Apple Dapple Cake

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Along with this years Thanksgiving cheesecake (Skor – which was not awesome) I made Apple Dapple Cake.  To me Thanksgiving just screams apples and cinnamon, it seems to be a fall thing.  With my horrid past in pie making, I thought I would take a different approach with an apple dessert.

I found this recipe on Pinterst, it is from Southern Plate.  Great website, check it out. When I saw all the photos I knew I had to try it.

Apple Dapple Cake

Adapted from Southern Plate

3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups raw
apples, peeled and chopped fine

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Prepare a bundt pan – I greased and floured

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3. Mix oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.

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4. Sift together flour, salt, soda. **I added cinnamon – must have cinnamon with apples

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5. Add to first mixture.

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6. Fold in pecans and apples.

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I have some people who can’t eat nuts so I did half and half

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7. Bake in tube pan at 350 for 1 hour.

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Sauce:

1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup milk
¾ cup butter or margarine(1 -1/2 sticks)

  1. Combine all ingredients

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    2. Bring to a gentle boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

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    3. Pour over hot cake while cake is still in pan.

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    We tried the sauce once cooled a little from the pot. OMG! Forget the cake, just make the sauce and eat it with a spoon.  Heavenly!

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    Slowly starts to soak in…

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    Let cake cool completely before removing.

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    Looks amazing

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    Everyone said they liked it, but I didn’t.  I was quite disappointed, only finished a couple bites.  It was quite dry and flavourless. I thought it would be moist and almost gooey with all that sauce that soaked in.  Nope, heavy, dense, blah!

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S’more Cheesecake

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This year for Christmas (yes, Christmas! Catching up on my posts) I tried a S’more Cheesecake.  As I mentioned in the past, it is hard to please everyone with a flavour, but I do try!  I figured, who doesn’t like a S’more? There was only one iffy person, who doesn’t like marshmallows, but they are easily picked off.

I did not follow any specific recipe or see this idea anywhere, I just kinda cake up with it on my own.  I used my classic go to cheesecake recipe and

S’more Cheesecake:

Crust

Graham Crust

2 cups Graham Crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

1. Combine sugar and Graham crumbs

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2. Add melted butter and stir until combine

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3. Pour into spring form pan and firmly press. Bake for 10 min and set aside to cool

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Cheesecake

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice (When using chocolate I omit)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
8 oz of Semi sweet Chocolate

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Using a double boiler melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.

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3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth.

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4. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg.

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5. Add the cooled chocolate and stir

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6. Add heavy cream and vanilla, blend until smooth and creamy.

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7. Pour into your prepared pan

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And this is where things went a rye.

I always  bake my cheesecake in a water bath.  Today I was in a rush, I wasn’t really focused and decided to just throw it in the oven, like others do.  Everyone tells me, ‘why bother, it’s just another step, it will be fine’…

8. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top.

Well, it fell and cracked!  Never again! Always a water bath!!!

After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve

Thank goodness I was covering the top, because this was one ugly cheesecake!

The next day..

1. Cut large marshmallows in half and cover the top of your cheesecake

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2. Drizzle with melted chocolate

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3. Top with Graham crackers

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Looks pretty good!

This cheesecake was OK.  I would not make it again

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Everyone said it was good, but they never say and different. (one day I wold like to completely ruin a recipe and not let on and see if anyone said anything, I don’t think they would)

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It definitely was not as ooey and gooey as I had hoped.  See, it looks a little dry.

Oh well. Lessen learned!

Daring Bakers Do Tarte Tatin

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For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She  challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.

I was very excited to see this months challenge, back to desserts!  The Tarte Tatin looked delicious!

As excited as I was that we were making a dessert this month, I can’t have it, blah!  It is Lent and I give up all junk, (sweets, desserts, chips, pop, fast food, pizza, etc.)  My baking has slowed down quite a bit over Lent, because it is all so tempting!

I didn’t want to miss this months. I decided to make a small one and if the reviews were good I would make a regular size one, when Lent was over.  I cut the recipe in a third of posted recipe.

Tarte Tatin

Rough Puff Pastry

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
¼ tsp fine salt
¼ cup (60 ml) ice cold water

1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.

