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Entries in recipes (564)

Thursday
Dec032009

Instant Pleasure: Pumpkin Cake in a Mug from Coffee Mug Cake Cookbook

Coffee Mug Cake
I know what you're thinking after looking at this picture. "CakeSpy," you're thinking, shaking your head sympathetically, "has been hitting the vanilla extract a bit hard".
Well, maybe sometimes. But not this time--this cake, which might be a little ugly but is actually surprisingly tasty--was baked in the microwave, in a mug.
It was a sample recipe from the self-released book Coffee Mug Cake Cookbook which immediately intrigued me--after all--cake? Baked in the microwave? In a mug? I had to give this a try.
The recipe was very easy to follow; the cake itself came out with an unusual but not unpleasant texture, more like a sort of thick flan or custardy cake. To try and make it ever-so-slightly cuter I topped it with some confectioners' sugar quickly whisked with cream and a mellowcreme pumpkin. I am not going to forsake the oven, but in a pinch, this is definitely a sweet option for a quick sweet fix.

Curious about the book? It can be purchased here. Want to try the recipe? Here it is:

Pumpkin Cake in a Mug

  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of ginger, ground cloves and nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional) - I used walnuts

MixedIn the Microwave
  1. Mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and nutmeg. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Mix well, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the mug. Stir in the pumpkin and pecans.

    Just out of the MicrowaveFlipped

  2. Cook for 3 minutes on high on a microwavable plate, followed by 2 minutes at 50% power. Turn the mug upside down to release the cake onto the plate.

Coffee Mug Cake
Notes: 

1. CAUTION: MUG WILL BE HOT.
2. Make sure to use a microwaveable mug that is at least 15 ounces large (about 4.5 inches in height and 3 inches in
diameter). If you opt for something smaller, be prepared for massive spillage.
3. Coat the inside of the mug with a no-stick spray to ensure easy release.
4. Unless you have a mini whisk, forks work just as effectively.
5. The outside may be a bit “gooey-er” than the inside. The cook times listed are optimal for a 700-watt microwave and are the best for ensuring the cake is not too dry on the inside.

Wednesday
Dec022009

Say Cheesecake: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl and Gingersnap Crust Recipe

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake
Leftover pumpkin pie? Not a chance. But if you stockpiled pumpkin puree like it was going out of style this Thanksgiving season (you're not alone!), then it is time to use some of your stash to make a Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl. CakeSpy buddy Nick recently served Mr. Spy and I this cake and let me say, our socks were knocked not only off but clear out of the park. Adapted from a 1993 Bon Appetit recipe, this cheesecake is like a meeting of Thanksgiving and Christmas flavors, including pumpkin in the filling and spicy gingersnaps in the crust--throw in about two pounds of cream cheese, and nirvana ensues. Nick's summation? "the crust is made of gingersnaps and pecans and butter, the cheesecake is made fairly traditional with about a cup and half of pumpkin bits and I used cinnamon and 'pumpkin pie spice', the frosting top is part of the cheese cake mix in it's early stage when it's just cream cheese and sugar, and to finish it off I used a spiced rum caramel drizzle on top." (Note: the recipe below just includes the regular caramel swirl)
Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl
- 10 servings -

Crust:
1 1/2 cups ground gingersnap cookies
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
9 TBS whipping cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon (about) purchased caramel sauce
1 cup sour cream

  1. For Crust: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Finely grind ground cookies, pecans and sugar in processor. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Press crust mixture on to bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides.
  2. For Filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Transfer 3/4 cup mixture to small bowl; cover tightly and refrigerate to use for topping. Add pumpkin, 4 tablespoons whipping cream, ground cinnamon and ground allspice to mixture in large bowl and beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until combined. 
  3. Pour filling into crust (filling will almost fill pan). Bake until cheesecake puffs, top browns and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 10 minutes. Run small sharp knife around cake pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Bring remaining 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture to room temperature. Add remaining 5 tablespoons whipping cream to cream cheese mixture and stir to combine. Press down firmly on edges of cheesecake to even thickness. Pour cream cheese mixture over cheesecake, spreading evenly. Spoon caramel sauce in lines over cream cheese mixture. Using tip of knife, swirl caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  5. Release pan sides from cheesecake. Spoon sour cream into pastry bag fitted with small star tip (do not stir before using). Pipe decorative border around cheesecake and serve. Nick's Note: I did not do the sour cream border, found it to be excessive and kind of weird to the whole thing.

