one else had a Snickerdoodle Magic Cake. Woo to the Hoo for being first at something!

What is a Magic Cake, you ask? In theory,Β  the thin batter bakes up into 3 distinct layers. I say in theory because I tried twice and mine didn’t separate. Mind you, I used cream in this instead of milk thus the liquid that is fattier could have had something to do with that. But you know what? That’s ok. This is good as it is and I wouldn’t change it just to get layers. Layers, schmayers. Pahhh! Who needs ’em?! I ended up with a nice thick custardy layer that has a smidgen of a cakey layer on top, all of this flavored with the cinnamon sugar taste that makes you think of Snickerdoodles.

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Snickerdoodle Magic Cake

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream, lightly warmed
  • 3/4 cup flour, whisked together with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for dusting the top of the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil.
  2. In a small bowl, at high speed, beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the cream of tarter until stiff peaks form, about five minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, at high speed, beat together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until pale yellow and creamy looking.
  4. Mix in the flour mixture. Now, use a whisk to slowly whisk in the warm cream (trust me; don’t use an electric beater. The mixture is soupy and will splatter EVERYWHERE.), then mix in the butter and finally, fold in the egg whites.
  5. Pour this into the prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees until the top is a nice light golden brown and the top is firm but still jiggles some when shaken, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Let cool in the pan until completely cooled (I refrigerated mine because I have a thing for chilled custards), then carefully use the foil to lift the whole thing out onto a board to cut into serving sized pieces. Dust with the powdered sugar/cinnamon mixture. Serve.

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Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting



I could have SWORN Spring was here. The calendar says so, the Farmers Almanac says so, the fact that I had (key word…had) pretty Hyacinths blooming said so. But obviously God and Mother Nature are a wee bit confused. That or they were bored and figured playing a practical joke on all of us would be a good way to pass the time. I guess eating chocolate and watching reruns of House aren’t popular up there when you’re bored. Here in Kentucky, we had to cover all our budding fruit trees and plants in the hopes that the low temps of mid twenties we are supposed to get tonight won’t kill them. My Hyacinths were a lost cause though. The cold of last night already got them *sobs*

I was all prepared for warm weather baking however. Yes, I know that many of you think baking is insane in warmer weather but 1) I’m kind of warped that way and 2) it’s kind of my job… I can’t go on hiatus from April till October πŸ˜› So I still bake… I just change the theme. Pumpkin goes away (well, off the blog anyway. I love it so I still use it here at home), cranberries stay in the freezer and citrus, fresh herbs, and lighter foods (relatively speaking… I’m still me, after all) get made. So I had my mind set on lemon and I’ll be darned if I change it because God didn’t want to watch House or maybe play Rummy with Gabriel.

This is one yummy cake. The recipe in it’s original form comes from a Better Homes And Garden magazine I have. I didn’t change much, just added vanilla, almond and lemon extracts to both the cake and two of those to the frosting, used my own lemon curd recipe (theirs called for a cornstarch custard and to me, that’s just not the same) and didn’t do the caramelized lemons they called for. I just used sugared lemons. Easier, still deliciously edible if one swings that way and did I mention easier?

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Lemon Layer Cake With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cake-
  • 1 batch of Lemon Curd or one cup of store bought lemon curd (but I’ll cry if you use store bought. There is NO comparison.)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Boyajian Lemon Oil (or an equivalent amount of lemon extract)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Frosting-
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Lemon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Garnish (optional)-
  • 2 thinly sliced lemons
  • 1 cup sugar (you won’t use it all, but it clumps from the moisture of the lemons so you need extra. The leftovers go great in tea.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9 inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add in the sugar, extracts, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until well combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Alternate adding in the flour and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour (flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour), beating just until combined after each addition. Divide the batter between the 3 prepared pans.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25 to 28 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and spring back when touched. Cool in the pans for ten minutes, then carefully loosen with a butter knife and invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. While cake cools, make frosting- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat well until smooth and creamy, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the extracts and beat until combined. Add in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time (unless you fancy looking like you just drove through a sand storm), beating well after each addition. Add just enough to get a good spreading consistency. When done, stir in the lemon zest.
  7. To assemble, lay one cake layer on your serving plate. Spread it with 1/2 cup of the lemon curd. Top with another layer; again spread with 1/2 cup of curd. Carefully place the top layer on, pressing down LIGHTLY to hold them together. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the frosting.
  8. For the garnish, JUST before serving (the sugar starts to melt and drip after while, so don’t do it until ready to serve), toss the lemon slices with the sugar until lightly coated. Do a few at a time or the sugar clumps and you get too thick of a coating on the lemon slices. Arrange them on the top of the cake. Serve.

