Apple Cake

Apple Cake

My husband is a man of simple tastes. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate cake, apple pie. While sometimes I find it frustrating that he doesn’t enjoy more adventurous baking, he knows who he is and likes what he likes. Throughout our marriage I have come to make a mean apple pie, the best chocolate cake around, and have even recently mastered home made vanilla ice cream. However, I’m getting pretty tired of making apple pies.

Enter the Apple Cake! Not straying too far from the basics, but it’s a bit different – and I don’t have to make pastry! Win-Win!

Apple Cake

Let’s Bake

I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of apples. I love them in baked goods – but I’ve just never been one to just sit with an apple for a snack. For the most part I find a texture problem with them – almost grainy. That’s not to say I’ve never had a good apple – it’s just never my first choice of fruit. But cook ’em down and put them with sugar and cinnamon and other stuff – I’m there!

Oddly enough, my sister is the absolute opposite. She loves apples, but can’t stand them in baked goods. Apparently feelings for apples run deep in our family.

The cake itself is super easy outside of the peeling and slicing of the apples. I didn’t have orange juice on hand, but lemon juice (or any acid really) serves just as well in this case.

When I got to the point of pouring into the bundt pan and baking I realized that this was a HUGE amount of batter. I upgraded my mixer last year to a professional series and the bowl is so damn big that I didn’t really notice how much was going into this mix. Once it was poured into the pan it was almost entirely to the top. There is almost NO room for this cake to rise.

Were bundt pans larger back then? That seems unlikely. Also this is a LONG ass bake time. An hour an a half? I realize that the enormous amount of batter and the long bake time go hand in hand – but an hour a half seems long?

So like any good moron would do, I set the timer for exactly 90 minutes and then got involved in another project and forgot about it. Like, literally forgot I was making a cake. When the timer went off I was in the other room with my daughter and she was like “Mom? The cake.”

This is when it’s perfectly acceptable to cuss in front of your kids.

End Result

Yes, it burnt on the bottom. Yes, it’s far too much batter for this bundt pan.

On the off chance it would still taste good beyond the burnt bits, I whipped up a quick glaze (powdered sugar, milk and some vanilla paste) and drizzled that on top once it was cooled.

Oh my. This is a GOOD cake. I mean seriously good. All the fruit did sink to the bottom (which is now the top) but it doesn’t matter. It’s moist and tender and not overly sweet. The glaze does add that sweet factor – but it’s still perfectly appropriate to eat this for breakfast.

And isn’t that really what baking is about? Eating cake for breakfast!

Apple Cake

Perfect for any time of the year – or breakfast!
Course Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 4-5 medium apples
  • 5 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange or lemon juice
  • 4 eggs eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Instructions
 

  • Peel and slice apples and coat with the 5 tablespoons sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Set aside
  • Mix the flour, sugar, juice, eggs, oil, salt and vanilla together for roughly three minutes or until well blended
  • Add the soda and baking powder and mix again roughly 1 minutes
  • Add the apple mixture and stir to combine
  • Pour into the bundt pan and bake at 350 for an hour and a half or until a knife comes out clean (may be less than 1 1/2 hours)
  • Let cool for 15 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rake to cool completely
  • Cover with choice of glaze and Enjoy!

Princess Cake

Princess Cake

We’re going to take a slight turn on this post and instead of doing an old recipe, I’m going to talk about the cake that kicked my ass. The Princess Cake has been on my bucket list of things to try for a long time now. Ever since I became obsessed with Great British Bake Off, I have always wanted to know how to do it, how it tasted and if it was as difficult as it looked.

The answer is a resounding yes. The bakers were given two and a half hours to do this cake and it took me the better part of an entire weekend. This cake is a nightmare. I walked into this process like a cocky ass who feared no cake. This recipe, when printed out, is three pages long with 24 different ingredient line items.

This is the recipe I used – straight from Ms. Mary Berry herself. I will admit that I said some VERY not nice things about Mary this weekend.

Let’s Bake…and bake….and bake

The first step was the pastry cream which is something I’ve made many times. If you haven’t made or had pastry cream – I strongly suggest you stop reading and make it. Immediately. Pastry cream is soooo good. Also, when everything has been added together and you put it back on the heat to thicken up – it’s like magic. I always sqee with joy every time it happens. Once the custard came together, I placed a cling wrap film on the top and set it in the fridge to cool. So far so good!

