Archive for Cakes

Caramel Apple Cake

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Fall is probably my favorite season because of all of the yummy fall fruits that abound this time of year.  Apples are in full season right now, and rather than wonder what to make with them, how about you bake my friend, Vikki’s Caramel Apple Cake?

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This cake is incredibly moist, and the thick batter suspends chunks of sweet apple so that they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake during baking.  You get a taste of sweet apple and cinnamony (my new word) goodness in every bite.

My husband took some cake to work and shared it with his boss, who said this was the best apple cake he’s ever had. (Thanks, Vikki!) :)

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This cake is screaming your name…wait, it’s screaming MY name.  I need to make another one.  My family devoured the one I made the other night.  It’s that good.

Let’s get to it.

Whisk the oil and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

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Whisk the eggs into the sugar-oil mixture.

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Add the vanilla extract, apple pie spice, salt and baking powder; whisk to combine.

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Add the flour to the bowl.  This batter is very thick.  Use a spatula to fold in the flour.

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See how thick the batter is?  My spatula is standing straight up in the batter.

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Fold in the chopped apples.  You can’t tell from the photo, but I cut the apples very small and relatively thin to ensure they cook through during baking, but not too small that they turn to mush.  I used Honeycrisp Apples in this recipe, which I recommend you use as well.  They are sweet, crisp apples that hold up to baking.  The apples were still somewhat firm after baking, but cooked through (not over cooked at all).

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Pour the batter into a greased baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until it tests done (insert a knife or skewer into the middle; it should come out clean).

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While the cake is baking, make the caramel sauce.

Place the butter, brown sugar, and milk in a small sauce pan over low heat.

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Whisk occasionally, cooking until the butter and sugar melt and the sauce thickens.

Don’t make the glaze until right before the cake is done, however.  The sauce thickens as it cools, so make it just minutes before the cake is done so that it’s thin enough to drizzle.

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Drizzle the caramel glaze all over the top of the cake.

This is wonderful just as you see it below, but if you want to take it over the top, add a huge dollop of whipped cream and you’ll be in caramel apple heaven! :)

Vikki says this cake freezes well.  All you’ll need to do is defrost the cake at room temperature then make up a fresh pot of caramel sauce to drizzle over the cake just before serving.

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Cut yourself a huge slice of this sinfully delicious cake, serve and ENJOY!

Doesn’t that caramel sauce make you want to run your finger across that plate, scoop up some sauce, and lick your finger?  ;)

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Caramel Apple Cake
A super moist cake with chunks of sweet apples and a luscious caramel glaze
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
CAKE:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and finely chopped
CARAMEL GLAZE:
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
Instructions
Make the Cake:
  1. Mix the sugar and oil together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, apple pie spice, salt and baking soda.
  3. Fold in the flour.
  4. Fold in the chopped apples.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until the cake tests done.
Make the Glaze:
  1. Cook the glaze in a small sauce pan on the stove, just until the butter and sugar melt and the sauce thickens.
  2. Pour the glaze over individual pieces or over the entire cake while it's still warm.
NOTE: I used Honey Crisp Apples (2 of them) -- I recommend them for this recipe. The apples stayed somewhat firm during the baking; they were definitely cooked through, and I liked that the apples didn't become mushy after baking.

 

Apple Cranberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

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Apples and cranberries go so well together.  Pair them together in these muffins topped with sweet streusel topping and you’ve got a real treat on your hands.

I made these for a PTA-sponsored Teacher Appreciation Day one year and it was wiped out in no time.  These muffins are great for potluck breakfasts, and they make great snacks for a packed lunch.

Top the muffins with my apple cream cheese frosting (recipe below) and now you’ve got a decadent dessert.

