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Honey Apple Cake with Vanilla Glaze

9 Sep

Shanah Tovah! I guess I’m a little late with my new year’s greetings, but the sentiment still stands.

The BF and I had been planning a trip with friends to Gordonsville, Virginia, for months. One minute I was thinking about the trip, and the next I was baking a cake and wishing the BF a happy new year. He was confused. Maybe you are too. To illuminate, here was my thought process:

  • I should bake a dessert to take with us
  • I have a ton of leftover apples from the Apple Festival
  • Why are there so many Jewish blogs coming up when I search for apple cake recipes?
  • It’s Rosh Hashanah! My friends celebrate Rosh Hashanah!
  • What’s Rosh Hashanah?
  • Google says apples with honey are a traditional Rosh Hashanah food item
  • Apple honey cake!
  • Happy New Year!

I don’t always vocalize all those steps in between the first and last point, so sometimes people are confused what I’m talking about. At any rate, I was excited that so many pieces came together for this dessert to fit perfectly into our weekend trip.

Apple Honey Cake

Even if you or your friends don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah, this cake is amazing. And its delicious spice, honey, and apple flavors are really getting me in the mood for fall. I used the most delicious local wildflower honey for this, and the honey flavor was super intense. Apparently wildflower honey is stronger than clover honey, which is what most honey is in the States.

Shanah Tovah!

A small note on the recipe: the original recipe said to bake it for 75-90 minutes because the batter is so wet. I did not find this to be the case. I baked it for closer to 65-75 minutes, and I thought it turned out a little dry. I imagine it might depend on the quantity/type of apples you use, and maybe even on the type of honey you use, I’m not sure. So my warning to you is to just keep checking your cake with the toothpick test, and don’t freak out if it takes way shorter or way longer than the recipe says.

Honey Apple Cake adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen 

3 eggs
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 Granny Smith apples — peeled, cored, and shredded

Apple Honey BatterPeel, core, and shred your apples. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are frothy. Whisk in the honey, white sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla.

In a separate medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Incorporate the flour mixture into the liquid, and stir to blend. Fold in the shredded apples.

Grease a bundt pan, and pour the batter into the pan. Bake cake in preheated oven for 60-90 minutes. Check repeatedly with the toothpick test — when a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, it’s done.

Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

If you want to get super fancy, here’s how to decorate it: Place foil or pan on the counter, and then place the cake – still on wire rack – overtop the foil. Use a fine-mesh sieve or sifter to sprinkle a few tablespoons of powdered sugar overtop the cake. Fill a plastic baggie with the vanilla glaze and cut a tiny corner of the bag off. Drizzle the glaze in a zig-zag pattern over the top of the cake. Let stand at room temperature until glaze sets, about 15 minutes.

Vanilla Glaze from Bon Appetit

2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons (or more) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk to blend.

Add more milk by 1/4 teaspoons to thicken glaze if necessary.

Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse

15 Jul

Mmm this is so delicious. Maybe not quite as delicious as the Best Chocolate Mousse Ever, but still pretty incredible. I have a friend who is both gluten-free and dairy-free, so coming up with a dessert that fit those parameters was difficult – I mean, I bake, right? But I was so excited for this amazing find. So simple, so quick, and so tasty.

IMG_2002

As long as you remember to refrigerate the coconut milk in advance, this only takes about 5 minutes to put together. Plus, mousse is like grown-up pudding. It’s as delicious and creamy as a Snack Pack, but super classy. To make it even classier, serve it out of something ridiculous like a martini glass or something a little less ridiculous like a stemless wine glass. And then when everyone’s done, bring out the bowl and mixing spoons and let people lick them clean. Classy.

For my mousse, I used a combo of regular Hershey’s cocoa powder and Special Dark Hershey’s cocoa powder. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine spending money on some high-quality cocoa powder would be worth it. There’s not a ton of sugar in this recipe, so unless you like really dark chocolate, be careful using too dark chocolate.

Also, need a good way to use the leftover coconut water? Try using it as the liquid base in smoothies! Super tasty with banana and pineapple.

Okay, go try this! It’s super easy to get a delicious, smooth, creamy, chocolate-y with a slight hint of coconut dessert that’s not too terribly unhealthy for you. I might just leave a can of coconut milk in the back of the fridge for whenever I need a quick chocolate fix.

Mmmousse

Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse from The Urban Poser

1 cup full fat (canned) coconut milk, cream only (takes about 2 cans)
4-5 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons honey or vegan alternative or stevia, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla

Chill your cans of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight.When ready to make the mousse, open up the cans and scoop the thick coconut cream into a large bowl, leaving the liquid behind. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and beat the mixture for 2-5 minutes.Serve. Excellent with strawberries, raspberries, etc.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything and Everything Blog Hop from My Thrifty Chic
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Link Party Wednesday from Lil’ Luna
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Chocolate Lasagna

3 Jun

My coworkers and I had a great conversation about what I should call this amazing dessert. “Chocolate lasagna” was the name of the original recipe I found, which suited me just fine. They thought it sounded gross, since they immediately started thinking of noodles, cheese, chocolate, and tomato sauce, which I admit, sounds pretty disgusting altogether. But really, the ‘lasagna’ part of the name more just refers to the fact that it’s layered in a baking dish.

