Applesauce

applesauce

Applesauce-who doesn’t like it.  I use this for my basic recipe, when I’m not going to can it.  With this as the base, I can then add anything to it I want.  Cinnamon, crushed strawberries or raspberry, anything.  The recipe is very easy and quick.  Try it.  You’ll probably never buy another jar from the store again.

3 lbs. Apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 6) – tart apples make better sauce

3 cups water

1 cup sugar (can use white or light brown)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place apples in large saucepan and cover with water.  Simmer over medium low heat until apples are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Mash with potatoes masher or run through food mill.  you can make it smooth or leave small chunks, whichever you want.  Add sugar and lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

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Coca Cola Cake

Coca Cola cake

Happy Mother’s Day.  Woke up today thinking of my own mother and my grandmother, who passed on some years back.  My grandmother was a pretty special woman.  She was a very kind, loving person and I valued every moment that I got to spend with her.  She taught me a lot and I loved when she shared her recipes with me and when we cooked together.  One of the recipes that she shared, one that has been used a lot throughout the years, was her Coca Cola cake recipe.  I have used regular coke, cherry coke and vanilla coke in this recipes and loved each.  Coca Cola cakes have been around forever, and I tried many other recipes, but always go back to this one.  It just is better, not just because my grandmother gave it to me, but because it results in a better cake.

1 cup Coca-Cola

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan.  Combine coke and buttermilk.  Set to one side.  Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda – sift two times.  In a medium mixing bowl beat butter at low speed till creamy.  Gradually add sugar and beat until blended.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat at low speed until blended.  Add cocoa-flour mixture alternately with the cola mixture.  Beat at low speed till blended.  Stir in marshmallows.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Pour Coca cola frosting over the warm cake.  Top with chopped pecans.

Coca Cola Frosting

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup Coca cola

3 tablespoons cocoa

16 oz. powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring butter, coke and cocoa to a boil, stirring until the butter melts.  Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla till smooth.  Pour over warm cake.

Turtle Topped Texas Sheet Cake

Turtle topped Texas Sheet cake

Texas sheet cake is one of my favorites.  I am not always a fan of Turtle topped desserts, but saw a recipe for a Turtle Sheet cake and decided I had to try it.  The first attempt, following the recipe, I was not a big fan of.  The cake was too thick, the recipe directed that the cake be baked in a 9×13 inch cake pan.  The cake was also very dry.  Tommy always teases me about this, but as I do with so many recipes, I had to tweak it.  My Texas sheet cake recipe is an easy recipe that produces a thinner, very moist, very delicious chocolate cake.  I thought if I took my sheet cake recipes and then adjusted the toppings, that might result in a better cake.  I used my Texas Sheet cake recipe and icing recipe, then topped it with the pecans, mini chocolate chips (the original recipe called for regular chocolate chips) and then drizzled caramel sauce over the top.  I took it to work and it was a big hit.  The only tweak I am going to make the next time I make it is to use my thicker caramel sauce recipe and toast the pecans before I sprinkle them on the top. See, I can’t even leave my own recipes alone, I just have to keep playing with them. So here it is, hope you like it.

For the cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 cup butter

1 cup strong black coffee

1/4 cup cocoa powder

For icing

1/2 cup butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

7 tablespoons milk (if icing is too thick, I will add another tablespoon – you want it able to pour)

For Toppings

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10×15 inch sheet pan.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Beat in the sour cream and eggs.  Melt the butter and add the cocoa and the coffee.  Mix together with the rest of the cake ingredients.  Pour batter into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  In a sauce pan, combine the milk, cocoa and the butter.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla, mixing until blended and smooth.  Pour over top of warm sheet cake.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over top of frosting, then sprinkle the chopped pecans.  Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the chocolate chips and pecans.

Eggnog Bundt Cake

Eggnog Bundt cake

Had some eggnog left over from the holidays and didn’t want it to go to waste so played with adding it to my standard bundt cake recipe.  Results were pretty good.  This is a really rich cake, has 6 eggs in it, and so much flavor.  It has a light texture because I decided to use cake flour instead of all purpose.  I thought that might be a better choice since I was using so much rich ingredients with the 6 eggs and the cup of eggnog which has so much cream and eggs in it already.