Give my recipes a try.  I think you’ll like them. :)

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Apple Cranberry Muffins with Streusel Topping
Apple and cranberries baked in a moist muffin and topped with a sweet streusel and buttery apple frosting
Author:
Serves: 2 dozen
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
Ingredients for the Muffins:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (set aside 4 tablespoons out of the 4 cups of flour)
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups white, granulated sugar (you can use Splenda or Truvia made for baking)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (with pulp)
  • 1 cup craisins
  • ⅔ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
Ingredients for Streusel Topping:
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ⅔ cup finely chopped walnuts, optional (or use your favorite nut)
Ingredients for the Apple Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 box powdered sugar
Instructions
Directions for the muffins:
  1. Place cupcake liners in two regular sized muffin pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl toss 4 tablespoons of flour with the diced apples; set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl cream the 2 sticks of butter with the granulated sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and orange juice; mix until creamy.
  4. Mix together the remaining flour, baking soda and salt; add to the butter mixture.
  5. Fold the apple mixture, craisins and chopped walnuts into the batter (it will be quite thick).
  6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling about ⅔ full.
  7. Top with streusel topping then bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool the cupcakes/muffins in the pan for 10-15 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the Streusel Topping:
  1. In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of flour, lemon zest, melted butter and chopped nuts (you can use a food chopper to chop these nuts very fine).
  2. Mix well (you can use a fork) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Make the Apple-Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Place the diced apples, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the apples have softened, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Place the cooked apple mixture in a blender or food processor to finely chop the apples (small bits are okay). Set aside to cool completely.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. Add the apple mixture; mix until combined. Mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until creamy. Refrigerate the frosting until you’re ready to ice the cupcakes/muffins.

 

Easy Ultra-Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Ahhh…the delicious aroma of cake baking is rivaled only by that of gooey chocolate chip cookies baking and filling your home with happiness. :)

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Red velvet cake topped with sweet cream cheese frosting is one of my favorites.

These cupcakes were topped with a marshmallow flower made by slicing marshmallows (use a pair of kitchen scissors for easy cutting) then sticking the petals together to form a flower.

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This is a super-easy recipe.  Mix a box of red velvet cake mix with eggs, milk, oil, instant chocolate pudding, and red food coloring (for a deeper red color).

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Fill cupcake lines 3/4 full.
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Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Let the cupcakes cool then frost and ENJOY! :)
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Easy Ultra-Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes
Author:
Serves: 2 dozen
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe red velvet cake mix
  • 1 box (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup milk*
  • 12 drops of red food coloring
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Pour into cupcake tins lined with paper liners, ¾ full.
  4. Bake 18-20 minutes.
  5. Frost with your favorite frosting.
High Altitude Adjustments (for altitudes higher than 3000 ft):
  1. *Use 1 cup of milk (instead of ¾ cup)
  2. Do not preheat the oven. Prepare the batter and fill the cupcake tins, THEN turn on the oven. When the oven temperature reaches 250 degrees, place the pans in the oven.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes; the time starts when the temperature reaches 350 degrees (check for doneness at 10 minutes). The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

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Some of my favorite desserts are chocolate cake, coffee ice cream, and toffee candy.  This dessert combines all three in one very decadent dessert.

I combined my love of these three sweet indulgences into one rich and luscious ice cream cake.

If you’ve read through my directions below, you may be thinking that this is a difficult desert to make.  Don’t let the number of steps fool you, however.  This is actually very simple to make; just follow each step as I’ve described them below and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying this heavenly dessert!  The only hard part is waiting for the ice cream to re-harden! :)

Give my recipe a try.  I know you’ll love it. :)

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

10352789_700854603304696_2410885298969090088_n Ingredients: Cake:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg YOLKS
  • 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar

Filling:

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (or heavy cream)
  • Half gallon coffee ice cream (or your favorite flavor)
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Ganache:

  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup half-and-half (or heavy cream)

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Directions:

1.  In a small mixing bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and cake flour.  Add the instant espresso powder and salt to the bowl.  Whisk to combine.

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2.  In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.  Set aside to cool.

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3.  Place a small pot filled with about 2 inches of water over medium heat; bring to a simmer.  In a large heat-safe mixing bowl, place the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar.  Place the egg and sugar mixture over the simmering water, whisking constantly until the mixture is warm to the touch.

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4.  Switch to a hand-held mixer.  Mix on high speed until the mixture thickens and turns a very pale yellow.

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5.  Fold the dry ingredients into the thickened egg mixture.

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6.  Drizzle the cooled melted butter down the side of the bowl.  Gently FOLD the butter into the batter.  Do NOT overmix; the batter will be very airy and light.

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7.  Line a large baking pan (a jelly-roll pan works well) with parchment paper.  Pour the batter onto the lined pan.  Gently and evenly spread batter out over the pan (be careful not to over-handle the batter as you spread it out; you do NOT want to deflate the air bubbles).

