Apple Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

March 21st, 2011

The advantages of planning ahead pay off in big ways.  Earlier in the month when I was planning the pool party that will not happen this year, I made this apple spice cake just like the one served at Spice Kitchen + Bar.  I stuck it in the freezer and forgot about it.  Now with my family coming to visit, I have instant dessert at the ready.  I’ve got to remember to do things like this more often.

The recipe was in an old issue of Bon Appetit Magazine.  My Mother used to make an apple cake that we all loved and this reminded me of her cake.  It is loaded with spices and will go well with scoops of vanilla ice cream.  A bundt cake is good when serving a crowd of people because it is so easy to slice and looks pretty sitting on a cake stand.

I snuck a piece with a glass of milk last night, just to be sure that it was worth blogging about.  It was. The things I do for all of you are unbelievable. If you need the best butter, you can have a peek here and get the best quality butter.


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 3/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, coarsely grated

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

For Cake:  Postion rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.  Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray.  Sift flour and next 6 ingredients into medium bowl.  Drain grated apples in strainer.  Using hands or kitchen towel, squeeze out excess liquid from apples.  Measure 2 cups grated apples.

Using electric mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and lemon peel in large bowl until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.  Mix in vanilla and lemon juice.  Beat in flour mixture.  Mix in grated apples.  Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze:  Stir all ingredients in small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil. Reduce heat to medium; whisk until glaze is smooth, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

Invert cake onto rack set over baking sheet.  Using small skewer, pierce holes all ove top of warm cake.  Pour glaze over top, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more.  Cool cake 30 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Plum Cake “Tatin”

February 11th, 2011

I decided that I wouldn’t make a chocolate dessert this year for Valentine’s Day.  Instead I was drawn to the idea of something with fruit.  The Barefoot Contessa made this plum cake a few weeks ago and I printed the recipe.  Plums have not been in the market for a while, but while shopping two days ago a new crop had just come in.  Aha!  Just the thing.  Red- hued plums in a rich cake with a caramelized sugar top.  It is similar to a pineapple upside down cake.

Ina Garten’s recipes are usually fool proof.  This one is too.  The fool is me.  I don’t have a candy thermometer here in Florida so I winged it.  You are supposed to boil sugar and water until it is a warm amber color and 360 degrees on the candy thermometer.  This is poured over the halved plums in the pie plate before the cake batter is added.  I kind of knew when I poured it over the plums that it had not reduced enough.  There was just too much liquid.  But it was too late.  I poured the batter over it and hoped for the best.  The resulting cake was very liquid when I flipped it onto the serving plate and there was not much caramelization on the plums, but in spite of that it was good.  Just imagine how good this would have been if I had had the proper equipment.

Follow this recipe to the letter and I am sure you will have great results.


10 to 12 purple “prune” plums, cut in half and pitted
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter a 9-inch deep dish pie plate.  Arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  Swirl the pan but don’t stir.  Pour evenly over the plums.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.  Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one a time.  Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture.  Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evely over the plums and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate.  If a plum sticks, ease it out and replace it in the desigh on the top of the cake.  Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

For more treats for Valentine’s Day check out Lisa’s Sweet as Sugar blog which is linking lots of blogs for Sweets For Saturday.

Food and cooking aside, I have to tell you that our family is receiving the best Valentine present that anyone could receive.  Our Son Michael, DIL Kristen and Granddaughter Rachel are welcoming into our family a beautiful little boy.  He will be delivered on Valentine’s Day.  Our hearts are full.

Lots of love to all of you.  I will be busy for the next week, but promise to share pictures.

Printable recipe

Italian Cream Cake and the Genesis of Baking

December 29th, 2010

I wonder how many girls began their love of baking with Hasbro’s Easy Bake Oven.  They have been around since 1963 and make it easy and safe for young people to experiment in the kitchen.  There are even myriads of recipes on the internet if you run out of the mixes that come with the oven.

Rachel’s cousin Keenan got an Easy Bake Oven from her Aunt Kristen this year and because we were all snowed in, they spent some time making cookies together.

I predict that it will not be long until she is making cakes like this in the real oven.  This Italian Cream Cake was both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat.  The top was sprinkled with coconut and studded with pecans.  Keenan’s Grandmother, Becky, brought the cake to our Christmas dinner and was kind enough to share the recipe with me.  She is a great cook.  I remember one year she brought the most beautiful salad in the shape of a wreath.  The greens were sprinkled with cherry tomatoes and other edible decorations that made it very festive.