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Coconut Tres Leches Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Cakes

Coconut Tres Leches Cakes



It’s been an interesting few weeks. The weather practically nationwide has been astonishingly cold. We even got noticeable snow (like 6 inches) of snow here in Kentucky. More mass chaos world wide, politics still suck donkey toes and I STILL haven’t won the lottery. Go figure. Plus, I had surgery and surgery when you’re an old fogey like me is just not quite as easy as when you’re a young pup.

Today was the first day I had cooked since having the surgery. I stood and wobbled over the stove making dinner as my field of vision got smaller and smaller and things got gray while I tried not to pass out lol…. I have this really really bad habit of overdoing things.

I did finally manage to make the cake I mentioned wanting to make a few days ago on my facebook page. Wow, that sentence was awkward grammatically. Sorry… moving on… cake, facebook, yada yada… I said days ago that I was gong to make a Tres Leches Cake. Well, here it is. This was my first time ever having Tres Leche cake and I’m going to be 100% honest with you….. I know this cake is a favorite dessert of many people and quite a popular recipe with many variations if you google it. But…. it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I am, of course, still posting it, because it isn’t always about what I like. Sure, most of what I blog about I enjoy but sometimes I will post things that I didn’t care for just because I know some of you WILL enjoy it. This was a nice moist cake and the way I flavored it, it was wonderfully flavored. But the whole sauce soaked into cake thing didn’t work for me. But again, I know some of you will love this…. soft cake, creamy coconut flavored sauce, and not difficult to make.

The original recipe for this came from Bon Appetit. I made only minor changes, those being the use of coconut extract and coconut milk as well as the lime zest.

You know the drill…. πŸ™‚

Coconut Tres Leche Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13×9 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and lime zest.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add in the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating just to blend after each one. Beat in the 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring.
  5. Alternately add in the flour and the 1/2 cup half and half,Β  starting with and ending with the flour (flour, half and half, flour, half and half, flour), beating well after each addition.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Lower heat to 325 and continue to bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched on top.
  7. While cake is baking, in a large measuring cup, combine the coconut milk, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavoring.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then poke holes all over it with a wooden skewer or fork.Β  Slowly pour about half of the cream topping over the cake, smoothing it to get it down in the holes. Let that soak in for a few minutes, then pour about half of what is left on it, again letting it soak in. The rest can be used to pour over individual slices of cake (or just eaten with a spoon…hey, i said I liked the topping! πŸ˜› )
  9. Serve the cake with extra topping poured over it, if desired.

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Pumpkin Spice Cake With A Creamy Mascarpone Swirl

Pumpkin Spice Cake With A Creamy Mascarpone Swirl

Pumpkin Spice Cake With A Creamy Mascarpone Swirl


Back when she was little, my daughter Rachel didn’t like pumpkin pie. For a minute or two each year, I would contemplate sending her to an orphanage a la Oliver Twist style, until she got so hungry that even my pie looked good. Honestly, I think I always just wanted someone to hold a bowl out to me and say (in a cockney accent) “May I have some more, sir?” Though no, I have no idea why they would be calling me sir. I have rather prominent boobs. Hard to mistake me for a guy. But I digress.

Now, she goes back and forth. One year she hates pumpkin pie and then another she’ll like it. Go figure. I think we all know a pumpkin pie hating weirdo though. I’m looking at YOU, Kim, you pepsi swigging pumpkin hater.Β  So what can you do? Especially since it’s so hard to find an orphanage. Make something ELSE pumpkin flavored and refuse to let them have any stuffing, turkey or cranberry sauce until they eat something pumpkin. WHAT!? It seems reasonable enough to me.

Thursday we will be bringing meals over to the volunteer firefighters who have to work and one of the things I’m bringing is one of these cakes. The recipe makes two and who better to share with than the gentlmen who will come save my home from burning if I drink a bit too much Cabernet while I cook? πŸ˜›

This came from the Saveur web site. They are pretty much my favorite cooking magazine and this cake is one of the reasons why. This is moist, not overly sweet, thus perfect after a heavy meal, has a touch of crunch from crispy edges and the pepitas on top. I changed it just a bit. The original called for just plain mascarpone and I know my family well enough to know that unsweetened dollops of a creamy cheese wouldn’t work. I’m glad I changed it. The cake really is NOT that sweet so the mascarpone flavored with a touch of sugar and vanilla was a nice counterpoint to the cake itself. I also added more spice (and deleted the cardamom because I didn’t have any nor the cash to buy any) than they called for and I’m again glad I did. It could use maybe even a bit more than what I added.

