Apple “Jack” Donut Cake

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As you have learned from the past few weeks of blog posts, I love fall. From the changing leaves to the pumpkins everywhere to the seasonal foods, fall is definitely my favorite season.

One of my favorite fall traditions is going with my family to a local farm to buy apples, look at all the different pumpkins and gourds, and dig into fresh apple cider donuts. A relaxing day spent with the people I love… and cider donuts.

Apple cider donuts are an interesting food. They are soft, cake-like, and spiced on the inside with a firm outer crust that is covered in sweet sanding sugar… basically the perfect balance of textures and flavors. I love apple cider donuts so much that I actually had them instead of cake for my 6th birthday!

The apple farm is usually swamped on weekends, so apple cider donuts have been hard to come by this season. But when my mom showed me a recipe that she saw on Facebook for APPLE CIDER DONUT CAKE, I was sold. We had to make it and we had to make it now.

With a few tweaks, I think we made a pretty delicious cake. There are a couple stages of ingredients and steps, but the results are definitely worth it.

It starts with the dry ingredients.

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In a large bowl, I combined flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Then set the bowl aside as I got the wet ingredients together.

The first component of the wet ingredients is an apple puree that is made from boiling cubes of apple in apple cider until they are soft and tender.

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Any firm apple works here – I personally like granny smith or gala apples the best!
When the apples are tender, let the mixture cool slightly before transferring it to a blender or food processor. NOTE: when blending a hot liquid, only fill the blender up halfway and crack the top open and cover with a tea towel. This will prevent the top from flying off and hot apples going everywhere.

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Puree until completely smooth. Pour out one cup of the apple puree mixture – if there is not enough apple puree, add in some more apple cider to make up the difference. Then add in a ¼ cup skim milk – stir to combine and then set aside.

Now it’s time to bring out the big guns… your stand mixer!

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In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine some butter (okay, one stick), some granulated sugar, and some brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.

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Then slowly add in three eggs, some vegetable oil, and some vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract and stir until combine. Then, with the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients alternatively with the apple puree – starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. I recommend using a spatula to do one last mix to combine anything that is stuck on the bottom of the bowl.

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Pour the batter into a bundt pan, preferably one without a fancy pattern – this is a donut, after all! Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, you can whip up the two “toppings” for the cake – a glaze and a cinnamon sugar sprinkle.

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For the glaze, heat butter, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and add in some…

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… whiskey! Apples and whiskey (just like bananas and whiskey) go together really well. If you don’t like whiskey, you can substitute some apple cider instead. Then set the glaze aside until the cake is done.

Now, all that’s left is to make the cinnamon sugar.

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In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously until combined.

Now we assemble!

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When the cake is done, cool it for a few minutes in the bundt pan then turn it out onto a cooling rack set over a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Let the cake cool slightly.

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When the cake has cooled, start to brush the cake with the whiskey syrup. I do this in several stages to allow for maximum syrup soakage.

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When all the syrup has been brushed on the cake, sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the cake, making sure to cover the top and the sides. Wait 10 minutes and repeat with the other half of the cinnamon sugar.

Now it’s time to dig in!

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Not quite the same thing as a cider donut, but delicious nonetheless… A perfect homage to a childhood favorite!

So, kiddos, do you like cider donuts? What’s your favorite fall food? Let me know!

Your cider donut obsessed friend,

C

  • Servings: 12 people
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 firm apple (I like granny smith), peeled and chopped

¾ cup apple cider

¼ cup skim milk

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon ground allspice

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar, packed

3 eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

For the glaze:

½ stick unsalted butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

⅛ cup water

¼ cup whiskey

For the cinnamon sugar:

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the chopped apple and cider. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before blending. If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Measure out one cup of the apple puree – if you do not have enough liquid, add in additional apple cider to make the full amount. Add in the skim milk, stir to combine and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir to combine and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffly, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, followed by the vegetable oil and vanilla bean paste/extract. Stir to completely combine, stopping to scrap down the sides.
  6. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the apple puree, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and water and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the whiskey – be careful because the mixture will bubble up! Set aside.
  9. While the cake is baking, make the cinnamon sugar. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside.
  10. When the cake is finished, allow it to cool for about 5-10 minutes in the pan. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack set over a wax paper-lined baking rack. Let the cake cool completely.
  11. When the cake has cooled, brush the cake with the glaze – work in batches to cover the top and sides, allowing one coat to sink into the cake before adding in another. When all the glaze has been brushed onto the cake, sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon sugar – I recommend sprinkling half the cinnamon sugar onto the cake, waiting ten minutes for it to set, and then sprinkling on the second half.

