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

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.

Quarter of A Century

I know that I’ve been a little MIA this past week, but I have a good reason (seriously, I do!)

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This weekend I was a little busy turning a quarter of a century… With spectacular family and friends and an equally spectacular cake!

 

Don’t worry, I’ve returned from birthday land and will have a post later this week about life, food, and the pursuit of RD-ness.

Love,

Your older, wiser, quarter-of-a-century old friend,

C

What’s Been Happening – 8/24

A lot’s been happening these past few weeks.

 

  1. Tomorrow I start my Dietetic Internship.

Whelp.

These past two days have been a flurry of printing, organizing, buying external hard drives, getting directions to where I actually need to be, and confirming start times.

And panicking about what to wear, what tote bag to bring, what to pack for lunch… HELP!

 

  1. It is not only my first day at a new place…

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This kid started a new job a couple of weeks ago (albeit, not dressed as Minnie Mouse).

My sister (E) now lives in another state, in her own apartment, with her own car, health insurance, and new life as an employed citizen of the world. And while I am so, so, so proud of her, I’m slightly sad that I won’t be able to share dinner with her every Sunday.

 

2A. The best redeeming quality of E’s new home is that there is a great donut shop nearby.

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Sunday breakfast of champions!

 

  1. E decided to pop back to the home nest this weekend… the same weekend my mother saw this amazing chocolate-peanut butter cake in a magazine.

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E loves chocolate, peanut butter, and cake. So we made it for her.

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I didn’t have any. *burp*

 

  1. Everyone is moving around – jobs, internships, graduate school – so my friends and I have been meeting up and eating a lot of food, drinking wonderful drinks, and getting in a good last visit before our lives drag us in a million different directions.

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My friend E and I met up at our local Mexican haunt and really couldn’t make up our minds on what to order…

 

  1. But throughout all this craziness – E’s move, saying a “see you later” to my friends, organizing for internship, and making cake – I was still able to carve out some me-time.

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With my three best friends… strawberries, chocolate-hazelnut spread, and a good TV show.

 

How have you all been? Are you dreading the end of summer? Or excited for the weather to cool down? Let me know!

Your friend in the slightly perpetual food coma,

C

It’s My BIRTHDAY!

      **Happy Thanksgiving, kiddos! Hope you guys are enjoying your day – take photos and notes… I want to hear all about it tomorrow!**

Actually, my birthday was a couple weeks ago. But, I didn’t get to write about my adventures because of my recent bout with strep throat. So I shall write about it today!

As much as I say that I feel like I am getting old and that I don’t like celebrating my birthday, I’m lying. I really love celebrating my birthday because I love two things – a good party with family and friends and cake (especially the cake).

And I got a lot of cake this year.

Like these fabulous chocolate hazelnut cupcakes made by my good friend L. We ate them “elementary school” style – AKA we stopped class in the middle to have the sweet treat. It was the perfect break during six-hour class block.

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My friend L should be a baker – look how beautiful this cupcake is with the chopped hazelnuts sprinkled over the chocolate ganache frosting.

Then there was the cake my family gave me for our impromptu Halloween weekend at home.

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Then my sister made me a fabulous birthday cake (double chocolate fudge with rainbow sprinkles) that we, along with my good friends, ate before a night of drinking and dancing.

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It’s beautiful… And I am glad that she didn’t put 25 candles on it – that would have made me feel really old.

But the best thing about my birthday is that I can eat everything that I want with no apologies (not very different from any other day though!). My sister surprised me with a breakfast out to a fabulous hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint that had the cutest sign out front.

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But there was no way for me to finish everything on my plate… and you’ll see why.

When I walked inside, I knew it was a place that served good food and had great atmosphere. The tables were small, it was a little rundown, and the staff hurried around, but the food was amazing (and portions were huge).

We got to sit at the bar overlooking the open kitchen and I took the opportunity to snap some photos. How insane is that griddle!

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The back part was covered in breakfast potatoes and the front was covered in foot-wide pancakes. Yes, foot-wide pancakes.

I wanted it all.

So many fabulous choices and so little stomach space. I decided on a variety of foods to try. I needed to try a huge pancake because E said that they were a specialty here, so I order a chocolate chip pancake. But I also wanted sausage gravy, so I got that too!

Here’s my pancake – it’s fluffy, warm, and studded with chocolate chips and slightly drowned in real maple syrup. It was heavenly.