You know the drill….

Pumpkin Spice Cake With A Creamy Mascarpone Swirl

  • Β 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 16 ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
  • zest of one orange (I used 1/2 teaspoon of orange oil)
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil (I used vegetable and it was fine. I don’t like canola oil)
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  1. Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans. I used 9 inch pans and this was still fine; made a nice thick cake.
  2. On a small bowl, combine the mascarpone, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix well and set aside
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and spices.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil, orange zest and canola oil. Mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Beat well until thoroughly combined. Divide the batter between the two pans.
  6. Dollop the mascarpone mix evenly over the two pans. Use a butter knife to swirl it into the batter lightly. Sprinkle the pepitas evenly over the two cakes.
  7. Bake at 350 for about 35 to 40 minutes or untila wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about ten minutes, then turn out of pan to finish cooling.

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

 

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing


I’m not normally big on cakes. One reason is because I stink at the whole frosting and decorating process. Thus why you get a highly cropped photo lol. Editing is a great way to hide the flaws. The other reasons? I don’t know. Simply that when it comes to desserts, I’m a creamy type of girl, i.e., ice cream, mousses, puddings etc. After that, I love a good pie.

But there are times I just want a big old slab of plain old chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It’s one of those simple pleasures, one of those foods that takes you back to childhood birthdays immediately. Well, for most people anyway. When I think of childhood birthdays, I think of Dressels cakes, which were sold in grocery stores in Chicago back in the dayΒ  (whipped cream and strawberries. YUM!) and of my brother “accidentally” telling me to cross the street on my 8th birthday and my getting thrown about 72 miles by an oncoming car. Really. Seventy two miles. Maybe even 722 miles.Β  He had it out for me. My brother, not the car driver. πŸ˜›

Where was I? Oh yeah, chocolate cake. Years ago, I got a free sample copy of Cuisine Magazine. On the back cover was a luscious looking chocolate cake. I have saved that issue, mainly for that recipe, ever since. Today, I made it. This is chocolate cake nirvana. Old fashioned moist, dense chocolate cake filled and topped with a smooth rich chocolate icing. Not a bit of powdered sugar in sight in this frosting, this is the kind that uses cocoa, sugar, cream and butter that are heated, then cooled until thick enough to spread. Basically, a richer than usual ganache. This is extremely easy to make. No 500 steps, no adding things in 2 tablespoon increments then beating for a year. You mix your dry, you mix your wet, then you combine. Don’t overbeat this however. I did to mine a little and it became a bit tough. Just beat until it’s combined and there is no dry flour mixture left showing, rather like you do when you make brownies or pancake batter. The frosting is also easy. Just melt your butter, pour in the other ingredients, heat and voila, there you go. Just chill until it’s spreadable, then eat it out of the bowl spread onto the cake.

You know the drill. πŸ™‚

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Icing

  • Cake-
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar (it helps the leavening process)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Icing-
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I also used a touch of orange extract just because it’s one of our families favorite flavor combos)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray (I always use Bakers Joy when making any sort of cake) or grease and lightly flour your pans.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa.
  3. In a large measuring cup, combine the hot water, oil, vinegar, coffee granules, and vanilla. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients and whisk (no mixer here please) just until combined. It’s ok if there are some small lumps left. Remember, don’t overbeat this.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool cake layers in the pan for fifteen minutes, then invert out onto a wire rack. The inverting helps you have layers that are flatter rather than domed.
  6. While they cool, make your icing. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.Β  Stir in the sugar and coca powder. The mixture will be thick and grainy. Remove from the heat
  7. Combine the heavy cream, sour cream and vanilla in a measuring cup. Put the pan back over medium heat and whisk gradually into the cocoa mixture. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth, glossy and hot to the touch. Do NOT boil.
  8. Remove from heat and then either cool at room temp until totally cool and thick enough to spread or, better method, chill in the fridge for about 30 to 40 minutes, until thick enough to spread.
  9. Lay one layer flat side up on a plate. Spoon about 1 cup of the frosting onto to it and spread to cover. Lay the other layer carefully on top, pressing down lightly to help prevent sliding. Use the remaining frosting to cover the tops and sides of the cake, making sure to eat a bite or six as you do so. No one will notice. πŸ˜€
  10. Enjoy chocolate nirvana. You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

