Recent baking exploits

So I’ve been very, very bad about updating my blog. I have been baking and crafting, just not with the same frequency as I used to. Recently I got some good baking in and thought I’d share.

I’ve been craving apple fritters for multiple months now, but don’t eat them often since they’re fried. I came across a recipe for baked apple fritters and gave it a shot during the weekend where we stayed indoors due to nonstop rain from Harvey. I followed the recipe exactly and the only note I have was that you don’t have to make so much glaze.

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My second delicious baking adventure was a peach upside down cake using delicious in-season peaches that the grocery store has right now. I have a few changes / notes on this recipe:

  1. Used ginger in place of nutmeg. Ginger and peaches are delicious together!
  2. I made extra caramel topping after reading the comments, but I think the original amount would be better. If I were to make extra of anything in the future, it could have used a bit more cake batter.
  3. I baked it in a springform pan because it’s the only cake pan I have that size. I put foil around the bottom to catch any caramel leaks. It did leak a tiny bit.
  4. I did not serve the cake with creme fraiche since Whole Foods was out of it. It was delicious eaten on its own.
  5. The cake took much longer to bake than the recipe called for, like 45 – 50 min instead of 30 min.

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Very shortly I’ll start posting about biking since this year’s Bike MS is just a month away. So stay tuned!

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Ginger fig cake recipe

I recently made quite the birthday meal for my husband, making two of our favorite recipes, and trying out two new ones. I made Food & Wine’s Roasted beets with pistachios, herbs, and orange, Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss chard and sweet potato gratin and Mushroom Bourguinon and this Ginger fig cake, adapted from Kitchen Konfidence. I made the recipe healthier and also added figs and we loved it, so here it is for others to love!

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Our birthday dessert spread

Birthday desserts, ready to be eaten!

Birthday desserts, ready to be eaten!

A few weeks ago, it was that time again. Time for the husband and I to jointly celebrate our birthdays by inviting people over and providing waaaaaayyyyy more desserts than the group could possibly consume. Last year’s selections were a hit and this year was no exception.

The menu:

We had left overs of everything. Luckily I hid some of the extra banana cream pie that wouldn’t fit in the pie pan, because that pie pan was clean by the end of the night!

 

Blueberry crumble cake (bottom left), banana cream pie (top), chocolate crazy cake (bottom right)

Blueberry crumble cake (bottom left), banana cream pie (top), chocolate crazy cake (bottom right)

Chai cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Chai cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Fat free ginger cookies

Fat free ginger cookies

First time using this nice pie pan. Definitely need to make banana cream pie again.

First time using this nice pie pan. Definitely need to make banana cream pie again.

 

Crumbled graham crackers, sugar and mashed bananas made up the crust.

Crumbled graham crackers, sugar and mashed bananas made up the crust.

Crust ingredients mixed together

Crust ingredients mixed together

Crust pressed into pan and baked. The small white crocks were for the left over crust. The recipe made way too much for my pie pan.

Crust pressed into pan and baked. The small white crocks were for the left over crust. The recipe made way too much for my pie pan.

Cooking the cream filling.

Cooking the cream filling.

First layer of cream filling and first layer of bananas.

First layer of cream filling and first layer of bananas.

Second layer of cream filling and the final layer of banana slices. The pie then just had to set for hours in the fridge, so make this early if you decide to make it!

Second layer of cream filling and the final layer of banana slices. The pie then just had to set for hours in the fridge, so make this early if you decide to make it!

 

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Making fig crumble cake

The end product, amazing fig crumble cake.

The end product, amazing fig crumble cake.

Recently I realized that I had figs from last summer’s huge fig harvest in the freezer. Thank you me, for freezing those figs. I also recently purchased the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and have been enamored with the recipes. A recipe for blueberry cornmeal butter cake caught my eye. I decided to adapt that recipe, using figs and less butter. I really love the simple flavor of the cake, the cornmeal and lemon zest combine with the figs to create pure deliciousness that’s hard to stop eating.

Fig crumble cake, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients – cake:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups thawed, chopped figs (or other fruit)

Ingredients – crumble topping:

  • Reserved liquid from thawed figs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Process:

Butter and flour a cake pan, I used a 9″ round springform. (Edit: I’ve also found that a tube cake pan works well for making sure you get the middle cooked through) Whisk together the dry cake ingredients. Beat together the butter, sugar and applesauce until fluffy, which should take a few minutes. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest until thoroughly combined. Add a third of the flour mixture and all of the sour cream. Beat until blended. Add another third of the flour and beat until blended. Mix the remaining flour with the figs (or other fruit) and fold by hand into the batter until the flour mixture is combined into the batter.

