Apple “Jack” Donut Cake

IMG_2421

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.

IMG_2338

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.

IMG_2337

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.

IMG_2342

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!

IMG_2341

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

IMG_2343

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.

IMG_2348

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.

IMG_2350

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…

IMG_2353

… 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.

IMG_2357

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!

IMG_2379

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.

IMG_2380

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.

IMG_2387

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!

IMG_2424

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
  • Print

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

Peach/Nectarine and Blueberry Crumble

IMG_0139

My favorite part about summertime is quiet Sunday mornings spent at the small farmer’s market in my town. It’s usually less crowded, a lot less hot, and the produce is much less picked over earlier in the morning. Plus, it gives me time to wander around and decided what I am going to buy (instead of buying everything and anything I lay my eyes on). Just me, the fruits/vegetables, and my thoughts… summertime bliss!

I usually go to the market without a plan and then make meals from whatever looks good that day, but yesterday, I had a specific goal: buying peaches or nectarines to make Peach/Nectarine and Blueberry Crumble.

My social media pages have been EXPLODING with this amazing combination of sweet and slightly tart fruit with a yummy topping – photos of crumbles, pies, cobblers, and slab pies inspiring me to go out and buy all the ingredients to make my own dessert creation!

So I settled with making a crumble that had peaches AND nectarines, perfectly sweet/tart blueberries, a hint of lemon, and a delightful oat topping. Yep, pretty much summertime in a pie dish.

It all starts with a combo of peaches and nectarines that have been washed, halved, and sliced into thin strips.

IMG_0088

You technically can use all nectarines or all peaches, all white-fleshed fruit or all yellow-fleshed fruit, or you can be like me and grab a little bit of everything (white nectarines, yellow nectarines, and white peaches)! I don’t peel my peaches/nectarines because I don’t like peeling peaches/nectarines but also because it adds a bit of fiber to the dessert (which makes it a little more healthy, right?).

Then add in some blueberries!

IMG_0092

I love the color combination between the different fruits.

Then it’s time to add all the things that make the crumble filling become the crumble filling…

IMG_0096

Some flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, lemon zest, and lemon juice are all you need for a perfectly thick filling with flavors that make the fruit taste like the best version of themselves.

IMG_0099

Toss it all around until all the fruit is coated.

IMG_0102

And pour into a greased pie dish (this one is about 9 inches in diameter).

Then all that’s left is to make the crumble portion of this crumble!

IMG_0105

In the bowl of a stand mixer, toss in some flour, some oats, sugar, brown sugar, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Beat with the paddle attachment until combined. Then you add in one stick of cold unsalted butter that has been cut into small cubes and beat the mixture until it forms crumbles of “dough” (hence why I think this is technically called a crumble and not a cobbler).

Sprinkle the crumbles over the fruit.

IMG_0108

And bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes until the top becomes brown and crisp and the fruit is bubbling.

IMG_0117

Yum!

IMG_0149

I served mine at room temperature with some vanilla bean ice cream (but whipped cream or plain is just as amazing!).

Super simple, super yummy, and totally summer (what can be so bad about that?).

 

Happy Monday, kiddos!

Your farmer’s market obsessed friend,

C

Peach/Nectarine and Blueberry Crumble

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the filling:

4 medium-sized peaches and/or nectarines, halved and sliced into thin strips

1 cup blueberries

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon corn starch

⅓ cup granulated sugar – can use up ½ cup if your fruit isn’t very sweet

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice – the juice of half a medium-sized lemon

For the crumble:

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup rolled oats

⅓ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your greased 9-inch pie dish on top of the baking sheet (for easy clean-up in case of spill-over). Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the fruit, flour, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Toss thoroughly to coat the fruit in the flour and spices. Pour the filling into the greased pie plate.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, oats, the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Add in the unsalted butter and continue to mix until soft crumbles form, about 1-2 minutes. Gently spread the crumbles over the fruit until the entire surface is covered.
  4. Bake the crumble for 30-45 minutes until the top becomes golden and crisp and the fruit is bubbling. Serve immediately or at room temperature with whipped cream, ice cream, or just by itself!