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8.  Bake at 450 degrees for 7 minutes.

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9.  While the cake is still warm, flip it out onto a clean dish cloth that’s been dusted with cocoa powder.  Peel the parchment paper off the cake.

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10.  Sprinkle more cocoa powder over the cake.  Roll the cake — including the dish cloth — starting at the short edge.  Set aside until the cake is completely cooled.

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11.  After the cake is completely cooled, carefully unroll it.

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12.  Make the ganache for the filling.  In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the 1/2 cup of half-and-half for about a minute.  Add the milk chocolate chips to the heated half-and-half,  whisking until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.

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13.  Spread the ganache over the cake, staying about 1 inch from the edge.

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14.  Spread the ice cream over the cake.  I found it easier to use a spatula to “slice” pieces of ice cream, then I placed the slices of ice cream over the cake, staying about 1 1/2 inches from the edge.

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15.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of toffee bits over the ice cream.

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16.  Re-roll the cake, jell-roll style, starting from the short edge.  Be careful not to squeeze too tightly or all of the ice cream and chocolate ganache will ooze out of the cake.

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17.  Tightly wrap the rolled cake with plastic wrap.  Place in the freezer and freeze until the ice cream firms up.

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18.  To finish the cake, prepare more ganache using the remaining half-and-half and semisweet chocolate chips.  Once again, heat the half-and-half in the microwave for a minute.  Add the semisweet chocolate chips to the hot half-and-half, whisking until smooth and creamy.  Pour the ganache over the cake.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of toffee bits.

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19.  Slice the cake, serve and ENJOY! :D

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Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

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I love blueberry muffins, but I absolutely hate the packaged blueberry muffin mix which turns the batter a bluish-purple after you add canned (and tiny) blueberries.

Blueberries are my favorite when it comes to fruit muffins, but you can easily make this into a loaded berry muffin by mixing you favorite berries — a combination of raspberries, cranberries, and of course, blueberries are delicious too.

I use frozen berries for this recipe. While fresh berries are delicious, frozen sweet berries are always available and “in season.”

I also top these muffins with a sweet mixture of lemon zest and sugar. The perfumy, aromatic oils in the lemon zest gives these muffins a hint of lemon flavor that compliments the berries so well.

This recipe makes a little more than a dozen muffins. You’ll have just a bit of batter leftover after filing the muffin tin. Make mini loaves or use a second muffin tin to use up the extra batter.

Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

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Ingredients for the Muffins:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry Buttermilk Powder (you can find this in the baking section of your grocery store)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries plus 1 teaspoon white, granulated sugar
  • The zest of one large lemon plus 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar

Directions:

Make the toppings:

1. Make a blueberry sauce by placing 1 cup of frozen blueberries with 1 teaspoon sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the berries to a simmer. As the berries begin to soften, use the back of a cooking spoon to slightly mash the berries. Cook the mixture for about 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

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2. In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest and 1/2 cup sugar together. Set aside.

When you zest the lemon, make sure to get only the yellow lemon rind, not the white pith. After zesting the lemon, chop the zest into smaller pieces then mix with the sugar.

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Mix the batter:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with baking spray or non-stick (butter flavored) cooking spray. Or, line each cup with a muffin liner.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, buttermilk powder).

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3. In another mixing bowl, place the eggs and sugar. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy. Mix in the butter, oil, water and vanilla extract.

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4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, mixing only until the batter is moistened (a few lumps are okay). Do not overmix.

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5. Fold in the blueberries.

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6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. These muffins really rise high, so don’t overfill each muffin cup.

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7. Place a heaping teaspoonful of the blueberry sauce on top of the batter in each muffin cup.

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8. Using the handle of a spoon (a chopstick works really well here), swirl the blueberry sauce into the batter.

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9. Evenly sprinkle the lemon-sugar mixture over each muffin.

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10. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean (a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick is okay). Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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If you have a mini loaf pan, you can make mini loaves with the extra muffin batter. You should have enough batter left (after filling the muffin tin) to make 3 mini loaves. I doubled this recipe so I made 6 mini loaves with the extra batter (after filling 2 muffin tins).

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Serve and ENJOY!

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