You had to be quick with your camera to get a picture of this cake.  Slices kept disappearing in a blink of an eye.  Because it is a three layer cake, it looks impressive.  The cream cheese frosting is easy to spread and I think even I, the reluctant baker, could make a cake like this.  Thank you for the recipe Becky.


1 stick of margarine (or butter)
2 cups sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 small can of coconut
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 cup crisco shortening
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter, crisco and sugar.  Beat until mixture is smooth.  Add egg yolks and beat well.  Combine flour and baking soda and add alternately with buttermilk.  Stir in vanilla.  Add coconut and nuts.  Fold in egg whites.  Bake in 3 (8 inch) greased and floured cake pans in 350 degree F. oven until done.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 box of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
shredded coconut for top
pecan halves for top

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined.  You may have to add a little milk to make the right consistancy to spread.  Assemble and frost cake.  Decorate top with coconut and pecan halves.

Printable recipe

Chocolate Raspberry Turnovers

December 16th, 2010

These are small.  They are just a taste of croissant, chocolate and raspberry goodness.  I did spend a lot of time actually making my own puff pastry at one time.  See this post.  But you know what?  The frozen puff pastry works very well.  I have been looking for a small pastry addition for my Christmas breakfast and I have decided that these easy turnovers are just the thing.  I would serve them with a breakfast casserole and a beautiful fruit tray.

The turnovers are filled with raspberry jam and chocolate.  I would recommend you buy a good quality jam because that will be the dominate flavor.  The milk chocolate is best if it is finely chopped so that it doesn’t make bumps in the pastry.  The recipe was in an old issue of Gourmet magazine which is still one of my favorite “go to” sources for all things delicious.

I love these!  Once the puff pastry is thawed it is a labor of love to cut and fill them.  Take your time and enjoy the morning.  The coffee is brewing and a crispy turnover awaits you.


1 (17 1/4 oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 large egg
1/3 cup raspberry jam
3 1/2 oz fine-quality mild chocolate, finely chopped

Put oven rack in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out 1 puff pastry sheet into a 12 inch square on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, then brush off excess flour from both sides.  Cut into 16 squares.

Whisk together egg and a pinch of salt.  Place 1/2 teaspoon jam and 1 teaspoon chocolate in center of each square, then brush edges of squares with some of the beaten egg.  Fold each square in half to form a triangle, pressing edges to seal.  Brush tops of pastries with some of remaining egg and transfer to a lined baking sheet.  Chill on sheet while making 16 more pastries in same manner, transferring to second baking sheet.

Bake pastries, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Cool on sheets on racks 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

Printable recipe

Cranberry-Apple Crisp

November 4th, 2010
I am continuing my countdown to Thanksgiving recipe posts.  My very favorite pie for Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie.  I even make an extra one so that I can have it for breakfast for a whole week.  But if you want something a little different or you are stressed out from all of the cooking, this is the dessert for you.  It is simple to throw together with no crust to worry about and it has the sweet and tangy flavor combination of cranberries and apples.  Add a dollop of ice cream and it is the perfect ending to the Thanksgiving feast.

Just toss chopped apples and cranberries together in a deep dish pie plate.  Add sugar and flour and then a topping of oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter and bake it until the top is crispy and the fruit is bubbling.  It couldn’t be simpler.

To digress a moment – It would have been easier to present these Thanksgiving recipes in order; ie, Appetizers, Soup, Entree, Vegetables, Salad and Desserts but there is a reason for my haphazard postings.  We are leaving for Florida in less than a week and I am trying to use up what I have in the pantry and fridge.  I used part of a bag of cranberries for the previous recipe and needed to finish it up, plus I had apples and oatmeal that were just enough for this crisp.  As another aside, are you ever surprised by the number of condiments that you collect in the door shelves of your refrigerator?   I sometimes buy things like tahini or anchovy paste and then forget all about them.  Note to self:  Keep better track of what you have.

Cold weather has descended on us and we have had the gas logs burning in the living room.  This weekend we will build a fire in the kitchen fireplace and enjoy warm bowls of this comfy crisp.


3 cups apples, peeled and cut into bite size pieces (About 2 large)
2 cups whole fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  In a large bowl place apples, cranberries, sugar and 2 tablespoons flour and mix together well.  Place in a deep dish 9″ pie plate.  In a medium bowl mix brown sugar, oats, flour, walnuts and melted butter.  Mix to combine.  Put topping on top of apple mixture.  Bake uncovered until bubbly and lightly browned, about 1 hour.  Serve warm with ice cream.  8 to 10 servings.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.