Bavarian Cranberry Apple Torte

Sometimes I get to spoil my friends and make really fun desserts.  Husband and I had a dessert date with another couple, and I wanted to try something different and fun, who knew In Style mag would be the one to deliver the right recipe?

This recipe is from In Style, November 2011.

No substitutions were made.

torte 4

Bavarian Cranberry Apple Torte

Crust:
1 c unsalted butter
2/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Blend in flour to form a ball.
Press dough onto bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch spingform pan.
Spread with a thin latyer of raspberry jam.
Refrigerate crust while preparing filling.

Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
Pour over jam-covered crust.

Topping:
4 c peeled, cored, and sliced apples
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c sliced almonds

Toss apples and cranberries with sugar and cinnamon; spoon over cream cheese later and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake torte at 450 for 10 minutes; with torte still in the oven, lower heat to 400 degrees and bake for 40 additional minutes.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up filling.  Use a thin knife to carefully loosen torte from sides of pan and remove.  Transfer to a serving plat and enjoy!

torte 5

cartoon-strawberry-9I can not wait to make this again.  I’m thinking of changing the apple mixture to fresh berries with pecans.  I didn’t press out the crust enough in the crease, so it was a bit hard to cut through, but, OH THE CRUST!  It’s a giant shortbread cookie.  Then layer on the raspberry jam, the cream cheese filling and the tart apples?  HEAVEN.  Do yourself a favor and make this ASAP.  Maybe even for your sweetie on Valentines!

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Do you guys always have dried cranberries on hand?  I do.  I put them into my chicken salad; toss them in for a little sweetness in a green salad; or sometimes just a sweet afternoon snack.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, November 2008.

No substitutions were made.

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars 1

Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars

Crust:
4.5 oz all-purpose flour (about 1 c)
1 c quick-cooking oats
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tblsp butter, melted
3 tblsp orange juice
cooking spray

Filling:
1 1/3 c dried cranberries (about 6 oz)
3/4 c sour cream
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly).  Reserve 1/2 c oat mixture.  Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11×7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  – I used a 9 inch square baking dish.

To prepare filling, combine ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well.  Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling.  Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until edges are golden.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I’m not a fan of sour cream, so I wasn’t so sure how this one would turn out.  BUT I’m trying to not be prejudiced towards ingredients, so I decided to give it a go.  SO GOOD, and completely unexpected.  We enjoyed these with friends and coffee in front of the fire on a chilly winter night.

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

When the temps get down to single digits and you’re stuck in the house all day, it’s time to bake.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, September 2011.

Substitution made, noted below.

PB cups 1

Peanut Butter Cup Blondies

5.6 oz all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 c)
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c creamy peanut butter
1/4 c butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tblsp 2% milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
4 (.75 oz) peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped – I used 1/3 c mini PB cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk.  Combine peanut butter and next 4 ingredients (through eggs), stirring well.  Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into a 9-inch square metal baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray, and arrange the peanut butter cups over batter.  Bake at 350 for 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.  Cool in pan  on a wire rack.

PB cups 2

cartoon-strawberry-9Chocolate and Peanut Butter, what could be better?  When said chocolate and peanut butter are wrapped in a chewy blondie!  We always have mini PB cups on hand in the freezer, so this was the perfect treat on a very cold evening.

Chocolate and Almond Cake

I love the idea of Julie & Julia.  Learning how to cook by working through all of the recipes and techniques in ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’.  I just can’t handle the idea of an aspic.  Who want’s to eat a savory jello?

This recipe is from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

No substitutions were made.

chocolate almond cake 1

Chocolate and Almond Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

A round cake pan 8 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches deep – I used a square pan
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 tblsp rum or coffee – I used coffee

Butter and flour the cake pan.  Set the chocolate and rum or coffee in a small pan, cover and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe.  Measure out the rest of the ingredients.

3 quart mixing bowl
A wooden spoon or an electric beater
1/4 lb or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 c granulated sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

3 egg yolks

Beat in the egg yolks until well blended

3 egg whites
Pinch of Salt
1 tblsp granulated sugar

Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

A rubber spatula
1/3 c pulverized almonds
1/4 tps almond extract
1/2 c cake flour, turned into a sifter

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract.  Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter.  Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding.  Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula.  Bake in the middle level of a preheated oven for about 25 minutes.  Cake is done with it has puffed and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on a rack.  Allow it cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

Chocolate-Butter Icing

2 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
2 tblsp rum or coffee – I used coffee
a small covered pan
a larger pan of almost simmering water
5 to 6 tlbsp unsalted butter
a wooden spoon
a bowl with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
a small flexible blade metal spatula or a table knife

Place the chocolate and the rum or coffee in the small pan, cover and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water.  Remove the pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth.  Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time.  Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency.  At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife.

cartoon-strawberry-9We had some friends over for dinner and I made this for dessert, which is why there’s only a single picture of the cake.  Also, I moved the cake when it was cooling and a corner broke off completely.  This icing worked as the perfect glue.  If you have the time, make the cake in the morning and the icing in the afternoon, when the cake has had plenty of time to cool.  BTW, this cake is dense and moist; the almond and chocolate balance each other perfectly.

Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie

Making this pie, I felt like a Pintrest meme.  Messy bun, yoga pants and a love of all things pumpkin.  There has to be a white girl joke in there somewhere.