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2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour. With a pastry blender (or two table knives) cut in the butter until the mixture in crumbly but even, with pea-sized pieces of butter.

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3. Make a well in the middle and pour in the ice cold water.

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4. Toss the flour/butter and water together with a fork until the dough starts to clump together.  Turn the dough out onto your work surface – don’t worry if there are still pockets of dry flour.

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5. Gently knead and squeeze the mixture a few times just enough to bring it together into a square (a bench scraper is helpful for this). Be careful not to overwork the dough: there should be visible bits of butter and it should still look very rough.

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6. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a rectangle about 10” (25 cm) long.

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7. Fold the bottom third of the dough up into the middle, and fold the top third down, like you are folding a letter. This is one fold. Turn the dough a one quarter turn so that one of the open edges is facing you, and roll out again into a 10” (25 cm) rectangle. Fold again – this is the second fold. Repeat the rolling and folding 3 more times, for 5 folds total. Your dough will get smoother and neater looking with each fold (the pictures show the first and fifth folds).

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The dough looks lovely, and so easy!

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If your kitchen is very warm and the dough gets too soft/sticky to do all the folds at once, chill it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes between folds. After the fifth fold, use your rolling pin to tap the dough into a neat square. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for a least 1 hour, or overnight.

 Filling

6 large or 7-8 medium-sized apples
Juice of half a lemon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or use salted and skip the salt)
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
pinch salt
Rough Puff Pastry, above

 

1. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Remove the cores in such a way that each apple quarter has a flat inner side: when placed rounded-side-up, it should sit on a flat base.

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2. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup (80 ml) (2-1/2 oz) (65 gm) sugar. This will help draw out some of the moisture from the apples and prevent an overly runny caramel. Set aside for 15 minutes.

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3. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 375˚F

4. Melt the butter in a very heavy, 9” or 10” (23 cm or 24 cm) oven-proof saucepan over medium heat

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5. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup sugar.

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6. Stir with a whisk until the sugar melts and becomes a pale, smooth caramel. The sugar will seem dry and chunky at first, then will start to melt and smooth out. If the butter appears to separate out from the caramel, just keep whisking until it is a cohesive sauce. Remove from the heat.

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And this is where the whole thing fell apart!!! 

I followed the directions to the letter.

Mine appeared to ‘foam’?

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Then separate, as it recipe said it might, but keep whisking, so i did!

Looks awful…

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I was excited it finally came together!

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I added the apples and went to stir…

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Something went wrong.  It’s not caramel, it’s rock hard toffee!

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Into the garbage that went….

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Attempt #2 – no better

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Attempt #3 – worse

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I am not sure what happened.  Maybe because I cut the recipe?  Did anyone else half or third the recipe and have success?

I still have the lovely dough in the fridge, I may give it another try in a day or so or try something new with it.

It is frustrating when a recipe does not go as it is supposed to, but oh well!  It is a challenge and I was pushed out of my comfort zone.

Thank you Korena, from Korena in the Kitchen , for the challenge.  I really want to try this, yours looked delicious!  Any suggestions?

 

Daring Bakers go Dutch

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For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread

 

I’m baaaaaaaaaack!  It’s been so long since I have participated, but I am back and committed to being challenged each month.

I was excited to try this months Daring Bakers challenge because it was something I had never heard of, a Dutch Sweet Bread.  I know a few people right from Holland, so I wanted to make it for them, memories from home.

I picked the second recipe.

Kruidkoek

Original recipe in metric. Servings: 12 slices

4 cups (500 gm) all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons (7 gm) baking powder
2½ cups (600 ml) (17-2/3 oz) (500 gm) brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons (10 gm) ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons (10 gm) ground nutmeg
2 cups (500 ml) milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F and line a 30cmx12 cm (12“x5“)  baking tin with parchment paper.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl

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3. Put the milk in a small saucepan and warm until it almost comes to a boil. Remove from the heat

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4. dd the sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.

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5. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients whisk (by hand or using a machine) until the batter is totally smooth.

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6. Pour into the baking tin and bake in a preheated moderate 350°F oven for 90 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean

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The aroma coming from the kitchen while this was baking was amazing! I could hardly wait to try it!