Enjoy!

 

Recipe lightly adapted from Ina Garten: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/peach-and-blueberry-crumbles-recipe.html

Nutritional Information (1 serving):

280 calories Ÿ• 42gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 3gm fiber •Ÿ 3gm protein Ÿ• 12gm fat Ÿ• 7gm saturated fat Ÿ• 77mg sodium •Ÿ 30mg cholesterol Ÿ• 1mg iron Ÿ• 23mg calcium

American Flag Cake

IMG_7246

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).

IMG_7222

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!

IMG_7223

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

IMG_7224

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.

IMG_7225

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.

IMG_7226

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.

IMG_7227

Tada!

All that’s left is to frost the cake!

IMG_7231

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.

IMG_7240

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 Ganache Tart with Strawberries

IMG_6708

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend celebrating with your mothers and family!

My weekend was wonderful because E drove home to spend the holiday with us, so the whole family was together… it was a real treat to see her and to actually having a work-free, relaxing weekend as a family.

Having E home was not the only treat we enjoyed this weekend – I (along with my mom) whipped up a dessert that looked impressive but was super easy to make!

This dessert combines three of my favorite things – strawberries, chocolate, and Oreo cookies.

IMG_6639

These three humble ingredients come together to create a Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries.

And it all starts with tossing some Oreo cookies into a food processor.

IMG_6660

And pulsing until they turn into crumbs. Then add some butter and pulse some more.

IMG_6661

Until the mixture looks like black, wet sand.

Pour the cookie crumbs into a 13¾”x4¼”x1” rectangular tart pan.

IMG_6662

And press with your fingers to form an even layer on the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Pop the crust into the freezer to chill while you make the filling.

And the filling is just a simple chocolate ganache.

Heat 7oz of heavy cream (just shy of one cup) on the stove until it becomes hot, but does not simmer or boil.

IMG_6664

Pour the hot cream over a mix of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips and let stand for 1-2 minutes. Stir gently and…

IMG_6665

…tada! You just made chocolate ganache. Perfect to dip strawberries in, top cakes with, or use as a filling for Chocolate Ganache Tart.

Pour into the chilled Oreo crust.

IMG_6666

And place some fresh, ripe strawberries in a zig-zag pattern.

IMG_6667

We used whole, hulled strawberries and they were a little too big – I recommend using smaller hulled strawberries for a better balance of chocolate and fruit. All that’s left is to chill for at least 2-3 hours, but overnight is best – it allows everything to settle and firm up.

To serve, unmold the tart from the pan.

IMG_6693

And cut into wedges. If you want to serve this on a dessert buffet, you can cut it width-wise and have a bunch of small rectangle servings. The options are endless!

E plated the dessert, serving it with a dollop of lightly sweetened cream.

IMG_6708

The perfect complement to a rich dessert. It was a great finish to a beautiful day.

I hope you enjoy, kiddos!

Your chocolate tart obsessed friend,

C

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Strawberries

  • Servings: 8 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

25 Oreo cookies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

7oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form

3oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form

7oz heavy cream

6-7 medium fresh strawberries, hulled

 

Steps:

  1. Place the Oreo cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely crushed. Pour the melted butter into the cookie crumbs and pulse until the mixture becomes evenly moistened.
  2. Pour the cookie crumb mixture into a 13¾”x4¼”x1” rectangular tart pan (with a removable bottom) and press the mixture with your fingers into the bottom and sides of the pan to form an even layer. Pop the crust into the freezer to chill while you make the filling.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat until it becomes hot – be sure not to boil or simmer the cream! In a medium-sized bowl, place the chopped chocolate and pour the hot cream over it. Let the mixture stand for 1-2 minutes, then stir to combine until the chocolate is melted.
  4. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the chocolate filling into the crust. Top with the strawberries in a zigzag pattern.
  5. Pop the whole tart into the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight!
  6. To serve, cut into wedges and add a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.