Apple Dapple Cake


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


3. Mix oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.


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


5. Add to first mixture.


6. Fold in pecans and apples.


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


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



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

  1. Combine all ingredients


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


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


    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!


    Slowly starts to soak in…



    Let cake cool completely before removing.


    Looks amazing





    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!


Cherry Pie



Another pie, this is the 3rd in 3 weeks!  I know, I have went on and on, in the past, about how I hated making pies.  Since then I have learned how to make a good crust, that seems to work out every time!  Everyone else in my family loves pie so they are always eager to try something new.


This time I wanted to make a cherry pie.  The cherries are amazing this year and I figured I would give it a try.  After buying and extra basket of cherries everyone told me, ‘you can’t make cherry pie with those cherries!’ What?!?! To me a cherry is a cherry, beyond the fresh ones at the market and the maraschino ones you get in the jar I really didn’t know there were more.  Apparently there are.  Rumor is that you can ONLY make a pie with sour cherries.  At this point I am a little flustered as I have no idea what I am going to do with all of these cherries!

When I got home I take to the web in search of some baking answers, “can you make a pie with sweet cherries?”  YES, YES you can!!! There were tones of recipes out there, also tones for the sour cherries.  I’ll show them!….I hope….

This one I did follow a recipe, with so many people rooting against me I figure I better follow something!

Sweet Cherry Pie

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sweet cherries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3  cup caster sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoons cream
Your favourite pie dough



1. Preheat oven to 425ºF

2. I never know how much fruit to use and many of my pie dishes are different sizes.  This is how I measure how many cherries to use.  This many!


3. Thoroughly wash and dry cherries


4. Using your favourite pie dough, roll out and prepare your crust (I forgot to get a picture of this step)

5. Stem and pit the cherries.  This was something I had never done before.  When I eat cherries I always just spit them in a cup (classy I know).  As there were so many of them I looked up different ways of going about it.  I was quite surprised to learn there is an actual cherry pitter! It’s quite the tool. As a gadget freak like myself I may look into it.  I settled on these 3, a knife, a piping tip and an orange peeler.  They made it look so easy.


The piping tip seemed like the best option to me, made total sense.

Using a very small tip (I used #2) place tip up and insert into stem hole


Press down until pit pops out the top…..Not quite! I felt the tip slip off


Tried a bigger one #5


Not much better


On to Plan B – the end of an orange peeler.  Just dig it out


It worked, but was very time consuming and messy


Plan C – My idea, a knife.  I treated it like an avocado.

Slice around the edges


Twist and pull apart


Pick out the pit



I thought I would be an hour doing this – with this method – max 15 minutes


6. In a large bowl combine cherries, almond extract, lemon, salt, sugar and corn starch


7. Pour into your prepared pie shell


8. Create a vented top, lattice or other

9. Lightly beat egg and cream. Bush over the crust



10. Bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350ºF continue baking until golden brown and centre is bubbling.

It’s far from pretty



11. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.  I am praying that the pie has set and I don’t end up with cherry soup!


YAAAY!  No soup!


Look at that!


I would like to say YES you can make a pie with sweet cherries!  This pie was delicious!  I’ll be honest, I have nothing to compare it to because I have never had cherry pie but I can’t imagine it any better.


The crust was rich and flaky and the filling was delightful.  Even though they were sweet cherries there was still quite a bit of tang, but not too much it was the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  The pie set perfectly, a slight run but not soupy.

I think I am getting the hang of this pie thing.  I may, and that is a big may be converted to a pie person.  I ate the entire piece!





Strawberry Cheesecake Bites


It’s one of my favourite times of the year, Ontario strawberries are ready for picking!  I love strawberries, but I really only eat them this time of the year, they are fresh, local and delicious!  These berries are deep dark red all the way though, juicy and sweet.  I hate when you buy a package of strawberries from the grocery store and they are only red on the outer 3 millimeters and the insides are white and have no flavour, ewww!  I tend to eat as many as humanly possible for about a month, while they are fresh right off the plant.  When they start to peter off I buy more so I can freeze them and either bake with them in the winter or throw them in my smoothies.