Serve alongside a cold glass of milk. Enjoy!

 

Recipe lightly adapted from: https://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/apple-cider-donut-cake/

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

391 calories Ÿ• 54gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 1gm fiber Ÿ• 4gm protein •Ÿ 17gm fat Ÿ• 8gm saturated fat Ÿ• 330mg sodium Ÿ• 77mg cholesterol Ÿ• 2mg iron Ÿ• 68mg calcium

American Flag Cake

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Happy Monday, kiddos!

How’s it going? How was your 4th of July? Did you have a great weekend with your family and friends?

I had a wonderful holiday full of family and good friends. E came home to celebrate, her godparents stopped for a visit as they were driving home from vacation, and we had two good friends come for dinner/dessert/fireworks. That’s exactly how I like my Independence Day celebrations – friends, family, food, and fireworks.

While dinner was all about the traditional cookout food, we decided to rebel and not serve pie for dessert (gasp!). I saw a really cool concept for a layer cake in Instyle Magazine and I had to try it out.

It starts with boxed cake mix – one box on red velvet and one box of white vanilla cake (not the yellow cake, the actual box that says “white”, or else the colors will get wonky).

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I made the red velvet cake according to the package in two eight-inch pans that were sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper (for easy cake removal). For the white cake, I prepared the batter according to the directions and pour half of the batter into a sprayed and parchment-papered eight-inch cake pan. With the second half, add some blue gel food coloring into the batter until you reach the perfect shade of blue (this is about a third of a 1oz jar of food coloring).

Now, it’s all about the assembly. I cut the perfectly risen vanilla layer in half, so I had two vanilla layers. Since my red velvet cake and blue cake layers didn’t rise very much (!), I ended up having less layers in the cake than the Instyle cake. But it all worked out fine!

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Place one red velvet cake layer on a plate lined with wax paper (I’m a messy icer!).

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Spread on a thin layer of vanilla icing… and yes, I am using icing from a can (two and a half cans of the stuff in total).

Then place a vanilla layer and add another thin layer of icing… and yes, I forgot to take a photo of these steps.

Then plunk another red velvet cake layer onto the growing cake stack and add more icing.

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Finally, it’s time to deal with the blue layer. Take the blue layer and cut a four-inch circle out of the middle of the layer.

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Place the blue ring layer on top of the cake.

Then grab the second vanilla layer and cut out a four-inch circle. Pop the circle into the middle of the blue ring.

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Tada!

All that’s left is to frost the cake!

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I usually pile a bunch of icing on the top of the cake and push it to the edges and let it fall over the sides. Then it’s easy to spread the frosting on the sides.

It’s important to pop the cake in the fridge for a little bit to let the frosting set up.

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Then cut into it and show off your American pride!

Enjoy, kiddos!

Your cake makin’ friend,

C

 

Grab this recipe from Instyle Magazine’s website at http://www.instyle.com/news/fourth-of-july-flag-cake-recipe-video!

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

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You all know that I don’t really do the whole Throwback Thursday thing, but I’m throwing it back to this weekend when I whipped up some amazing chocolate molten lava cakes.

Chocolate cake + molten center = a happy Grad School Foodie

And this recipe by Emeril Lagasse is super simple to whip up!

It starts with a bunch of ramekins that are liberally greased with butter and flour.

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I actually used baking spray (because I’m lazy) and the cakes didn’t come out of the ramekins easily (very frustration). Please don’t be like me… butter and flour them (well)!

The chocolate mixture of this cake is super simple.