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Well, I am not sure if I did something wrong (I followed the recipe to a tee) or if it is supposed to be like this, but it was awful!  It looks nothing like the photo in the example.  Its texture reminded me of what it would be like to chew on the yellow part of those green and yellow scouring sponges. YUCK!

I have yet to get it to my Dutch friends, I see them January 1st.  I will update and let you know what they think, but as for me, not a fan.

Thank you Andrea for a great challenge! Looking forward to next month!

Caramel Sauce

Another recipe with Guest Baker Amy!  Amy was out making cheesecakes.  As the first one was in the oven, check it out here, we started the caramel sauce needed for the second cheesecake.

Being in an adventurous mood I thought we would try making homemade caramel sauce.  I read many recipes and watched several videos, it looked really easy.  Very few ingredients and very little work.  All the recipes seemed to be quite similar, but I decided to go with one from ‘A Teaspoon and A Pinch‘.

When purchasing all of our ingredients, I did get a jar or caramel sauce ‘just in case’ things went terribly wrong.  We were optimistic we wouldn’t need it though.

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

1 c. sugar
1¼ c. heavy cream
¼ tsp. coarse salt or sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, optional

1. Measure out the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup and add vanilla bean paste.  Microwave for one minute and set aside.

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2. Spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, watching carefully.

We both watched the pot of sugar quite curiously as we did not believe it would melt down.

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3. When the sugar begins to liquify around the edges, use a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted, taking care not to over stir or allow sugar to clump up

I will admit we got very excited at the sight of liquid forming, we didn’t believe it would happen.

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Mine did not liquify around the edge, it did so in the centre, then clumped.  This didn’t happen in any of the videos I watched!  I am thinking I am glad we bought the jar of sauce!

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It stayed like this for quite some time before all the sugar melted

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4. Once the caramel reaches a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat.  We were optimistic, it was looking and smelling wonderful!

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5. Carefully and quickly, stir in half of the heavy cream.

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6. The mixture will steam and bubble violently. Stir until the cream is well incorporated

*this is when things start to go down hill rather quickly!

In the original recipe the author posts pictures and comments about what to do if the caramel hardens…

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Of course mine did!! A giant clump of candy in a discoloured milky soup, mmmmm delicious!  Blah!

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I followed the disaster directions which basically said to bring back to the heat and stir until the clump dissolved, which it did.  We are optimistic once again!

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7. Stir in the remaining cream. Stir in the salt and optional butter. If any sugar has hardened, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If needed, it can be rewarmed in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.  Makes 1 1/2 cups.

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This looks nothing like the original recipe (or any other that I looked at)

 

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It is grainy and gloopy,not runny at all.  IT was like lava, so we allow it to cool

 

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When it had cooled enough to taste, I grabbed to spoons and we dug right in.

As I am tasting mine I glance over at Amy, she was wincing in pure disgust! It was quite funny.  It was horrible!  This time it is not just me being hard on myself wanting it to be perfect, it was awful!  Amy agreed.  Amy made a good point, she said usually you can eat a dessert maybe a comment about it being too dry, not sweet enough, but this is disgusting and inedible! (something to that effect anyway)

It went directly into the garbage! Ewww

Thank goodness I bought the backup jar of sauce 😉

Pie Crust – Attempt #1

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Raisin Pie….Just like Gramma?

From past posts it is obvious that I am NOT a pie maker!  I can’t seem to make a nice crust.  To be honest, I am really not a pie fan, so I have not taken the time to learn how to make a good one.

Poppa has been asking for a raisin pie for a few months now, and the expert (Gramma) has not taken the bait.   I decide I would jump in with two feet and ATTEMPT a raisin pie, just like Gramma.  About a year ago I made raisin pie with Gramma, but she already had her amazing crust made, we just did the pie filling.

I love making new things but I am terrified about this one.  1) It’s for Poppa, 2) it’s Gramma’s recipe, hope I do it justice, 3) I don’t make pie!, every attempt prior to this I have been unhappy with.  People tell me it’s good, but I know it is not.  I would so much rather someone tell me it is not good, or they don’t like it, then them lie about it!