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But it is also a foot in diameter – here’s my sister’s hand showing how huge this pancake is.

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It was perfection.

I also got sausage gravy. Let me tell you a little about sausage gravy. According to my two food television loves/obessions, Mr. Alton Brown (from Good Eats) and Mrs. Ree Drummond (AKA The Pioneer Woman), there are two schools of sausage gravy-ness. One school states that you fry up sausage and then make the gravy with the sausage drippings. The other school states that you cook crumbled sausage and make the gravy with the sausage still in the pan. The sausage gravy I had for my birthday was from the second school and it is definitely the way to go. The salty sausage cuts through the grease and adds a great texture to the gravy.

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And when it is served over crunchy breakfast potatoes, there is nothing better.

Served with a tall glass of chocolate milk, it was the best birthday breakfast I ever had.

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(Sorry, Mom!)

I had a fabulous birthday, filled with food, fun, and friends and family. I am a very lucky Grad School Foodie.

Love your one year old (and hopefully one year wiser) friend,

C

Happy Halloween!

Hi kiddos, how’s it going? I have some awesome news – I got a new computer!! My new-fangled spaceship-like laptop is super awesome but I’m still getting used to it (and trying to keep it away from all food products – I think scrambled eggs played a part of the demise of the last one). Since I needed a new laptop, E and I went home for the weekend so my dad could come with me. And what a weekend it was! We decided that it was so close to Halloween, we should celebrate. So we did.

We drove down to home Thursday and we celebrated my birthday a little bit early – nothing says welcome home like cake! It was delicious and I appreciated all the birthday love.

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My cat was very enthusiastic to see us again too.

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Right.

 

Friday was full of running errands (like putting the dreaded snow tires on the car), doing a little yard work, and shopping like crazy. It was the perfect low-key day that helped me recharge my batteries and reconnect with the family.

 But Saturday was Halloween Day! Actually it was Laptop Day first. After a teary-eyed morning at the electronic store (my first blog was written on that old laptop!), my father suggested that we should have lunch at a favorite family burger joint.

 And they are known for this.

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Onion rings are my weakness… especially these onion rings. They are crisp and crunchy, while the onion is still sweet and tender in the middle. The French fries aren’t half bad either.

Another reason why I love this burger joint is that they have big bowls of homemade pickles. They are lightly brined and super crunchy, which is a perfect complement to the earthy burger – if a kosher dill pickle and a fresh cucumber had a baby, this would be a result. They are amazing and I probably eat more of them than the onion rings.

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Those are the only ones left on my little plate before I remembered to snap a photo. Then they were gone too!

I had to steal this photo off of my sister’s phone – she has such a way with food photography (and her burger building skills are pretty awesome too).

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After being fortified with burgers, onion rings and French fries, and pickles, we headed off to our family friend’s maze – or shall I say, their “Loops and Traps” maze (I don’t know what that means). They do it every year for Halloween and it is always great fun to try to get through the exceeding difficult maze and then gorge oneself on Halloween candy. It is the highlight of my fall to-do list.

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The thing is that I am a ‘fraidy cat. Horror movies, haunted houses/hayrides, and clowns FREAK me out. I went to a haunted maze as a freshman in college and freaked out two “zombies” conducting crowd control at the entrance by bursting into tears and SITTING DOWN on the ground. Yes, I am an embarrassment to my family and friends (but by now, they should know about my aversion to all things frightening). So I made my sister go first! 

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In all seriousness, the “maze creatures” (high school and college kids hired to wear scary masks and jump out at people in the maze) only are present at night, which means that I am usually okay going through by myself during the day. But it is always good to have some one in front of you. 

Plus E has much better directional sense.

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See, she’s leading us to victory! (I think).

All in all, it took us about 45 minutes to get through the maze once – a very impressive time (it usually takes 1+ hour). We went inside to warm up and chow on some sugar.

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These cute little cupcakes were waiting for us – the perfect end to the perfect day.

 

Sunday was church, packing, and nap time before heading back up to school. It was the perfect weekend to cap of the Halloween season and put me in the Thanksgiving mindset.

 

What are your Halloween plans this year? Lasagna and trick-or-treating or a costume party with fancy finger food? Let me know!

Your ‘fraidy cat, Halloween-candy lovin’ friend,

C