Tuesday
Nov242009

Roll With It: Pumpkin Roulade Cake Recipe from Cake Gumshoe Julia

Guest Post from Cake Gumshoe Julia - roulade cake with sugar
CakeSpy Note: What the world needs now is love, sweet love--all rolled up in a pumpkin roulade cake. Cake Gumshoe Julia is at it again, and has contributed a totally sweet recipe! You can follow her everyday adventures on her site, Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body.

I have been wanting to make a roll cake for years. But I have been so intimidated by them--they always look so perfect, and I always feared there was no room for error in the texture of the cake or consistency of the frosting. It had to be perfect or else it wouldn't roll correctly. But Saturday morning I was feeling lucky.

I had a pumpkin I had just roasted which I wanted to use for some baked goods. I also realized I hadn't made any pumpkin baked goods yet and Thanksgiving is only 5 days away. So right then I knew I had to make Ina Garten's Pumpkin Roulade. Her recipes have always turned out well for me, which gave me the confidence to move forward. Of course I modified her recipe slightly (I just have a habit of always adding some of my own 'flair' you can call it).

Pumpkin Roulade Cake


For the cake:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting

For the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (I used low fat)
Note: I have been using Philadelphia cream cheese. I used the generic cheap stuff forever, but recently discovered that Philly has such a better consistency.
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • Pinch kosher salt

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine. Place the eggs and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. With the mixer on low, add the pumpkin, then slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.Guest Post from Cake Gumshoe Julia - roulade cake on towel
  3. While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel (I used a cheese cloth) on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar evenly over it. (This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.) As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel. Peel away the parchment paper. With a light touch, roll the warm cake and the towel together (don't press!) starting at the short end of the cake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Note: I just dumped the cake onto the powdered sugar towel, and I watched a huge cloud of powdered sugar spread everywhere. So the term 'with a light tough' is key to making a little less mess.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin, banana, and salt.Guest Post from Cake Gumshoe Julia - roulade cake with frosting
  5. To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath. 
  6. Spread the cake evenly with the filling. 
  7. Reroll the cake in a spiral using the towel as a guide. Remove the towel and trim the ends to make a neat edge. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve sliced.

Guest Post from Cake Gumshoe Julia - roulade cake fork cutting

Monday
Nov162009

Candy Stripes: Candy Cane Cookies Recipe

Candy Cane Cookies
CakeSpy Note: Too early for Christmas cookies? No such thing. And so even though it's before Thanksgiving, Christmas Cookie madness has already begun  here!

As much fun as it is to mess with recipes, sometimes you just can't mess with perfection. Such is the case with the candy cane cookies from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book , a recipe which I've been making for years. Aside from the fact that I take an all-butter rather than part shortening route, not once have I strayed from the original recipe, and not once have I been let down. They're easy to make, unmistakably festive for the holidays, and very delicious.
Candy Cane Cookies


Candy Cane Cookies
-makes about 4 dozen -

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter 
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • red food coloring

Procedure
  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, egg, and flavorings thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting; mix flour and salt; stir into the wet mixture.
  3. Divide dough in half; blend red food coloring into one half.
  4. Roll a 4-inch strip from each color. For smooth, even strips, roll them back and forth on a lightly floured board. Place strips side by side, press lightly together and twist like rope. For best results, complete cookies one at a time--if all the dough of one color is shaped first, strips become too dry to twist. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Curve top down to form the handle of the candy cane. Note: If you want a variation, you can also place strips side by side and roll them into a spiral and affix small triangles of white dough on either end, to have the look of starlight mints like in the picture on the top of this post!
  5. Bake about 9 minutes, until lightly browned. While still warm, remove from baking sheet with spatula; if desired, sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and/or crushed candy canes.

