Tag Archives: recipes

Baking Barefoot – Apple Cinnamon White Cake

It’s a lazy little Saturday and I was padding around barefoot this morning (because it still feels like summer and it’s warm outside), dying for fall to arrive*, when I found a sweet recipe for a seemingly simple apple cinnamon white  cake that seemed perfect for today – a little something to bring on that fall feeling in the absence of actual fall temperatures. Plus, I had apples that I bought for some reason I no longer remember and needed to get rid of them before they went bad**.

*And by “arrive”, I mean for the weather to be cooler than 75 degrees on any given day so I can wear my favorite riding boots without sweating.
**Which is where most of my kitchen inspiration comes from: An attempt to resuscitate almost-expired items in my fridge or cupboard before
they move toward the light. I’m like the Dr. Quinn of foodstuffs.

In any case, as you likely know, I’m a bit of an impatient baker* so – surprise, surprise! – I might have combined the first and second steps of the directions  (evidence below), which made me burst out laughing, because… well, what else is there to do? I forged ahead anyway.

*Or, I don’t read directions.

Recipe below (modified slightly from Jinglebells’ original recipe):

Ingredients

  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 C white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped

Directions (follow more closely than I)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan (this is where the Crisco comes in handy)
  • Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. (Note: important for the remainder of the recipe. Don’t combine this step as I did.)
  • Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using until creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; add vanilla extract.
  • Combine flour and baking powder together in a bowl; stir into butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the apples and half the brown sugar mixture. Pat apple mixture into batter. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a finger or spoon. (I missed the swirling step, too, but the cinnamon mixed through still adds that kicky little sweet spice to the cake.)
  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
Chopped Apples and Peeler on Cutting Board

the recipe didn’t specify, so i used fuji apples. which are delicious.

 

Crisco Can

i’m old school. i still like to have a can of crisco on hand, always (i bake like my mother).

Baking Bowl

perhaps the sugars weren’t supposed to be added together with the butter from the beginning. maybe they were supposed to be separate. maybe.

Baylor With Pig's Ear

little dogs must be occupied to prevent severe boredom while baking. a disgusting, greasy pig’s ear does the trick nicely.

Apple Cake and Fork

despite the initial mixup, the end product is pretty delicious.

Apple Cake in Baking Pan

recipe success!

Success: Something about the smell of sweet goodness in the oven really does make today feel a little more like fall. And something about enjoying the taste of that goodness with a steaming cup of coffee and a happy little dog chewing his bone in the background makes a house feel like a home.

Happy Saturday.

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Strawberry Shortcake

Last night’s dessert was a little spur of the moment, given that I wasn’t even planning on making dessert* but we had alllll those fresh strawberries from our trip to Swanton Berry Farm just begging to be used in something way more interesting than a smoothie or in cereal. I’d intended to make strawberry shortcake at some point (really, why else have fresh strawberries if not for dessert?) but had forgotten to buy Angel Food cake or those little processed puffs from the store, and decided to chance making my own**.

*We’re supposed to be on a diet here!

**This was risky, given several failed attempts at shortcake in the past.

I found what appeared to be an easy recipe on Pinch My Salt‘s blog – I loved it because she talks about how she used to love the store-bought sponge cakes as a kid* but when she mastered homemade shortcake she tossed those processed packages out the window and never looked back. I’ve been feeling a little more strongly lately about being authentic in my cooking, so I wanted to try a homemade first option before resorting to pre-packaged cakes. In full disclosure, however, I sent my other half on an errand to buy backup dessert – just in case.

*Well who doesn’t?

Copied directly from Pinch My Salt’s blog:

Ingredients

4 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
4 – 6 tablespoons sugar (adjust to suit your own taste)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
whipped cream (I prefer the real thing)*

*Kelsey’s note: Despite just claiming to be “more authentic”, I totally used the canned whipped cream instead of the real thing. Apparently I’m only willing to go so far for authenticity.

Directions

In a medium bowl, stir together the strawberries and sugar.  Set strawberries aside to macerate while you prepare the shortcakes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and sugar.  Using a pastry blender* or your fingertips, and working quickly, cut or rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add milk and vanilla all at once to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

*Yeah – like I have one of those! Fingertips it is.

Using a large spoon, drop mixture into four equal piles on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 12 – 15 minutes at 425 degrees.  Remove biscuits to a rack and let cool for a few minutes.  To serve, split a warm biscuit in two*, spoon 1/4 of the berry mixture over the bottom half (make sure you include lots of the juice), top with whipped cream and the other half of the biscuit.

*Note: Important to split the biscuits when they are warm. Evidently they crumble all to hell if you try to split them after. Another kitchen lesson learned!

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A bowl full of fresh berries from Swanton Berry Farm.

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Sometimes this is what happens when you’re not paying attention and take off your jewelry halfway through the baking project.

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Drops of dough ready to be baked!

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Fresh, warm biscuits straight out of the oven.

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The end result: A shortcake biscuit full of whipped cream and sugary strawberries.

Turns out we didn’t need the back-up dessert, because it was mm mm mmmmm, delicious! For a last-minute dessert, it was perfect: super easy to make, and – most importantly for me – with the exception of fresh strawberries, includes only ingredients you would pretty much already have in the kitchen anyway.

Another spatula success! Until next time – happy baking!