 

Caramel Apple Snack Cake

Caramel Apple Snack Cake-001

…Or dessert cake, or breakfast cake, or eat this when the kids aren’t looking cake, or late night snack cake or..well, you get the idea. I mean it has apples in it so it can be for ANY meal, right? So what if the apples are really a can of pie filling and they are surrounded by ooey gooey bits of caramel!

I know I’ve mentioned before that I have never been one to cook by the seasons. If I want Pumpkin Bread in July, I’m having pumpkin bread. If I want to grill out in January, I grill out. Hey, I never claimed sanity. So when I decided to make something appleyΒ  (what? Appley is a word… honest it is!) for my husband because he loves apple desserts, I didn’t give a darn that according to blogger standards, the time for apple desserts is in the Autumn. I’m a rebel! A rebel I say!!! Or something like that.

Right away,Β  I knew what I wanted to do. I have a recipe from Food.com that I use often for Chocolate Covered Cherry barsΒ  that my husband loves. So I played around with it and changed it to apple. I then added a healthy disgustingly large dose of caramel and a bag of cinnamon chips. I have to admit, this is really good. Not fancy by any means but so darn yummy! It’s moist, filled with apples and caramel and cinnamon chips. The edges are slightly crispy and sticky from the caramel and you never get the same bite twice. this one has apples, this one caramel, this one both and so on. This is a great family dessert and one I know I’ll be making again…probably tomorrow πŸ˜€

Caramel Apple Snack Cake

  • 3/4 cups butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • 1 bag cinnamon chips
  • 1 bag caramels, cut into quarters
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and then line a 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper well.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs. beat well
  3. Combine the flour & baking soda in a small bowl. Combine with the butter mixture.
  4. Fold in the apple pie filling, cinnamon chips and caramel pieces.
  5. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for about 35 to 40 minutes or until top is nicely golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. This is good warm, served with ice cream or room temp..or cold..or frozen stiff..or boiling hot..or…or..or..


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Sometimes Simple And Old Are The Best

Yum

I have NO idea who ate some of this before I could get a photo *blinks innocently*


I should know… I mean, look at my husband. Ok, I’m so gonna die for that but I couldn’t resist that one hehe

Seriously though… have you ever noticed that in the blogging world, it is always something new, something unique, something that is all about “OMG, I made elk tongues with a balsamic reduction and served it with bacony coleus plants sauteed in bear fat!”

Mind you, I love the new stuff; don’t get me wrong. I’m no different there than anyone else in trying to be unique and have something here on my blog that isn’t on 396 other blogs. Erhmmm, other than that elk tongue thing… you can have my share. Honest; I don’t mind.

Sometimes though, I just want something comforting, easy and old fashioned. Especially recently. I’ve been battling a fun fun fun tooth and jaw infection (thus my absence {didya miss me? πŸ˜› } and also why no new posts recently) and have been taking massive doses of Penicillin. And while I’m not allergic to it, I’m sensitive to it big time and spent the better part of a week nauseous and unable to eat. I’m eating again but am still doing better with soft easy foods because my jaw isn’t 100%.

Point being (whining over lol) that when I’m down, physically or emotionally, I like, as I said, easy and comforting. One of my go to recipes for that (other than the ubiquitous mac and cheese that is practically everyone’s fave comfort food) is an old Amish recipe. I absolutely LOVE so many Amish foods. I have the same fascination with their culture, religion and foods that so many living in the mainstream world do.

Continue reading

The Lonely Outcast Citrus

Yes, this is already sliced in thick slabs and ready for me to dig in….




You all know the one I’m talking about. It’s the citrus that gets grimaces instead of drools, the one that never gets invited over for dinner and a movie, much less dessert and an attempt to get to third base. It’s the one that get ignored because it has a tendency to be a bit…shall we say… bitter about life. It’s the citrus that has very little middle ground. You either love it or you hate it. I’m one of those weirdos in the love it camp. Just add that to the list of things that makes me strange and wonderfully lovable.