I normally just eat them as is, washed and stemmed.  Sometimes I will put a little CoolWhip or yogurt on them, but I love to enjoy them in their natural form.   Today I was in the mood to make something, BUT it is 33° C and feels like 38° C so I really didn’t want to turn the oven on to heat it up any more in here.   I looked up a few recipes (some of which I will making very soon) and saw a picture that reminded me of a recipe a friend told me about a while ago, Strawberry Cheesecake Bites.  I didn’t have an exact recipe (which is killer for me, I am a strict recipe follower!), but I thought I would be adventurous and give it a whirl, and make it up.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

10 Strawberries
2 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
2 tbsp Icing sugar
1/4 tsp Vanilla
Graham Crumbs to sprinkle


1. Allow cream cheese to slightly warm up enough to be able to mix

2. While cream cheese is warming, wash hull and hallow out strawberries.  I used a small pairing knife


3. Combine cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth


4. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into each strawberry


5. Sprinkle with Graham crumbs and enjoy!


These look delicious!




These little bite sized ‘cheesecakes’ were amazing!  They were refreshing and a tad bit sweet, but not too much.  They were excellent on a hot day like today.  The sweetness of the berry and the creamy filling worked perfect together.  The sprinkling of crumbs really brought it together, added a little texture.  They really tasted like cheesecake.  This is a wonderful light dessert all the taste without all the guilt of a real cheesecake.  I will definitely be making these again.

Crazy for Apple Pie

The Crazy Cooks are back! I joined the group a few months ago only to find out, after my first challenge, they were no longer going to be running.  Then, last month I got an email  saying that they were starting back up again!!  I was quite excited as I only was able to participate in one previous challenge.  This group picks a theme and you can find any recipe you want, but it must be a recipe you have never tried.  This month was apple pie.

I am not a huge pie fan, in fact there are really only 2 pies that I like, pecan pie and my Gramma’s Raisin pie.  These pies are 2 of the sweetest pies I have ever tasted, you can almost feel your teeth rotting as you chew, they are wonderful!  Normally I pass on pie because I don’t like ‘fruit’ for dessert, and most pies are fruit pies.  Even though I don’t like pie I was excited to do this challenge because my family loves pie!

I combined two recipes for this pie.  The filling was from a recipe on Epicurious – Old Fashioned Lattice-Top Apple Pie.  As for the crust – I have a very hard time with crust, it rarely turns out.  I’ve been told that my hands are too warm to make crust, the butter melts before its suppose to (who knows?).  I had been using a Shortbread Pastry that worked fairly well, but these challenges require you to use recipes that you have never used before.  I chose to use Anna Olson’s Pie Dough, Anna is my Hero! I saw her make this dough on Bake With Anna Olson, AND it is made in your Kitchen Aid Mixer! Sorry for the dark pictures, we are experiencing a lot of dark rainy days here…

Two-Crust Pie Dough

2 1/4 cups cake and pastry flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar


1. Stir the flour, sugar and salt to combine in a bowl or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

2. Cut in the butter by hand with a pastry cutter or on low speed until just small pieces of butter are visible and the mixture as a whole just begins to take on a pale yellow colour (indicating that the butter has been worked in sufficiently).

3. Stir the water and lemon juice together and add this to the dough all at once, mixing until the dough just comes together.

4. Shape the dough into 2 discs, wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before rolling. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in the fridge before rolling.

Still able to see pieces of butter


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced


1. Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F.
2. Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add apples and toss to blend.

3. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round.

4. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold edge under, forming high-standing rim; crimp.Don’t worry about cracks, dough is very forgiving, just patch it up in the pan

5. Add filling.

6. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into twelve 1-inch-wide strips. Arrange 6 strips across pie. Form lattice by arranging 6 strips diagonally across first strips. Gently press ends into crust edges. Brush lattice with milk. Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.(I got a little excited and forgot to take pictures. Sorry)

7. Bake pie 10 minutes.

8. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.  Continue baking until juices bubble thickly and crust is deep golden, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool on rack 1 hour. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand on rack.)

Apple Pie without Cheese is like a hug without a squeeze!

I have mixed reviews for the pie.  The crust was amazing! This will be my new ‘go to’ crust.  It was it was light, and flakey, but strong enough to hold shape, I highly recommend it.  The filling….it was a little blah…it did not thicken,
It was just like eating apples, not pie. I was disappointed.  Some people loved it, some said it was good.  No one was ‘wowed’.  Thought the crust got rave reviews.
I really enjoyed this challenge! Thank you crazy cooks for returning, I look forward to next months Challenge!
Check out everyone’s Apple Pies HERE

Watermelon Salad

I stepped outside of my comfort zone today, well actually I did a triple back flip and an Irish Jig when I landed, and made Watermelon Salad!!  There wasn’t any sugar, chocolate or flour, amazing that I even attempted it, really.  Anyways….