Wednesday
Nov112009

Sugar and Spice: Apple Cranberry Galettes Recipe from Patisserie Natalie


CakeSpy Note: This is another guest post from high school-aged baking phenom Natalie, who has contributed to CakeSpy in the past! You can keep up with her via her website, Pâtisserie Natalie. Here's her latest recipe:

Brrrrr! It has been ridiculously cold in Seattle lately. For anyone who lives here, they know we had the most intense rain storm recently. Personally, I love it! But for the people who are less inclined to run around in the rain, they might enjoy some delicious dessert to eat while reading a book by the fire. I know, it's a cliche, but that's a pretty good one, in my opinion. This is a great dessert because it's super easy to make, but it tastes fancy. I've never actually worked with cranberries before, and they were great (they're really cute, too). I thought that apples and cranberries would be a good combination of fall flavors that are very different from each other. I also made a honey cinnamon ice cream to go with this, but I didn't get the chance to take any pictures because the galettes got eaten. If you want the recipe you can go to my blog and email me for it.

Apple Cranberry Galettes
-makes about 4 8-inch Galettes -

Dough ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter + 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream
  • sanding sugar

Filling Ingredients
  • 4 large granny smith apples
  • 2/3 cup fresh cranberries
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Procedure
  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in food processor.
  2. Add 12 tablespoons of butter; pulse until coarse meal forms. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours.
  3. While you're chilling the dough, you might want to prepare the filling (procedure below).
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out dough on a floured work surface 1/2" thick. Cut into 8" diameter circles and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  5. Place about 1/3 of a cup of the filling in the center of the circle and fold up edges of the dough in one direction. Place a 1/2 tablespoon of butter on the filling.
  6. Beat the egg in a small bowl and add cream. Using a pastry brush, paint the sides of the galette with an eggwash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place on the parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes depending on your oven.

Filling Procedure:
  1. Peel and cut apples into very thin slices, about 1/4" thick, then set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, turn on medium heat and melt butter. While the butter is melting, combine lemon juice, sugar, and spices in a small bowl. Pour into the saucepan.
  3. Cook the cranberries in the pan first, without the apples. Wait until they start to make "popping" sounds, then remove from the pan, leaving the juice in the pan.
  4. Cook apples just until they are easily sliced with a little pressure from a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and toss the cranberries in. Stir the fruits in with the sauce until everything is nice and covered.

Tuesday
Nov102009

Seeing Stars: Cinnamon Star Holiday Cookie Recipe from Bredenbeck's Bakery of Philadelphia

Cinnamon Stars from Bredenbeck's Bakery, Philadelphia
When I used to work at a greeting card company, we had to work on our Christmas designs as early as February or March. Sometimes, to get ourselves in the mood, we'd bring in Christmas cookies--which tasted just as good in the spring as they had just a few months before. And with that in mind, let me say that I definitely don't consider pre-Thanksgiving too early to break out some delicious cookie recipes. So let's bring it on, starting with this spicy, moist and chewy cinnamon cookie--a recipe for the best-selling holiday cookie at Philadelphia's Bredenbeck's Bakery:

Cinnamon Stars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (about 8 oz.) hazelnuts or blanched almonds, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp lemon zest, grated
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • About 1/2 cup additional confectioner’s sugar for rolling

Procedure
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and zest. Beat the egg whites at high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, one to two minutes. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until stiff and glossy, five to eight minutes. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the meringue and fold the nut mixture into the remaining meringue.
  2. Place a large sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface, and cover with additional confectioner’s sugar. Place the nut mixture on the sugar, lightly sprinkle with more confectioner’s sugar, top with a second piece of waxed paper, and roll out one-quarter-inch thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Using a cookie cutter dipped in water, cut into two-inch star shapes, or use a knife to cut into diamonds. Re-roll and cut any scraps. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the reserved meringue over the top of the cookies and bake until the tops are lightly colored, about five minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks. Makes about 36 two-inch cookies.

Care to hear more about the bakery? OK! Here's the 411:  Located in the heart of Chestnut Hill, Bredenbeck’s is famous for its delicious butter cookies, fancy miniatures and gourmet wedding cakes, all baked on premises. The historic shop is located at 8126 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 215-247-7374 or online at bredenbecks.com.