What citrus? Why Grapefruit of course. People tend to think of it in terms of either juice for breakfast, juice beverage aka grapefruit juice that has been sweetened. I admit that I prefer that to the straight up kind myself, or as a fruit to eat, grimacing the whole time, because they are on a diet and their mothers best friends sisters cousins stepgrandmother lost 45 pounds in two days doing that Continue reading

Are You Feeling Crafty??

Hello dear readers, fellow bloggers and those who come here to roll their eyes and sneer. I need some advice. We have realized that we can not afford even one Christmas present for my boys who still live at home. Not even one. I thank God that we tend to be food stockpilers so that I have an ample supply of baking foods and other stuff to make Christmas (and the blog) merry with yummy foods. But it still kills me to have to tell my boys that I can’t afford to give them Christmas presents, especially since my youngest, at three, is having his first year of talking about Santa Claus and asking what Santa is going to bring him. Moving tapped us out money wise and our bills are higher now. We can make ends meet but there is absolutely NOTHING in the budget for extras and since we moved rather quickly, I hadn’t thought to save extra towards Christmas or to stockpile gifts early. So I need your advice.

I absolutely SUCK at crafts. I mean, really really bad with no artistic bent whatsoever. I can crochet but I can only crochet straight lines. I can draw but only if it’s in a coloring book and even then I go out of the lines πŸ˜› I can use scissors but I am probably better off with the safety type they give kids in Kindergarten. I don’t want to use food as gifts because 1) I make goodies anyway so it wouldn’t feel like a gift to my boys, just more food momma made and 2) they would scarf it down in five minutes flat and that would be that until the aching tummies happened.

But I know that some of you are the crafty sorts. So my hope is that some of you can give me ideas on some crafts to make that are doable by Christmas by a woman who can only crochet straight lines. I don’t have a whole lot in the way of supplies (that pesky money thing again lol) but I have old clothes I can cup up, paper, pens and pencils and even some fabric paints (the kinds you squeeze out of tubes) from a time when I was deluded enough to think I might be able to use them w/out covering everything in paint.

So there is where I am hoping that you, my much more talented and creative friends, can help me. I am also looking for just general ideas for Christmas gifts that aren’t necessarily crafts but are doable for free or so cheap as to make a penny cry. I think if I have to wake up Christmas morning and have my boys see a tree that is empty underneath it, I will crawl under a rock and stay there forever.

So moving on. I have an amazingly yummy and easy recipe for you today. We all know I went through an apple phase earlier in the Autumn season. Well… it’s backkkkkkkk! I found a recipe in a Southern Living Baking magazine that I had been wanting to try. I wish now I had tried it sooner because it so so simple yet with a taste that made me want to stick my face down in the frosting and never come back out. I didn’t do much to change it though what I did do made this even better than what it would have been, I believe. I added some crystallized Ginger to the cake batter, used Gala apples instead of Granny Smith because that’s what I had, added more vanilla and a slug of bourbon and added maple flavoring to the frosting. These changes put this into the realm of ove the top wonderful. Yet still very homey, very comforting and very easy with just enough batter to hold the apples together. Another bonus is that this smells like a big gigantic snickerdoodle cookie as it bakes. So give this a try. I think you’ll like it.

Apple Ginger Cake With A Browned Butter Maple Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds Gala apples, cored, cut into 8 wedges then each wedge cut in half (the original recipe called for peeling but I didn’t bother)
  • Frosting-
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 16 ounce box powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk (I had to use like a tablespoon or so more)
  • 1/2 tsp. maple flavoring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet until lightly toasted and smelling yummy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the 1/2 cup melted butter, sugar, eggs, bourbon and vanilla extract.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and crystallized ginger.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/egg mixture. Stir just until combined then add in the apple pieces and 1 cup of the pecans. The batter will be very thick; that’s who it’s supposed to be.
  5. Spread batter into a lightly greased 13×9 inch pan.
  6. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake it golden brown. Cool completely in the pan.
  7. FROSTING-
  8. While the cake is baking, start your frosting.
  9. Cook the 1 cup butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter turns a golden brown. This will take about 6 minutes or so. Immediately take off of the heat and pour into a bowl. Refrigerate until the butter is just beginning to solidify.
  10. Beat the butter in a medium bowl until fluffy. Add in the sugar, milk and maple flavoring. Beat together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Trust me… the more you beat, the lighter and fluffier most butter based frostings become. Keep beating.
  11. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and sprinkle on the 1/2 cup of pecans.
  12. Eat. Moan. Repeat.