When I saw the picture with the list of ingredients, I thought it was a perfect dessert to make for my brother’s birthday. Like me, he’s a choc-aholic. Or I guess I’m like him, since he’s older than me. At any rate, neither of us can ever get enough chocolate, especially dark chocolate and mint chocolate.

He and his new wife joined me and my slightly-less-new husband for dinner at a German restaurant in Durham, Bavarian Brathaus, which was quite an experience. The live band consisted of a clarinet and tuba played by two very loud gentlemen who occasionally interrupted their playing to sing/shout quite boisterously. My brother’s favorite foods are chocolate (as noted), German (he lived in Germany while he was in the military), and Italian (isn’t that one of everyone’s favorites?). So following up a trip to a German restaurant with chocolate lasagna seemed appropriate.

Chocolate Lasagna

This recipe is really less about cooking than it is about assembling. I prefer to make dishes that require a little more cooking and far more whole and natural foods, but there is nothing wrong with a little boxed, pre-made sugary goodness every now and then. Plus, after a really long week, it was awesome to zone out, munch on some Double Stuf Oreos, and put this together pretty easily. (And no, I didn’t use the Double Stuf I already had for this recipe. The Double Stuf are for eating, the regular Oreos are for making crusts with. I don’t find it weird at all that I had two entire packages of different types of Oreos in my home, Judgy McJudgerson.)

Do you have any suggestions to name this dish? Since none of my coworkers could come up with a better name, Chocolate Lasagna it is… for now. If you have any brilliant ideas, let me know in the comments.

Someone got a little messy plating this giant serving. Still delicious with all the layers mixed together.

Someone got a little messy plating this giant serving. Still delicious with all the layers mixed together.

Chocolate Lasagna from Center Cut Cook

1 package regular Oreo cookies (not Double Stuf)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 12-oz tub Cool Whip, divided
2 3.9-oz packages instant chocolate pudding
3 1/4 cups cold milk
chocolate chips and Oreo crumbles for topping

Crush the entire package of Oreos into crumbles. Use a food processor, or place in a large sealed plastic bag and wail on ’em with a can of beans or a rolling pin or something. Reserve a handful of crumbs for the topping.

Transfer the rest of the crumbs to a 9×13″ baking dish, and spread evenly. Drizzle the melted butter over the top, and use a fork to incorporate the butter into the cookie crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan to create an even crust layer. Place the pan in the fridge.

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add 2 tablespoons milk and sugar. Mix well. Stir in about 1/3 of the Cool Whip. Spread the mixture evenly over the Oreo crust.

In a large bowl, combine the pudding with 3 1/4 cups cold milk. Whisk for several minutes until the pudding starts to thicken. Spread the mixture evenly over the cream cheese layer. Place in fridge and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes.

Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the pudding layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips and reserved Oreo crumbles evenly over the top. Place in the freezer for 1 hour, or the refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.

Chocolate Lasagna

Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything and Everything Blog Hop from My Thrifty Chic
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

20 May

I was craving dark chocolate yesterday, and I had a few free hours. I love spending my Sunday mornings baking and listening to NPR (how Chapel Hill I’ve become!). I whipped these up pretty quickly — they’re not hard to mix up, and they don’t take long to bake.

Mmm

They turned out kind of… weird. The flavor is AMAZING. Very rich and chocolate-y. But the texture was odd. The cookies held together just fine, but then have a sandy texture when you chew them. But still buttery, so kind of like greasy sand. There’s also hardly any oatmeal.

Chocolate-y

I’ll still definitely eat them, because as I said, the flavor is amazing. And the texture isn’t too weird. But I was kind of surprised they were weird. It seemed like this recipe had been posted by quite a few blogs, and none of them mentioned this issue. Maybe I didn’t follow the recipe somewhere. I dunno. Calling all bakers out there: Can you see anywhere in the recipe that you’d edit? I was surprised there was no egg… maybe it needs one or two? Or something else? What do you think?

Update: My coworker had one and said, “I don’t think it’s weird. It’s like a shortbread, which I guess makes sense if there wasn’t any egg in the recipe.” … So I guess she’s got a point! As I’m not the biggest fan of shortbread cookies, I don’t eat them often, so I didn’t really recognize the similarity until she pointed it out. 

Chip-tastic

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies from Epicurious

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 heaping tablespoons traditional oats
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.

With an electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat until moist clumps form. Mix in oats with spatula until evenly distributed (dough will be very firm). Add chocolate chips and knead gently to blend.

Using moistened palms, shape 1 generous tablespoon dough into ball. Place on prepared sheet; flatten to 2-inch round. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing rounds about 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until center is slightly firm and top is cracked, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheet.