Sunday
Nov082009

Praline Solution: Easy Praline Squares From Amarillo

"Easy Praline Squares"
The bad news: this sweet confection looks like a praline bomb went off on a graham cracker minefield.
The good news: the outcome is extremely delicious.


When Cake Gumshoe Chris recently found a book at a secondhand store full of recipes from food writers from throughout the nation, we knew we had to take some of these recipes for a test spin. This recipe comes c/o Beth Whitley Duke, who was at the time of the book's publication the food editor at the Amarillo Globe-News, who introduced the recipe in this way:
Pralines are a traditional Mexican sweet served to take the fire out of a hot Tex-Mex meal. These easy squares use graham crackers as a base for a praline taste without having to make the actual brown sugar candy.

These sweet little squares truly are, as the recipe indicates, easy as can be--with a wonderful return. During the baking, the brown sugar/butter mixture seeps into the cracker, rendering it crunchy on the edges but slightly chewier inside, and the candy-coating gives the walnuts a completely addictive rich, savory-meets-sweet flavor. Adding milk chocolate, like we did, wasn't necessary, but it sure was good.

Oh, and as a note, if you're curious about the addition of cream of tartar (we were!), I looked it up: according to this site,
while it is best known in our kitchens for giving more volume to beaten egg whites...it is also used to produce a creamier texture in sugary desserts such as candy and frosting, because it inhibits the formation of crystals.
So there you go! But on to the goods. Here's the recipe:
Making the toffee coating
Easy Praline Squares
-Makes about 2 dozen cookies -

  • Graham crackers
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup walnuts (original recipe called for finely chopped pecans, but the walnuts were heavenly)
  • 1 large bar milk chocolate, such as Lindt, coarsely chopped (optional)
Procedure
  1. Break enough graham crackers into individual rectangles to cover the bottom of a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan.
  2. In a saucepan, bring brown sugar and butter to a boil.
  3. Add cream of tartar and walnuts (or pecans) to the boiling mixture. Pour over graham crackers and spread as evenly as you can (it's a pretty thick mixture so it's best if you only spread one way rather than going back and forth). Scatter the chocolate on top, if you've chosen to add it.
  4. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the chocolate has gotten melty and the sugar mixture is lightly bubbling. Remove from the pan while still warm.
Graham cracker pralines

Thursday
Nov052009

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Bakery Cupcake Recipe Links!

Cuppies waiting in line at the Magnolia Bakery
Want to bake like a pro? Here is a sweet collection of recipes from some of the nation's best cupcake bakeries!

Buttercup Bake Shop in NYC: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Magnolia Bakery in NYC: Their classic vanilla cupcakes!

Sprinkles Cupcakes in LA (and others): Strawberry cupcakes to dream about.

Sweet Revenge in NYC: The "Pure" Cupcake pairs perfectly with Pinot Noir (via Behind the Burner)

Trophy Cupcakes in Seattle: their legendary Chocolate Graham Cracker cupcakes, as featured on Martha Stewart!

Back in the Day Bakery: this old-fashioned cupcake recipe is super-easy, and was featured on Paula Deen.

Billy's Bakery in NYC: their celebrated chocolate cupcake recipe.

Cupcake Cafe in NYC: these buttery and not-too-sweet cupcakes are an aquired taste...but I've sure acquired the taste.

Auntie Em's in LA: What throwdown? These coconut cupcakes are a keeper.

How Sweet It Is in NYC: Mexican Chocolate-Pudding Filled Cupcakes! Sounds like a fiesta!

Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica, CA: Meyer lemon raspberry cupcakes. Yes!

Wednesday
Nov042009

Decadent Sweets Inspired by Dana Treat: Caramel Apple Pie Bar Recipe

Piggie loves Apple Pie Bars
It's not that I don't like apple pie. It's just that the parts I do like happen to be the ones that don't really involve apples: the buttery, rich crust, and the equally buttery, rich topping--which, if I have my say, is always some sort of brown sugar crumbled goodness. So when I saw a recipe for Apple Pie Bars on the Dana Treat website, I knew I had found the apple pie that my soul had always been searching for: i.e., mostly crust and topping, with a little filling sandwiched in between. I had to make these bars. I did make these bars, the very same day I found them--adding in a layer of caramel too for good measure. With a bar this rich, was that necessary? No. But it sure was good. In fact, the only mistake I made with these bars is that I halved the original recipe, which was a mistake because we ran out all too soon.