Add the batter to the cake pan. Combine the crumble toppings and spread over the batter. Bake at 350 degrees until the top is brown and a toothpick comes out clean. The original recipe calls for 35 minutes, but for me it was more like 45 minutes.

Combining the applesauce, butter and sugar.

Combining the applesauce, butter and sugar.

Adding the eggs.

Adding the eggs.

Adding the dry mixture.

Adding the dry mixture.

Adding the figs.

Adding the figs.

Batter in the pan.

Batter in the pan.

Topped with crumble.

Topped with crumble.

Yum!

Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

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A fig roundup #2: Baked goods

It’s time for another fig roundup! Unfortunately it appears that our trees are done with figs for the season. The fruit flies have thoroughly infested them. Before the flies were everywhere we ate figs in a number of different ways.

One of the first ways we at them was broiled with goat cheese and a variety of different toppings. Crushed pistachios, honey, fig balsamic, prosciutto… it’s all good.  Fresh figs are also tasty added to salad and eaten with a balsamic style dressing.

I also made fig compote, fig balsamic reduction, and fig infused vokda in addition to freezing a batch of figs. I haven’t used the frozen figs yet.

Figs make a great addition to baked goods.

Fig muffins

To make the muffins, I started with a basic breakfast muffin recipe and changed it quite a bit.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups chopped figs

Instructions:

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix in chopped figs. Combine egg, milk, oil, brown sugar and honey and beat well. Add to dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Spoon into greased muffin pan, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Next time I might use more brown sugar or all brown sugar and no honey to make them just a tad bit sweeter. Regardless, the muffins were very good. Because we weren’t able to eat them all right away, I froze a few and have been eating them for breakfast on the weekends.

Dry muffin ingredients

Wet muffin ingredients

Fig chunks mixed with dry ingredients

Batter ready to go

Prior to baking

After baking

Delicious fig chunks on the inside

 

Fig cake

Never content to use a recipe just as it’s called for, I modified this fig cake recipe to my liking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed figs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Additional fig slices for topping

Instructions:

Mix together sugar and wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients, mixing well. Oil and flour a cake pan (I used two 9″ round pans). Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. With about 15 minutes left, remove cakes and add fig slices to top. The cake will be golden brown on the top when finished. Check with toothpicks to see if the center is finished.

Mashed figs

Cake batter

In the pan

Delicious fig cake, after adding the fig slices, before the baking is finished. Somehow didn’t end up with a picture of the finished product.

 

 

 

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It’s my birthday, I’ll make 4 cakes if I want to

Ok, it was my birthday last month. And then 7 days later, it was my husband’s birthday. To celebrate, we threw a party so that I could bake a cake (or four).

My selections for the evening:

Changes to the recipes:

This year I made the chocolate stout cake with a spiced porter instead of stout. It was in the kegerator after all. I always use store bought chocolate frosting on this cake.

Chai spice cupcakes were delicious and well worth the effort. I made a simple powdered sugar / milk glaze and reused the chai tea bags in the milk to give the glaze a bit of flavor.

This time, I made my honey apple oatmeal cake with store bought applesauce. It’s way better when you make your own applesauce. Or maybe I over cooked it. It was just a bit less moist than usual.

When I had the cinnamon coffee cake made by a friend, it was amazing and I couldn’t stop eating it. Got the recipe and of course didn’t get the same results my first try. The instructions talk about using firm butter in the topping, but really I think you are supposed to melt the butter first. I will have to try again.

Cake display

Chocolate spiced porter cake

A chai spice longhorn cupcake

Honey apple oatmeal cake

 

 

Cinnamon coffee cake... the cinnamon topping is supposed to sink into the cake.

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Making stout into cake

Yes, I really did bake two cakes this week. The second one was for my husband’s birthday. This is the second time I’ve made this chocolate stout cake from use real butter.  Yes, the recipe really is in that blog post after you scroll past all of the pictures.

This year, I changed two things from what I did last year. I substituted half of the butter for applesauce to make the cake moister (which worked) and I used a milk chocolate icing that my husband bought rather than the fudge icing I used last year. I recommend the fudge icing. Both years I used Guinness in the cake because we happened to have some and it’s not fancy enough for my local beer snob to drink.

Guinness, butter, and applesauce, oh my!

Heating the stout and butter, and then after the butter melted, adding the applesauce:

Mixing in the cocoa powder:

Mixing eggs and sour cream:

Adding the chocolate mixture:

Ready for the oven!

Out of the oven!

First layer iced:

Done!