Next came the jam. Again, super simple to make. Take raspberries and sugar and cook. You hard boil for 4 to 5 minutes, and then set aside to cool. In this case, I used frozen raspberries which didn’t seem to cause any issues at all.

At this point I’m breezing through this, although I am thinking how completely unfair the time frames are that they are given. I’ve made pastry cream and jam and need to leave them to cool and I’m already an hour into the process.

Genoise is a Jerk

Next up is the cake. The only thing I saw as an issue in the beginning was that the recipe calls for a 9 inch springform pan. I only have a 10 inch. I can’t imagine that it would cause that big of a difference, right?

WRONG! What in the name of God is wrong with this cake?!? Why would anyone choose to do this? No cake should be this finicky. Everything can look perfect and as it should – and you won’t know until it comes out of the oven if it was mixed correctly! Just look at the difference in these two cakes! How in the hell am I supposed to cut that cake into THREE layers!?!?

Genoise Cake

I left the jacked up cake to cool and turned on Netflix to watch the specific episode where they made the Princess Cake – all the while screaming “That’s exactly what I did!”

Now I had a hard choice to make. Do I try to hack this cake into little pieces OR do I try to do it again. I have to choose wisely, because my egg supply is low and the marzipan, that has yet to be made, needs two eggs. Suddenly lightening strikes and I remembered that I had store bought marzipan in the pantry! Brilliant! Round two of cake was a bit more of a success!

Marzipan Is From The Devil

With all the separate components cooled the cake partially built – it was time to make the marzipan. Since I’m a genius and already have the store bought, all I have to do is tint it green and roll it out.

Rolling out store bought marzipan is the equivalent of me trying to put spanx on. It’s like trying to flatten a concrete cinder block by hand. This was like Thor’s hammer and Cap’s vibranium shield all rolled into one. I had LITERAL sweat running down my face. What the hell is this made of?!? Clearly this was not going to work AND even if I could roll it out – I don’t have enough to cover the whole cake.

I packed it up for the night and drank wine.

The next day I had to borrow eggs from my mother to make the marzipan. THIS time it’s gooey and soft and perfectly pliable. It’s easy to roll out and cover the whole cake.

Everything just sort of falls into place at this point and the cake is, thankfully, done.

Final Results

I’ll admit the cake is very pretty, especially when it’s cut and you can see all the layers. It tastes lovely as well. The tart of the jam with the sweet of the pastry cream and cake really do meld perfectly. The marzipan adds an interesting texture with a slight almond taste.

Was it worth two days of work? Absolutely not.
Will I ever do this again? Hell no.

But I did it, and can cross it off my list.

Sad Cake

Sad Cake

I almost missed this recipe all together. It’s such a short little blurb in the middle of the page that I scanned right over it. When I finally did see it I felt like when I see puppies or babies on line. NO! Don’t be sad, cake! Why are you so sad? Cakes are supposed to be happy, why are you doing this?

Seriously, why is this cake sad? Why is it called that? It’s simple as hell to put together, so that couldn’t possibly be the reason. Is it sad because it was created during a hard time in life – is it like a depression cake? Was the creator actually unhappy? All questions I’m willing to get to the bottom of.

I have never seen a baking recipe that called for Bisquick. Also, note the ENTIRE box of brown sugar. Maybe the cake is sad because it’s causing weight gain, high blood sugar and an increased risk of heart disease! But who the hell am I to talk, my sugar cookie recipe calls for 3 cups of sugar and 3 sticks of butter! And let’s not talk about how quickly I can decimate a pint of Haagen Dazs ice cream.

Feeling particularly lazy this day, I busted out the Kitchen Aid for this. Unnecessary for sure – I could have easily done this by hand. There really is nothing to it – assuming you’ve got Bisquick on hand. Also, I figured out why it’s called Sad Cake.

This thing is butt ugly when it comes out of the oven. The top of the cake sort of sinks into itself. Also, as any baker would do, I put a long tooth pick in to see if it was done and poked a big hole in the top. The entire top of this cake is crisp – like CRISP. It’s really quite odd. If a regular cake came out like this it would be a huge failure.