Apple Pie Bars
Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Adapted from Dana Treat
- Makes about 24 bars -

Notes: I made some changes to Dana's recipe. First, I halved her original recipe, instead making my batch in an 8x8-inch pan. This was probably a mistake as we definitely could have eaten more. I also added aforementioned caramel layer. Good decision.

For the crust
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling
(optional) 1/2 cup caramel sauce, such as Fran's Dessert Sauces (or if you're feeling saucy, you could make your own; or, you could just use a dozen or so caramel candies--choose your own adventure!)


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 large Granny Smith apples, cut into thin slices (I didn't peel mine, and nobody judged me)
1 tablespoon cinnamon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the topping
1/2 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks salted butter (the original recipe calls for unsalted, but I like a really salty crumb, so I used salted), cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

Procedure
  1. Make the crust. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8x8-inch pan thoroughly. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan, leaving the edges slightly higher (but still even all around). Bake in the center of the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
  2. While this is cooling, make the filling. In a large skillet, the butter and brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir the cinnamon and nutmeg into the skillet, making sure it has evenly coated the apples. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet, and if necessary add a small amount of water to the pan to prevent scorching (I didn't have to).
  3. Make the topping. Lightly toast the walnuts in the oven for about eight minutes; let cool, then coarsely chop them. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or two knives (or your very clean hands!) cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnuts and press the mixture into clumps.
  4. Assemble and bake. Spread the 1/2 cup caramel sauce (or caramel candies) over the bottom layer, ensuring even coverage. Spread the apple filling directly on top of the caramel. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into bars.
Note: Dana says that these bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for a month, but I can't be sure as ours didn't last that long.

For more of Dana's sweet recipes, check out danatreat.com. You won't regret it.

Wednesday
Nov042009

Gingerbread, Man: A Sweet Recipe from Cake Gumshoe Julia

Gingerbread cake, c/o Cake Gumshoe Julia
CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post and recipe from Cake Gumshoe Julia, a 26 old wife, exercise fiend, and baking enthusiast. She is always looking for ways to make recipes healthier and to enhance the fresh flavor (without losing deliciousness!). It can't always be done, but if it can be, then she will do it!  Her writing can be find at her site, Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body.

Ever since I made the Ultimate Ginger Cookies a few days ago I have been craving gingerbread. I can't get it off my mind. What the heck, I figured--I should probably just make some. So when 5:15 am came Saturday morning I decided that was the perfect time to start my baking.

Things started out with a measure of uncertainty: the batter seemed a little too sweet and runny; I didn't know how the baked product would turn out. It was my first time in years to make gingerbread; I have been so focused on pumpkin and mint the past few fall seasons that I nearly forgot about gingerbread. But not this year, my friends. Gingerbread is reining supreme so far in Autumn 2009. And since this bread uses no oil or butter and even has some whole wheat flour, it's practically health food.

When the bread puffed up perfectly, I was so happy. And then when I tasted it, oh my word, success! The lemon is sort of an odd component to add to the cake, but it gives it an extra freshness. You could use orange as well and that would be wonderful. But don't omit the lemon!
Gingerbread cake, c/o Cake Gumshoe Julia
Gingerbread Cake

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 cup 1% milk (you can use non-fat or whole also)

Procedure
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Grease your pan of choice with non stick spray. Note: You have a variety of pan options: 24 Cupcake Pan (bake for only about 20 minutes) - 9 inch loaf pan - 9 inch round cake pan (bake for about 30-35 minutes). Set aside.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl of your electric mixer, beat the applesauce and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and molasses and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and milk, alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Let cool completely and then frost (I just used chocolate frosting from a can for the little cake. Remember, it was 5:15 Saturday morning. Making gingerbread was enough of an accomplishment that early).

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