It was a year or so ago when I first saw a ‘Watermelon Salad’, it really peaked my interest.  More and more they were popping up, and I kept saying ‘I’d like to try that’.  I have been asking around and no one that I knew had tried it.  I was hoping for someone to tell me either way to see if it was worth a try.  I looked up a lot of different recipes and they were all basically the same, watermelon, feta, onions, mint and a dressing.  The one thing that really got me was feta? really? Feta and Watermelon? how could this be good? Well, today was the day, I was going to try it! Being that I wasn’t sure, I scaled down the recipe only using 1 cup of melon and a 1/6 of everything else.

Watermelon Salad

Adapted from Fresh Tastes


  • 6 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


1. Combine watermelon, feta cheese, red onion, and mint in a large bowl.

2. Pour the lime juice and olive oil over the watermelon mixture and toss gently to coat.
3. Serve immediately.

I was pleasantly surprised, it was pretty good!  The feta and watermelon went together better than I expected, they seem to complement each other.  The watermelon seems to cut the salt and tang of the feta. The onions gave it a bit of a bite and a nice citrus zing with the lime dressing.  Next time, I think I will omit the mint.  Maybe I just added too much but it did give me a very overpowering mint flavour.  Reminded me too much of Gum.  A lovely fresh and refreshing salad I will be making again!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Earlier this week my Aunt asked if I would make her a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, of course I answered YES! Me turn down a chance to bake? are you kidding?  I was kind of excited because I have been wanted to make something for a while, but didn’t want to have it around for me to eat.  It was also a challenge because I had never made a lemon poppy-seed cake before.  I immediately start searching for recipes as soon as I came home.  There were so many different recipes, I was quite surprised that a lot of them started with a box mix!  Well, that wasn’t going to happen!!

I decided to use one from (by the way, the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake wasn’t the only good things there. Some very nice recipes I will be trying in the future).  This recipe intrigued me because of the directions.  Most cakes there is a specific order on how to do things, when to add, how long to mix, etc etc.  Not this one, Check it out.

I just love lemons, I can eat them just as is, I love the sour pucker they give you.  It doesn’t matter if its dessert, a meal or a beverage, haven’t found a lemon dish I didn’t like.  Bare with me, I went a little crazy on the lemon photos.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup poppy seeds

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice)

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



1. Combine all of your ingredients into the bowl of an electric mixer. (can you believe that?)

2. Mix on low, scraping the sides occasionally. Until your wet and dry ingredients are just combined, about 30 seconds.

3. Then increase your speed to high and mix for 2 minutes until your batter is thick and smooth.

4. Butter and flour your bundt cake

5. Bake at 325 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Once baked, let your cake cool for 10 minutes. Flip it over onto a cake stand and allow it to cool completely.


Lemon Glaze

Meanwhile, to prepare your icing combine 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice. Stir until smooth. Once your cake is cooled, drizzle with your icing. Serve and enjoy!

Looks pretty good, not sure though.  Delivered it and waiting to hear a verdict 🙂

Daring Baker’s do Fresh Frasiers

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

First off I want to thank everyone for the wonderful feedback on last months challenge, I had an amazing time hosting.  It took me over a week but I think I visited everyone’s blog who posted on the “Completed Forum”.  WOW, there were some beautiful baklava’s and such creative fillings.  I am such a “by the recipe” baker, I wish I had the creativity and knowledge of flavour combinations that a lot of people have. When I made baklava again I will definitely be using some of your ideas.

Ok, enough of that lets move onto this months challenge…

I have to admit when I first saw what we were making I though, blah…I am not a huge fan of desserts with fruit.  I am of the thinking if you’re having dessert it has to be chocolatey, gooey, and super sweet, and that fruit is a refreshing snack, not something I consider a dessert.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fruit especially this time of year with all the fresh berries, just not for dessert.

Fresh Frasiers, with my limited ability to understand french I was able to get that it has something to do with strawberries, but I had never heard of it before.