Tied up pretty

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Up from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything and Everything Blog Hop from My Thrifty Chic
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Coconut Cream Cake

13 May

All I have wanted to do lately is just sit and watch TV. I don’t know what has me so low-energy, but dang. So in getting ready for my weekly blog post, I was looking through my pictures, and I realized that I haven’t made anything recently to blog about! I guess you have to do the projects before you can write about said projects. I’ve even had some celebrations to bring desserts to lately, and instead of making desserts, I’ve bought them — gasp!

So today I kept scrolling through my old pictures and found some snapshots of a coconut cake from two summers ago that I forgot to post. The pictures aren’t all that great quality, but it is a delicious cake, so why not? This one is not hard, but is a little time-consuming, as filled layer cakes tend to be. It’s worth it though.

Happy birthday!

I made this one for a friend’s birthday, which we enjoyed at the pool on a beautiful North Carolina June day. Thinking about it while I sit looking at a gorgeous North Carolina May day makes me really want some coconut cake. Maybe this will finally give me some energy to get off the couch. We’ll see.

Mmm... coconut...

Coconut Cream Cake

Cake

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9″ round pans. Separate the eggs, reserving both the yolks and the whites.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups sugar and 3/4 cup butter. Add 3 egg yolks and beat well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut flakes. Stir the dry ingredients alternately with the coconut milk into the sugar mixture. Beat well. Stir in vanilla. Whip egg whites until stiff, and fold in whipped egg whites.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Filling, from Martha Stewart

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, scant
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cups coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into the reserved egg yolks to temper. Slowly pour warm yolks into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook slowly, stirring, over medium-low heat, until mixtures begins to bubble, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla.

Transfer filling to a medium mixing bowl. Lightly butter a piece of plastic wrap, and lay it directly on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Classic Buttercream Frosting from Savory Sweet Life

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but not melted!
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons milk/cream. Beat on medium for 3 minutes.
If you prefer a thicker or more stiff frosting, add sugar until desired consistency. If you desire a thinner frosting, add remaining milk a little at a time until desired consistency.
Assembly
Slice the dome off the top of one of the cake layers to achieve a flat top. Spread with a liberal amount of cream filling. Place the second cake layer on top. Cover the entire cake, top and sides, with frosting. Press coconut flakes into frosted cake.

If desired, you could slice each cake layer in half in order to have 4 layers with filling in between each.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
TGIF Link Party from A Peek Into My Paradise
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Mini Cheesecake Bites

6 May

My big sister made these awesome little cheesecake bites for our brother’s wedding last month. She made three flavors: plain, chocolate chip, and caramel pecan. The funny part was that she didn’t really think about recipe yield when she started off, and just followed the standard recipe… for all three of them. Since she went with mini, she ended up with over 200 cheesecake bites. We had enough for the rehearsal dinner AND for the dessert buffet at the wedding!

Everyone’s favorite was the caramel pecan. What do you think? Which one would be your favorite? Or would you create a new flavor? The cool thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to swap toppings to customize your own. Chips, nuts, candies, jams, syrups… so much could work here.

Caramel Pecan

Chocolate chip was pretty good too, though I would prefer it to be a little more chocolate-y. Maybe Oreos? Or a fudge layer? I might have to think about that and try this recipe again.

Chocolate Chip

Mini Cheesecake Bites adapted from KraftRecipes.com

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Optional toppings: chocolate chips, caramel ice cream topping and pecans, chopped fruit pieces, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix graham crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and butter until well-blended. Press onto bottoms of paper-lined mini muffin tin cups.

Spread desired toppings over crust: (1) For plain, skip this step. (2) For chocolate chip, add chocolate chips. (3) For caramel pecan, add caramel ice cream topping and crushed pecans.

Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla with mixer until thoroughly blended. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed after each one until just blended. Pour over crusts. Sprinkle a few more pieces of selected toppings.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

Enjoy!

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Up from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Blog Link Party from Somewhat Simple
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately

Coconut Macaroon Cookies

15 Apr

These coconut macaroons are so easy! Any time I need a last-minute dessert, I turn to this recipe. (Well, if it’s truly last-minute, then I go to the grocery store, but you know what I mean.)

C is for Cookie

They’re very simple and quick, but so delicious that your fans won’t know that you just threw it all together. These are a great dessert for a picnic or an excellent little addition to a potluck or dessert spread. I love to make them at Christmas time as ‘snowballs,’ but the coconut is so fresh that they’re equally satisfying in the middle of summer. To get even more fancy, dip the bottom half of each cookie in melted chocolate after they are completely cool. Yummm.

My only warning with this recipe? Double or even triple it. This recipe only makes 10 or 12 small cookies.

A whole plateful

Easy Coconut Macaroons  from Food.com

1 1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk dry ingredients together. Stir in egg whites and almond extract, and mix well.

Drop from teaspoon on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove cookies from sheet immediately after baking.

Coconut Macaroons

Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee