Ahh, Vermont Spice Cake…how I love thee! This cake is so reminiscent of Autumn to me- one bite and I get all warm and cozy and immediately, it feels like Fall. I’ve had this recipe forever (well, since getting married) and I remember making it the first month of my marriage- it was pretty much the first ‘real’ dessert I baked for Joel. I was so proud of myself. I had never made a cream cheese frosting from scratch before, and I was hooked right away! There’s just something about the combination of pumpkin, warm Fall spices and thick, maple cream cheese frosting that just sings to me. I absolutely love this dessert. Very simple and quick to make, and always a winner with guests (or husbands!).

This was the cake I served at my dinner party a couple of weeks ago and it was the absolute perfect end to our meal. We each enjoyed a (big) slice with a cup of cinnamon-orange coffee. It was a huge success- not too sweet, the perfect amount of spice, and a touch of luxuriousness from the cream cheese frosting. The ultimate Autumn dessert!

Vermont Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
-from my Nestle Classic Recipes cookbook

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I used a mixture of 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves and 3/4 tsp. nutmeg)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Combine flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat sugar and butter in a large mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment until creamy. Add eggs one at a time; beat for 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin, evaporated milk, water and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
11 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons maple extract
squeeze of lemon juice

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Add in the maple extract and lemon juice. Mix well. Refrigerate until needed.

To assemble:
Cut each layer in half horizontally with a long, serrated knife. Frost between layers and on top of cake, leaving sides unfrosted. Garnish as desired.

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Simple Blueberry Pound Cake…

Anybody who knows me, reads my blog, or has been in a room with me for at least 3 seconds knows that I crave chocolaty, rich, over-sweet desserts (well, that and the fact that I’m a little weird and kind of “all over the place”, but that’s neither here nor there); but lately, I’ve had a taste for something different. I’ve never been a huge fan of those desserts that are only a little sweet (i.e. pound cake), but yesterday, the craving hit and I decided it was imperative that I bake a pound cake. For some reason I was craving that slightly sweet, dense, buttery taste that comes only from a pound cake. And, as luck would have it, I remembered some gorgeous blueberries I had bought and frozen earlier in the summer. Perfect. I chose Paula Deen’s recipe for her mama’s pound cake (if P.D.’s mom made it, it’s probably really good). I was more than pleasantly surprised. I had a piece warm out of the oven with a little (ok, a lot) of butter smeared on it….heavens to Betsy! My craving was satisfied. This was one fantastic pound cake! The blueberries don’t add a lot of extra sweetness- just a fresh, subtle blueberry flavor that goes perfectly with the buttery, tender cake. I’m in love, I tell you!

Blueberry Pound Cake
-adapted from Paula Deen

1 stick butter, plus more for pan
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup fresh blueberries (If you’re using frozen, don’t thaw beforehand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
With a mixer, cream butter and shortening together. Add sugar, a little at a time. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into a greased and floured 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

*Toss the blueberries with a little flour before stirring them into the batter- this keeps them from sinking to the bottom during baking.

I don’t know if you can tell from the picture (that was my hope), but this cake is incredibly moist and has a beautiful, tender crumb! SO good!

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Sorry; once again, it’s been awhile since my last post. This time I was sick for a few days and on top of that, I pretty much just flat ran out of recipes to post. I haven’t cooked anything worth blogging in a few days; but all that’s about to change – with this cake!

I’ve had a hankering to bake a cake lately. Something big and tall and covered with tons of colorful frosting. But it just seems wrong to bake a giant cake for just the two of us- it would most likely be wasted. We really try not to eat too much sweets…………………….

…ok, that’s a lie. What would most likely happen is I would end up sitting on the kitchen floor at midnight shoveling handfuls of cake into my mouth like some kind of crazy primate. That’s why I won’t be making a big giant cake for just the two of us. But I’m not about to suppress my inner baking needs. So I got in the kitchen, cranked up my Dolly Parton Bluegrass and baked up a cake. A much smaller, simpler cake. Perfect for a weekend breakfast or an afternoon snack. Smitten Kitchen’s Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake. This took no time to throw together and only 40 minutes to bake. It’s surprisingly dense and slightly spongy, but really tasty. I love the combination of cinnamon and chocolate.

I was really glad I baked this yesterday – it’s nice to be able to bake a cake when you don’t have anything to celebrate, or need a dessert for an occasion. Just a simple, sweet little cake for the two of us to enjoy. Those are the best kind of desserts.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake
-Smitten Kitchen

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
12 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar, then mix in the egg yolks and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together into a separate bowl. Alternately add sour cream and then dry ingredients into butter mixture. Beat eggs whites until stiff, then fold into batter. Mix last 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon together in a separate, small dish.

In a greased 9″x13″ pan, pour in half of the cake batter. Sprinkle the top with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and half of the chocolate chips. Pour remaining batter on top, sprinkling the top with the remaining cinnamon-sugar and chocolate chips. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
*I halved the recipe and got a nice 9-inch cake; perfect for 2-4.


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A Mardi Gras Feast!

This weekend, in honor of Mardi Gras in New Orleans (laissez les bon temps rouler!), I decided to make a whole Mardi Gras-themed meal to celebrate. We both loooove Cajun food and love the city of New Orleans, so we really enjoyed the whole ordeal! I started off with grilled shrimp Po’ Boys with a spicy remoulade and ended the meal with…wait for it……..a King Cake! Yep, that’s right, I made a King Cake, but more on that later! I found the recipe for the Po’ Boys on Closet Cooking, who found it on Ezra Pound Cake. Now, normally, you’d see a Po’ Boy sandwich with some form of fried seafood, but this recipe looked so good with the grilled shrimp that I had to give it a try. Plus, I’m not big on frying. I can’t tell you how simple and fast this whole process was – it takes mere minutes to grill your shrimp and the remoulade comes together equally as fast. Although I would (naturally) prefer mine with fried oysters, these were SO good – we literally devoured them in no time! Give these a try….you absolutely won’t be sorry!

Grilled Shrimp Po’ Boys
Makes 2

1 pound shrimp, shelled and deviened (I only used a 1/2 pound and it was perfect)
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon creole seasoning (see below)
1 baguette
1 cup lettuce, shredded
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup remoulade sauce (see below)

Toss the shrimp in the oil and creole seasoning to coat.
Grill the shrimp until cooked, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Assemble sandwich.

Remoulade Sauce
makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon creole mustard
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon capers
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
hot sauce to taste

Blend everything in a food processor until smooth.

Creole Spice Blend (I actually didn’t use this- I just used my Tony Chachere’s Cajun Spice)
makes 4 tablespoons

2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme

And now…on to the King Cake!! Ok, for those of you who don’t know what a King Cake is, HERE is a little history. As far as the actual taste – the dough is almost identical to cinnamon roll dough – very light and chewy (yum). There is a layer of cinnamon and brown sugar in the center and it’s topped with a lemony glaze and colored sugars. Perfect for breakfast, really. The dough contains yeast, therefore it’s a total pain in the butt to make, especially for someone who has chronic problems with yeast. You let it rise, then punch it down…then let it sit for 2 hours, then punch it down…then roll out the dough and braid it…then let it rise again….*sigh*. Anyway, it’s completely delicious and worth every bit of the trouble. I mean, just look at it…

Yum. Isn’t that beautiful??  Only thing is….that isn’t mine. This….

….is mine. Yes, it’s in the trash. Yes, it’s completely disgusting-looking. Yes, it was a total and complete DIS-AS-TER. Welcome to my world. A world in which baked goods with yeast just don’t stand a chance. My kitchen is where yeasted treats go to die.

Now, I realize I could’ve just shown you the picture above (the beautiful, pristine store-bought version) and taken 100% of the credit – Lord knows I worked hard enough! – BUT, that’s what having this food blog is all about. My adventures and misadventures. Therefore, I choose to be honest and tell you that although I worked my rear end off on this stupid dough, and followed the instructions to a TEE, it just didn’t turn out (the dough didn’t rise. At all. It came out tasting like a really dense, hard biscuit). That happens. Especially to me. Of course I’ll keep trying, and eventually I’m sure I’ll make a darn beautiful King Cake…just not for a while. For now, that beautiful store-bought version is still in my kitchen, and it’ll do just fine for the time being. *sigh*……… Here is the recipe, for those of you who don’t have my problem.


Lemon-Glazed King Cake

seen on Peanut Butter and Julie

Makes 1 cake
For the dough
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
6 ounces butter, softened
4 large eggs
Zest from one orange
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 whole almond or large dried bean

For the glaze
2 large egg whites
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Green, yellow/gold, and purple decorative sugars

Prepare the dough: In a small saucepan, heat the milk to about 110F degrees.  Pour the milk into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the surface.  Add 1 teaspoon of the sugar and stir to combine.  Set the mixture aside until the yeast is foamy, 10 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the remaining sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Add the yeast mixture and mix for 1 minute.  Add an egg and mix thoroughly; follow with a third of the flour.  Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour.  Add the orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt, and continue to mix on low speed for 7-8 minutes, until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, and it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  If the dough is too soft, add up to 1/2 cup of flour.
Scrape the dough from the bowl and lightly knead to form into a ball.  Butter or oil the inside of a medium size bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning to coat with the butter.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
When the dough has risen, turn it out of the bowl, punch it down, and knead it lightly to form a ball.  Put the dough back in the bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Form the cake:  Flour a clean work surface.  Roll the dough into a 10 by 20-inch rectangle, keeping the thickness consistent throughout.  Cut the dough lengthwise into 3 strips.  Paint each strip of the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border clean along the length of each strip.  Reserve any leftover butter.  Sprinkle the strips with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Fold each strip over lengthwise toward the clean edges to enclose the cinnamon sugar, and pinch the seam to seal the dough closed.  Snugly braid the three pieces together.  Transfer the braid to the baking sheet and form the braid into a wreath, pressing the ends together.  Cover the wreath with a clean towel and set aside to rise for 40 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Brush the cake with the reserved melted butter and bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown.  Cover the cake loosely with foil and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes more, until baked through.  Keep the cake on the baking sheet and allow to cool completely.  After the cake has cooled, carefully tuck the almond into the underside of the cake.
Prepare the glaze:  Place the egg whites and the confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until combined.  Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and lemon juice, and continue to mix until smooth, adding more lemon juice if necessary to achieve your desired glaze consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over the cake, spreading with an offset spatula to coat.  Cover with alternating colored sugars, and allow to set before serving.

Don’t be afraid to try this recipe after what happened to me. Really. I’m sure it will turn out just fine for you. Whatever you’re celebrating this week, be it Mardi Gras, the Olympics, or whatever – enjoy it! :-)

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The BEST Italian Cream Cake…

italiancream1

Do you ever have one of those nights? The kind where absolutely nothing goes right, to the point of just having to laugh it off, lest you get really, really upset? Seems like we have those kind of nights a lot. The kind of nights where an entire tray of boiling hot soup and a HUGE glass of tea is dumped into my lap; my husband choking on the not-so-delicious, romantic Valentine’s Day meal I made for him, thus ruining everybody’s evening (and appetite!); or most recently (like, last night) our dog, Izzy eating the remainder of my beloved Girl Scout Caramel Delite cookies while we were out. My cookies! My precious, delicious only-come-once-a-year Girl Scout cookies!! She’s snickering at me right now from across the room…. *Sigh*

Anyway…that really has nothing whatsoever to do with Italian Cream Cake, but it feels better venting a little bit. Right, so, on with the post…

Months and months ago, my dad made a cake request for his birthday, which is 3 days after Christmas. Italian Cream Cake. That’s one of his favorites, so for the past few months I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe. Finally, I decided on one – Billie’s Italian Cream Cake, found on The Pioneer Woman. The instructions were really easy to follow and the end result was nothing short of amazing. Everyone agreed that it was the best Italian Cream Cake they’d ever tasted – success! The only change I made was adding a little lemon juice to the cream cheese frosting to bring out the tangy-ness in the cream cheese; à la Ms. Dorie Greenspan. I think we’d all agree that the frosting, by far, was the best part.

Billie’s Italian Cream Cake
-found on The Pioneer Woman

For the Cake:
1 stick Butter, at room temperature
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
5 whole Eggs (separated)
3 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Sweetened Coconut
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup Buttermilk

For the Frosting:
2 packages (8 Oz) Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1 stick Butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 package 2 Lb Powdered Sugar
1 cup Chopped Walnuts (I used pecans)
1 cup Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
1 squeeze fresh lemon juice (optional, but highly recommended!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

For the Cake:
In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

Alternate adding buttermilk and dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, then fold in egg whites.

Pour evenly into the three prepared pans, then sprinkle the top of each pan with 1 (at least) tablespoon sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

For the Frosting:
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in chopped nuts and coconut. (Here is where you would add the lemon juice, if using). Spread between layers and serve.
Note: cream cheese frosting will soften at room temperature, so refrigerate if you won’t use it right away.

italiancream2

Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the inside of the cake – I took these before my parents came over; but trust me, it was beautiful! :-) I would highly recommend this cake to anybody; even those who think they don’t like coconut or nuts….I am one of those people, yet I gobbled up every bit of my (giant) slice! Make this cake! Make it TODAY!! I guarantee it’ll be gone before the weekend’s over!

Oh and by the way, Izzy is just fine after eating all those cookies – she was a little hyper last night, but she’s feeling just fine today!

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A Cake For Grown-Ups…

rumcake1

I hope everybody had a happy and safe New Year’s celebration – we certainly did! We aren’t exactly the kind of couple who like to go to the big, fancy New Year’s Eve parties (although, I’m sure they’re oh-so-fun!) – we’re the kind of couple who like to stay in, make dinner, watch the Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi channel (don’t make fun, it’s awesome and you know it! No one can resist watching William Shatner freak out about the scary-fuzzy-monster-monkey-man on the wing of the airplane!), pop open a bottle of champagne and bring the in new year with just the two of us. I can’t say in all honesty that I’m not completely relieved to have 2009 behind me, and hopefully (no, most definitely) 2010 will be much, much better; in fact, it’s already off to a great start. And I can’t think of a better way to bring my blog into 2010 than with this cake. Sure, from the picture above it may look like just an ordinary bundt cake…but trust me, it’s so much more. It’s called Yum-Yum Rum Cake, and it’s absolutely to die for. The recipe has been in our family for years – it came from a dear friend of my great grandmother’s and we all love it. It’s extremely simple – it uses a boxed cake mix and vanilla pudding, but it’s the topping that makes it special. It’s moist, slightly crunchy from the pecans on top and just dripping with  sugary rum syrup (my heavens I’m practically drooling now!).

Yum Yum Rum Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 small package vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup rum (not extract!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bundt pan and sprinkle with pecans; set aside. Mix all ingredients except the eggs in a large bowl on medium speed; then add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Pour batter into the bundt pan. Bake for one hour or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Yum Yum Sauce:
1/4 cup rum (again, NOT extract!)
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup water

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and sugar over medium heat; add the water and stir until you have a smooth liquid. Remove from heat and add the rum. Spoon over cake while still hot in the pan.
*I like to take a toothpick and poke holes all over the top of the cake, that way the glaze soaks in better.
Invert the cake onto a serving platter, cover with plastic wrap and store at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

rumcake2

You’re absolutely going to love this cake. In fact, I’m sitting here craving a piece right now…I wonder if I could just have rum cake for dinner?…mmm…

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Our Favorite Coffee Cake…

I hope everyone had a wonderful, happy Christmas! We certainly did – we witnessed our very first White Christmas (in Texas!)!! It was totally wonderful (except the part where we had to drive home on frozen highways…not so much fun…). The weather lately has been totally unbelievable and completely wonderful – I’m sitting here typing this post watching the snow fall outside again! It’s SO cool! And this time I’m very thankful to be watching it snow from the comfort of my home, instead of driving in it.

Anyway, this post is all about a wonderful tradition. Coffee cake. The coffee cake my family has eaten for breakfast every Christmas morning since the 80′s (at least!).  It absolutely wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Yuuuuummmm.  And yes, I realize Christmas is over, but I wanted to share the recipe because really, there’s nothing “Christmasy” about this cake. It’s just a simple, normal coffee cake that can be enjoyed any day of the year – we just choose to eat it on Christmas. But that doesn’t mean you have to!

coffeecake1

(If you’re wondering why only half of it has pecans, hubby hates nuts, so I made it half and half….silly boy!)

This couldn’t be easier to make – 5 ingredients total. Just assemble the night before, let it sit out overnight and bake it the next morning, and you’ve got delicious, gooey, coffee cake! Too easy! You’ve got to try this one!

Overnight Coffee Cake

1 package frozen white dinner rolls (I use Rhodes brand)
1 package butterscotch pudding (not instant!)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar

Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and sprinkle chopped pecans over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the frozen rolls in the pan and sprinkle with the butterscotch pudding mix. Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together in a small bowl and pour over the frozen rolls. Grease a piece of foil and cover the pan; let sit out overnight (do not refrigerate).

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the coffee cake for 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil. Let sit out for 10 minutes before inverting on to a platter and serving.

coffeecake2

I really don’t recommend omitting the nuts – it just doesn’t turn out the same (as you can see on the left side of the cake…) – they’re really necessary, in my opinion. This is a wonderfully delicious breakfast treat – give it a try this weekend! It would make a great New Year’s Day breakfast!

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holidaybundt1

This is such a great cake – there’s pumpkin, pecans, fresh cranberries, and lots of spice. SO full of yummy holiday flavors! Dorie’s All In One Holiday Bundt Cake was chosen by Britin of The Nitty Britty. I absolutely loved it – this reminds me a lot of the Cranberry Orange Bread I make every year at Thanksgiving…in fact, now that I think of it, this cake would be delicious with a bit of orange zest/juice! Next time, definitely!

holidaybundt2

The texture is nice and chunky, and the cranberries give so much extra flavor. I left out the apples because I just didn’t feel like apples in my cake that day. I will most definitely be making this cake again and again. It really is perfect for the holidays! Thanks, Britin, for a great pick!

All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake
-Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 cup cranberries, halved or coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and ginger, set aside.

Beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add pumpkin and chopped apple, don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. With rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries and pecans. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, then cool to room temperature. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

holidaybundt3

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Change of Pace…

coladacake

This time of year I find myself making nothing but “holiday-type” treats; which is by no means a bad thing, I just think it’s good to sort of mix things up a bit every now and then. There are a lot of “summery” flavors in this dessert, like coconut and pineapple. We were having some friends over last night for Mexican food and I thought this cake would be great for dessert. Not only is it super quick and easy (almost embarrassingly easy!), it’s always so delicious – you can’t possibly mess it up! Everybody really enjoyed it! I’ll most likely go back to my pumpkin-y, spice-y, holiday-type desserts now, but it was a nice change of pace to have a cool, tropical-tasting dessert for a night!

Pina Colada Cake

1 boxed yellow cake mix
1 can Coco Lopez Cream Coconut
1 regular sized tub Cool-Whip
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (make sure to get out as much liquid as possible)

Make the cake as directed on the box, baking it in a 9×13 pan. While the cake is still warm, using the back of a spoon or wooden skewer, poke holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the Coco Lopez over the cake, spreading as you go along, so it will soak into the cake evenly. Let the cake cool completely. Meanwhile, stir the pineapple into the Cool-Whip. Spread over the cooled cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

coladacake1

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Happy November!

pumpkinbundt1

Well, today is the first day of November, and I’m super excited! November holds lots of happy, joyous occasions for me – I start listening to Christmas music about two weeks in, Thanksgiving, of course, the 5:00 AM Black Friday shopping, and the most joyous of all – our Christmas tree goes up! Wheeeeee!!! The day we put our tree up is by far, the happiest day of the year for me – I absolutely love it! But I need to brace myself…that’s not for another 26 days.

Since today is the first day of a very happy month, I thought I’d post a very yummy, Fall-y cake to start it off right. A delicious Pumpkin and Maple Gingerbread Bundt. I saw this on a blog called Tongue-n-Cheeky and couldn’t wait to try it! I think the flavors of pumpkin, gingerbread, cinnamon and maple go beautifully together; they certainly made a delicious cake. Very simple, not too sweet, and full of flavor – a perfect Fall cake!

pumpkinbundt2

I’m going to post the recipe exactly how she posts it on Tongue-n-Cheeky, since it’s a very simple layout and easy to follow.

Pumpkin and Maple Gingerbread Bundt
-Tongue-n-Cheeky

In One Bowl, Mix:___________________In Another Bowl, Mix:
3 eggs                                                     3 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin                           1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar                                                1/4 c. molasses
1/2 c. oil                                                 1/2 c. oil
1 T. cinnamon                                       1 T. ginger
1/2 tsp. baking powder                       1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. milk                                              1/2 c. milk
2 c. flour                                                 1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt                                            1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla                                          1 tsp. maple extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat all ingredients together. Pour each batter in rotating layers into a well greased & floured bundt pan. Run a knife through the layers to marble the batters together. Bake bundt for 52-55 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.

pumpkinbundt3

Happy November, everybody!

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