Here is the challenge rules from Jana

Mandatory Items: You must make a cake with exposed fruits, edible flowers, etc. around the sides of the center layer. You must make all components (cake, pastry cream mousse, simple syrup) from scratch. You may not make a trifle. It must be a free-standing cake on a platter.

Variations allowed: Have fun with this idea! I love creativity so feel free to mix up the strawberries for other fruits or edible flowers, freeze the mousse as an ice cream etc. Making a cake, a filling, maintaining the structure of the cake with the exposed fruits is mandatory, but the flavors and methods should be just plain fun! I am providing you with a basic chiffon cake and many alterations (lemon, orange, coconut, and chocolate) to it! You may be as creative or traditional as you like! For the Vegan and Gluten-Free crowd I have provided links at the end to help with the portions of the recipe that will not suffice.

Basic Chiffon Cake:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) (5½ oz/155 gm) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) baking powder
3/4 cups (180 ml) (6 oz /170 gm) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (1½ gm) salt, preferably kosher
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (3.17 fl oz/95 ml) water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3 gm) lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1 gm) cream of tartar

Jena provided is with a few options I chose the Lemon one

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Ingredient Alterations:
Reduce water to 1/4 cup (60 ml)
Add 1/8 cup (30 ml) lemon juice
Increase lemon zest to 1½ teaspoon (7½ ml) (5 gm)
Remove the vanilla from the recipe


1. Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F
2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.

4. In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.

5. Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.

6. Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.

7. Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

9. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

10. Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Pastry Cream Filling:

1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) whole milk
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon (1/2 ml) (¼ gm) salt, preferably kosher
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (10 gm)cornstarch
1/4 cup (60 ml) (2 oz/55 gm) sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz/30 gm) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon (3¾ ml) (4 gm) gelatin
1/2 tablespoon (7½ ml) water
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) heavy cream


1.  Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Stir occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine

3. Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.

4. When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while the stand mixer is whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.

5. Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.

6. Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.

7.  Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.

8. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for up to five days.

9. In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.

10. Put two inches (55 mm) of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.

11. Measure 1/4 cup (2 oz/60 ml) of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.

12.  Heat the cream until it is 120 F (48.8 C). Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth.

13. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.

14. In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.
*forgot to take pictures of these last few steps*

Simple Syrup:

You may choose to flavor the syrup. One way is to use flavored sugar (for example: apple cider sugar, orange sugar, or vanilla sugar) or to stir in 1-2 teaspoons of flavored extract. You may also infuse with herbs or spices, if desired or add four tablespoons (60 ml) of fruit juice or liqueur while the syrup is cooling.

1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) (2⅔ oz/75 gm) of sugar, flavored or white
1/3 cup (2⅔ fl oz/80 ml) of water


1.  Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.

2. Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.

3. Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.

Fraisier Assembly:

1 baked 8 inch (20 cm) chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
⅓ cup (80 ml) simple syrup or flavored syrup
2 lbs (900 g) strawberries

1. Line the sides of a 8-inch (20 cm) spring form pan with plastic wrap. Do not line the bottom of the pan.

For some reason this was the most difficult part of the challenge, had a huge fight with the plastic wrap!!  I actually had to walk away for a few minutes.

2. Cut the cake in half horizontally to form two layers.

3. Fit the bottom layer into the prepared spring form pan. Moisten the layer evenly with the simple syrup. When the cake has absorbed enough syrup to resemble a squishy sponge, you have enough.

4. Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides of the cake pan. Place the cut side of the strawberry against the sides of the pan, point side up forming a ring.

**I must take a moment to thank my Poppa for the beautiful strawberries he picked for me.  He tends to spoil me a bit.  At 81 he was in the berry field on hands and knees picking baskets and baskets of strawberries.  I was lucky enough to be the recipient of some of those.  Thanks Poppa!!!

5.  Pipe cream in-between strawberries and a thin layer across the top of the cake.

6. Hull and quarter your remaining strawberries and place them in the middle of the cake. Cover the strawberries and entirely with the pastry cream.

7. Place the second cake layer on top and moisten with the simple syrup.

I chose to fancy it up a little and finished it off with the rest of the fresh berries.

8. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

9. To serve release the sides of the spring form pan and peel away the plastic wrap.  Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

The verdict? Delicious!

Thank you Jana for a wonderful challenge.  Our Fraisier was gone within 2 days.  Everyone LOVED it.  My parents who really aren’t dessert people had seconds.  I will be making this again for sure!