1 cup butter, softened

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 cups cake flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup eggnog

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tablespoons rum

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. nutmeg

Glaze – 1 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons cream

Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt cake pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter at medium speed for about 2 minutes until creamy.  Gradually add in the sugar, beating till light and fluffy.  Add eggs in, one at a time.  Beat till light yellow.  Shift together all the dry ingredients and then add to butter egg mixture, at low-speed, alternately with eggnog till just mixed. Add in the vanilla and rum.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Cool on wire rack until cool.  Place on plate and mix glaze.  Mix powdered sugar with cream and stir until smooth.  Drizzle over top of cake

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Praline Sauce

pumpkin bread pudding with praline sauce

I was looking for a Thanksgiving themed dessert for our office Thanksgiving lunch.  Every year I make a pumpkin cheesecake which is very time consuming, and this year I was also making the turkey, so I needed something quick, easy and tasty.  I found quite a few Pumpkin bread pudding recipes.  They were all pretty much the same and had the same ingredients, so I picked one of them and followed the recipe with just two tweaks.  I used my favorite bread for bread pudding, brioche, and I added some bourbon to the praline sauce.  When I mixed it together I was already worried about the egg milk mixture to bread ratio, but since all the recipes had the same ratio, I thought it had to be right.  I was disappointed in the final product.  It was way too dry.  I really should have listened to my instincts.  I like my bread pudding to be moist and this was not.  The only thing that saved it was the sauce and I put plenty of that on it.  So I have gone back and tweaked the recipe to increase the egg milk mixture so that it would come out more “pudding” like.  Here is the final recipe.  I think you will like it.

 

1 (1 lb.) loaf of Brioche bread

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup half and half

1 15 ounce can of pumpkin

2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons melted butter

6 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 baking with cooking spray.  Cut bread into cubes and put into the dish.  In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, half and half, pumpkin, sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Slowly pour the egg mixture over the bread pieces in the baking dish.  Make sure that all the bread pieces are covered with the egg mixture, push them down into the egg mixture if needed.  Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, do not let it get too dark.

For the Praline sauce you need:

1 cup butter

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

3/4 cup chopped pecans

In a heavy saucepan over medium low heat , stir together the butter, cream and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and stir in pecans,  Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.  Add bourbon and stir well.  Pour sauce over bread pudding when serving.  Serves about 12-14 people.

 

Light and Airy White Cake

White cake 2

I have several “go to” white cake recipes, but when there is a special occasion,  this is the recipe I pick.  Light and airy, but very flavorful.   You have to watch that you don’t overbake this cake or it gets dry. You have to use cake flour or it turns out heavy and dense.  Eggs should be at room temperature so they beat up light and airy.  This is what makes the cake so light and airy.

6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons extract (your choice of flavor – I usually use almond, but have used orange, raspberry liqueur, any flavor)
3 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 3- 9 inch cake pans.  In a mixing bowl beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form,  do not overbeat the egg whites.  Set aside.  In another bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in extract or liqueur. In a medium nowl sift together flour,  baking powder and salt.  Sift twice.  Gradualky add flour mixture into butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk.  Fold in one fourth of the beaten egg whites,  then fold in rest of egg whites.  Divide among the three pans.  Bake for 20-22 minutes.  Do not over bake. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then invert onto baking racks. Allow to completely cool,  frost with icing of your choice.

Simple White Cake

White cake

I have several white cake recipes that I use but this one is simple and so delicious.  My favorite to pair with my favorite chocolate frosting.

4 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cup milk
9 large egg whites at room temoerature, lightly beaten
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 tsp. Almond extract
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 1/4 cup sugar
2 sticks butter at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Flour 3 9 inch cake pans.   Sift dry ingredients together.  In mixer beat butter with sugar for about 2 minutes.  In a bowl whisk together milk, eggs snd extracts.  With beater going add 1/3 flour mixture then 1/3 milk mixture.   Continue alternating mixtures till all is blended,.  Turn mixture on med high and beat for about 2 minutes. Divide evenly between pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Do not over bake. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then invert onto racks and cool completely.   Frost with your favorite icing.