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Butter, powdered sugar, some heavy cream, and semi-sweet chocolate chips (Emeril uses bittersweet, so use whatever your heart desires!). Yum, yum, yum! They get melted slowly over a double boiler until the chocolate and butter melts.

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Perfection. Please resist the urge to grab a spoon and dig in as it cools. And can you please marvel how shiny this chocolate is? You can see my kitchen curtains in it!

Now we just need to whip up the “cake” part of these babies and then it’s time to bake!

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whip the mixture on medium-high speed until it becomes light, pale yellow, and forms thick ribbons.

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Sift in some flour.

Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture…

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… and portion them into the ramekins. The recipe says that it makes 4 cakes but I think it actually depends on what size ramekin you used.

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For me, this recipe makes four ½ cup ramekins, one 1-½ cup ramekins, and one size-undetermined heart-shaped ramekin. So I really can’t say how many cakes this will make – it’s totally individual to you!

Then all you need to do is bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

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And then dig in!

Enjoy, kiddos!

Happy Thursday,

C

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon of table salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Butter and flour to grease the ramekins

 

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 450°. Grease and flour your ramekins very well and place them on a baking sheet.
  2. In a double boiler (a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water), melt butter, chocolate, heavy cream, and powdered sugar together – stir continuously until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat to cool.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whip on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes light, pale yellow, and thick ribbons form – about 3 minutes.
  4. Sift in the flour into the egg mixture – fold to combine. Add in the cooled chocolate mixture and fold in gently.
  5. Divide the batter between each ramekin. Place ramekins into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the sides and top are just set but still soft. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly before unmolding onto a plate.

Serve the cakes by themselves or with a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Recipe slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse.

Buche de Noel, Day 3

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It. Is. Finished.

Oh my goodness, everyone, I am so unbelievably happy today. Yesterday, with some help from my dad, I pulled together the famed holiday dessert – The Buche de Noel.

I have been documenting my progress the past two days, but yesterday was the day… cake baking and dessert assembly (and eating!).

 

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The cake is a standard sponge cake and starts with a combination of eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and a little salt that is whipped on a double boiler until the mixture reaches 100 degrees.

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Then the egg mixture is removed from the heat and whipped some more on high speed until the mixture becomes twice its original volume and has cooled.

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When the mixture has been cooled, then the dry ingredients (cake flour and corn starch) are sifted into the mixture and it is all folded together.

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The batter is poured into a high-sided cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan) and spread out with a spatula. Bake for about 13-15 minutes until the cake is just set in the middle.

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Then turn out the cake onto a work surface to cool and stand back and do a happy dance that you have successfully made almost all the elements for the Buche de Noel.

Then go run some errands and return home to realized that your cat has jumped upon the counter and eaten some of your cake…

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So, make another cake and then make sure you stand watch as it cools so that thieving cats don’t eat your second attempt.

Now, it’s all about the assembly!

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To make the mushrooms, dab a little room temperature ganache on the bottom of a mushroom cap.

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And gently push in the stem until it becomes anchored in the ganache.

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And viola! A meringue mushroom!

 

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For the Buche de Noel itself, brush the cake with a spiked simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar brought to a boil, cooled, and spiked with an equal part of rum!).

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To make spreading the ganache easier (and to ensure you spread it evenly), I put big blobs of ganache all over the cake and spread with an offset spatula.

I totally spaced and didn’t take pictures of how to roll a jelly roll, but here is a pretty good tutorial video from Martha Stewart. I rolled my cake along the long-side, which provides a better sized piece of cake (this dessert is very rich so a little goes a LONG way!).

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Tada!

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We wanted to make a branch sticking out of the middle of the cake, so my dad trimmed 3-4 inches off one end…

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… and placed it onto the middle of the log!

Then frost the log like you would a regular cake… or as my dad put it, like you spackle a wall. Whichever analogy works for you!

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Then artfully arrange some meringue mushrooms around your Buche de Noel.

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And stand back and admire your work!

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Oh so festive!

 

This was a great Christmas baking challenge and I am so pleased with how it all worked out. I can’t wait to try again next year!

Your Buche de Noel bakin’ friend,

C

 

PS – I used the Buche de Noel recipe from Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers by Nick Malgieri.