So I strike into the world wide web in search of a rich and flaky pie crust, there had to be a million, which one to choose? Many are similar with slight variations.  The one big debate I fond was whether to use butter or lard.  I read about both, watched a few YouTube videos and decided to go with butter, because what isn’t better with butter?  I settled on a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen.  I had tried a few of the recipes from that website in the past that were amazing!  This recipe gave many tips and explanations and it was also very simple, very few ingredients….now to see if it is as wonderful as said to be.

Pie Crust

From Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 cups (315 grams) flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (8 ounces, 225 grams tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold

Directions:

1. Fill a 1 cup measure with water and add a few ice cubes or put in the freezer while you get the rest of your ingredients read

2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt

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3. Cube butter and add to flour mixture.  Cut in with pastry cutter.  ( I had to go on the hunt for this, way back at the back of the drawer, again, I don’t make pie)

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4. Cut until butter is pea size, you want visible butter

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5. Start by drizzling 1/2 cup  of the cold water over the butter and flour mixture.

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6. Using spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/4 cup of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there .

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7. Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together

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8. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 1 hour

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9. 3 hours later. Roll out and prepare for your pie filling.  I followed my Gramma’s Raisin Pie Recipe that I made with her last year

Looks pretty good!

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10. Bake until golden brown

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Looks delicious!

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At this point I am so excited!  The pie looks fantastic and smells even better.  I can hardly wait for it to cool for dessert.  When I brought the pie down to my parents for supper everyone was thrilled that I made pie, especially Poppa!  They all know my past problems with pie, by the looks of this one we were quite optimistic.

Mom cooked a fantastic supper, as always, but we all saved room for a piece of pie. Time for dessert!!! There were many ooohh’s, and ahhh’s when I brought the pie to the table……..and it all went down hill from there…..

The high point of this pie was the look of it.  Looks pretty good doesn’t it? Well, our eyes were the only things that were impressed!

I went to cut into the crust, it wouldn’t cut!!! after several attempts I resorted to a bread knife, FOR PIE!!  It was then that my heart sank, and we had a bit of a laugh about it.

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Everyone gets a piece before me, as I am serving. Poppa is eating it up, Gramma is picking away at it, and says it is good.  Dad is eating it, says the inside is awesome but the crust is no good (finally someone is honest) and Mom said no good! I finally get my piece, awful!!!!  Worst. Crust. Ever!  I couldn’t even eat it!  Poppa was a trooper, he ate the whole thing, dunno how he did it.  We all agreed that the filling was fantastic!  I have definitely nailed Gramma’s raisin pie FILLING.  I don’t know what I did wrong, but this didn’t even taste like crust, it kind of reminded me of puff pastry, awful puffed pastry I might add.  I am glad others had success with this recipe but unfortunately I did not!

As Poppa said “don’t give up!” and I wont.  It did make for some good laughs and a story to remember.

So….Raisin Pie….not so much like Gramma’s

Anyone have a pie crust recipe to share???  PLEASE!!!

Banana Loaf

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When bananas look like this there is only one thing to do with them….BAKE! I love bananas, I eat one every day.  This time of year, summer, I am having a hard time keeping them from ripening so fast.  It seems like as soon as I buy them, two days later they look like this.  Anyone have any tips to slow down the ripening process? Covering the stems with foil did not work. Separating each banana did not work and they taste funny if you put them in the fridge, not sure what else to try.  Anyways, having bananas like this is always a great excuse to bake, wouldn’t want them to go to waste.

I like banana bread/muffins, real banana muffins.  I hate when you think you have a beautiful homemade banana muffin and your first bite all you can taste is that imitation banana ‘flavour’, YUCK!  To be honest I have yet to make a banana loaf, I have made Banana Cake many, many times, but this time I wanted more of a dense loaf, not a cake.  I looked on-line and there are thousands, but which one to try?  I asked a few people and the one Jen (guest baker) showed me looked the best.  She says it is delicious, so I gave it a try.

Banana Bread

from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. Mash bananas in a large bowl

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3. With a wooden spoon, mix melted butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.

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4. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla.

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5. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.

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6. Add the flour, mix.

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7. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan.

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8. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

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This bread smelt so good while it was baking.  It tasted ok, not  a whole lot of flavour.  I must say I was not fussy on the texture, it was kind of spongy/rubbery.  Don’t think I’ll make this one again.