I’m not sure where this recipe came from, looks like it was cut off the back of a box.

No substitutions were made.

pumpkin pie 1

Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie

Pie:
1 refrigerated pie crust
15 oz pumpkin puree
12 oz evaporated milk
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

Streusel:
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
2 tblsp butter
1/2 c chopped pecans

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place crust into a pie plate.  In a large bowl, mix filling ingredients until well blended.  Pour into crust-lined pie plate.

pumpkin pie 2

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix streusel ingredients.

Sprinkle streusel over pumpkin filling.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center come out clean.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.

pumpkin pie 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Thanksgiving isn’t the ONLY time to enjoy pumpkin pie!  And the streusel topping is perfect.  Next time I’ll double the amount of streusel, so it covers the top of the pie completely.  I’d also use sweetened condensed milk instead of the evaporated milk, just to add a little sweetness.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Happy Anniversary!  Last November I stared this little cooking blog focusing on all the recipes I have floating around my kitchen.  I’ve shared some of my favorite recipes, found a few that didn’t really cut the mustard, and have had so much fun sharing wonderful food with you!  To celebrate, let’s have some chocolate cake!

This recipe is from a Penzey’s Catalog.  (Unfortunately, I’m not sure which one..)

No substitutions were made, but I did half the recipe.

choc zuc cake 1

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

1/2 c butter, softened
1 3/4 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tblsp cocoa powder (natural or dutch)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c buttermilk
2 c peeled, shredded zucchini (1 medium)
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

choc zuch cake 2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.  Beat in the oil, eggs and vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Stir in the zucchini.  Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

choc zuch cake 3

.

choc zuch cake 4

cartoon-strawberry-9This is a very light, moist cake, and the zucchini is not noticeable at all.  This cake would be an easy way to sneak some veggies into a child or husband’s diet. 😉

apple-pear galette

The fall season is really the beginning of baking season.  Everyone is craving apples and pumpkin and warm spices like cinnamon and cloves.  This recipe fit the bill for a warm dessert, enjoyed on a cool fall night.

The recipe is from Real Simple, November 2008.

No substitutions were made.

apple pear 1

apple-pear galette

2 tblsp all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
2 9-inch refrigerated piecrusts
1/4 c plus 2 tblsp apricot preserves
3 Empire, Gala or Cortland apples, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 Bartlett pears, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tblsp plus 1 tsp granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, place one piecrust on top of the other and roll the stack into one 16 inch circle.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread 1/4 c of the preserves on the crust, leaving a 2 inch border.

apple pear 2

In a large bowl, toss the apples, pears, flour, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon and 3 tblsp of sugar.  Transfer to the crust, leaving the border clear.  Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit mixture.

Brush the egg on the crust and sprinkle with the remaining tsp of sugar.  Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tblsp of preserves and 1 tblsp of water over medium heat until liquid, 2 to 3 minutes.  Brush on the fruit.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

apple pear 3

cartoon-strawberry-9This thing was ginormous!  We cut it into slices and enjoyed with whipped cream, and ate the leftovers for almost a week.  I wish the taste of the pear was a little stronger, and I was thankful the taste of ginger was slight.  BUT it’s wonderful warm out of the oven with a caramel latte in hand.

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

Fall is finally here!!  Bring on the pumpkin!  Long walks in the falling leaves!  Bring on the sweaters and boots!

This recipe is from Real Simple, November 2010.

Substitutions made, noted below.

pumpkin cake Collage

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp, plus more for the pan
3 c all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pan
– I used Bakers Joy spray on the pan instead of butter and flour
5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (1 1/2 c)
1/2 c whole milk – I used 2%
1/4 c molasses
1 1/4 c confectioners’ sugar
2 tblsp fresh lemon juice – I used milk and a splash of vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

spiced pumpkin cake 1

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on med-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the pumpkin puree, milk and molasses (the mixture may appear curdled).  It totally will.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined (do not overmix).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Drizzle over the cake.  Let set before serving.

spiced pumpkin cake 2

cartoon-strawberry-9Ah Pumpkin.  Fall and pumpkin go hand in hand.  This cake is the perfect taste of fall.

Fresh Peach Cake

We have had many people stay in our guest room over the four short years that we’ve lived here.  Friends, family, students and even a few puppies.  It’s a joy to share our home with all of these wonderful people.  Our last guest gave me a bag of fresh Georgia peaches and told me to make some fun recipes with them.  Here’s round #1.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, June 2011.

No substitutions were made.

peach cake 1

Fresh Peach Cake

1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 c sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peachs, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 c chopped pecans

peach cake 2

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

IN the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on med-high speed, until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and slat.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan.  Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture.  Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

peach cake 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Fresh Peach Cake – Is there anything more need be said?  This is not an overly sweet cake, and pairs wonderfully with a vanilla latte.  (Thank the heavens for my barista husband.)

Happy Birthday!

It’s my birthday!

Here’s a fun Julia remix.

PBS has also done similar remixes for Reading Rainbow, Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers.  So great!

And I made myself a birthday cake.  A two day, three layer, chocolate amaziness overload cake.

choc mouse cake

You can find the recipe and instructions HERE.  Thanks Crunchy Creamy Sweet for the amazing recipe!

Treat yourself to a piece of cake on me!