This thing is NOT a cake. It’s straight up Blondie. It’s gooey in the middle and crisp on the outside, and despite it’s sort of brown and boring appearance, it’s actually quite good! I think you could easily add white chocolate chips, or switch out the pecans for walnuts. A lot could be done with this I think. Not much to look at – and a weird crisp shell on top – but I recommend giving it a try!

Carrot Pineapple Bread

Carrot Pineapple Bread

In the continuation of “The Week of the Pineapple” I found another recipe that I could use. In addition, I am desperately trying to find something that sounds good and would actually be EATEN in the house. Lastly, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and wouldn’t it be nice to find some family recipes that I could actually use? Or at the very least give as a hostess gift?

Enter the “It’s not a carrot cake, it’s carrot bread that taste exactly like carrot cake”. This thing is really good y’all and perfect for those of us that don’t have an over active sweet tooth (me). As much as I love cakes and cookies, I’m honestly not a big fan of frosting. My husband and daughter think that there is something seriously wrong with me and that perhaps a doctor could help.

Also, this could not be easier. The whole process took minutes if you don’t count shredding the carrots. What was even nicer was that my daughter is currently studying for some culinary exams, and was using carrots to practice knife cuts…I just scooped up the “practice” and ran it through the mini-Cuisinart.

I will admit at this point I still hadn’t put two and two together and realized I was basically making a carrot cake in a loaf pan. Apparently some subtleties escape me. I baked it and let it cool and the whole time thinking “There is an odd but familiar smell in the kitchen”. Duh.

You can certainly make a frosting, but I think it’s too much. If you want extra sweetness, I would think a glaze would be a much better bet. I like this one so much I’m actually going to add the recipe for easy printing!

We have our first hit!

Carrot Pineapple Bread

Pinch & Peck
Bread that tastes exactly like Carrot Cake
Cook Time 55 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Set oven to 350
  • Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl. Give a quick whisk to blend.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients and beat at medium speed until well combined (about 2 minutes)
  • Pour into a greased and floured 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

22 Minute Chocolate Cake

22 Minute Chocolate Cake

This is exactly what I think an old recipe from past generations should look like. Handwritten on an aged piece of paper with what are probably food stains on it. There were a couple things about this recipe that made me eager to try it out. The first was the line ingredient Oleo used throughout. It only took me a second to figure out that Oleo is just margarine. Which is not really something I would ever cook or bake with. Even though my original intention was to cook all these recipes, at least the first time through, with no changes to the original, I didn’t think a trip to the grocery store just for margarine was worth it.

The second thing that jumped out at me was close the bottom of the page “add 1 pound of sugar”. In truth, that’s just a bit more than 2 cups – but it’s still a shed load of sugar! Also, couldn’t tell you how excited I was to have actual instructions to follow. Should be a pretty easy process.

Our ingredients aren’t too crazy – with the exception of the shortening. It’s not often I have that in a cake mix, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever melted it before. Getting the cake mixture together was easy enough – and it, for the most part, resembled cake batter.

Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl and set aside. Bring the butter, cocoa, water and shortening to a boil, and add to the flour/sugar mixture. Add the eggs, buttermilk and soda. Pouring it into a greased 12 x 18 pan was odd though. That’s a big pan. And makes a VERY thin cake.

These were the ingredients for the ‘frosting’. And I’m going to use the term ‘frosting’ very loosely. Bring the milk, butter and cocoa to a boil and then add a POUND of sugar, and a cup of nuts. We’re going to play the odds here and given my family is from Texas, any reference to a ‘nut’ is going to be a pecan.

Visually, this isn’t a bad looking cake at all. Looks can be quite deceiving though. The cake is far to thin and over baked, and the ‘frosting’ is basically flavored granulated sugar. It literally crunches in your mouth. It was not a good mouth feel.

Personally, I think this recipe can really work with some tweaks. I would use a much smaller pan, or two small rounds to get a lighter more ‘cake like’ structure. The sugar in the frosting would need to be melted or cooked down in some way for that to work. The butter and the sugar could probably be creamed in a mixer as well to make a fluffier frosting. Quite a few changes could be made to this.

It wasn’t inedible – however a trip to the dentist afterwards may be needed because of all the sugar. The cake, after a night in the fridge, almost took on a chewy consistency. I would never label this, as is, as a chocolate cake. Chocolate was not the taste you identify at all. At this point, we’re going to mark it as ‘undefinable’ and see where the next attempt takes us.