Cake 20: Apple Cinnamon Cake

It’s icy outside. I don’t want to drive. I’m using whatever I have in my house. My mom gave me a handful of apples when I was there last weekend. That’ll work! This simple little cake recipe centers around these three big apples. I present to you, apple cinnamon cake. This apple cinnamon cake is incredibly easy to make and the batter is so delicious it might not make it to the oven.

(I apologize for the poor quality and quantity of photos – I left my camera in Kansas City and am forced to use my cell phone. Next time I bake it I’ll take better pics and fix it.)

Apple Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 apples, cored, sliced – about 3 cups
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a round bundt pan. (Though I used a 9″ round cake pan and a jar which I’ll explain below.) Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In a mixer – I used my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment – beat together the vegetable oil, sugar and eggs on high until it’s well-blended. Turn your mixer down to medium and mix in the dry ingredients just until blended. Mix in the sliced apples and vanilla. Pour the batter into your pan, bake for an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half. (75 to 90 minutes or so), or until your cake tester comes out clean and dry when you insert it in the middle. Cool it slightly while in the pan on the rack, then after 15 minutes or so, turn it out of the pan to cool the rest of the way.

Side Note: Normally I’d use a round bundt pan but this time I poured a large mason jar about 1/2 full of batter and the rest of the batter in a 9″ round cake pan, and baked them at the same time so I can send a jar cake to my husband in Afghanistan. Here is a tutorial on how to bake jar cakes to send to soldiers overseas.

Cake 12: Blueberry Scone Bundt Cake, White Chocolate Frosting

Back to simplicity this week. I need a breather from all the complicated cake recipes that are difficult to decorate. I just can’t handle the pressure this week! Flavor is my focus this week for sure. This was a light, crumbly blueberry scone bundt cake. (Thanks for naming it, Chris!)

 

Pound Cake with Blueberry Craisins Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 0.5 cup sour cream
  • 1.5 cups blueberry juice infused Craisins® Dried Cranberries
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking powder

 

White Chocolate Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 6 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
  • 0.25 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

 

Pound Cake with Blueberry Craisins Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your round bundt pan well. In your mixer (as always, my beloved KitchenAid) or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until they are light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla and sour cream, mixing thoroughly. Stir in the blueberry-infused dried cranberries. Combine the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then gradually add them to the gooey mixture, mixing it completely in. Pour the batter into your greased bundt pan, and bake for 60 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you pull it out of the oven, cool it for 10 to 15 minutes, then invert the pan carefully so the cake can slide right out. Cool completely on your wire rack before icing.

 

White Chocolate Frosting Recipe Directions

Stir white chocolate and heavy whipping cream in a double boiler, or a pan over hot water, until melted and smooth. Stir constantly so it doesn’t stick or burn or scald. Cool at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add butter and sugar, then beat at a high speed until the frosting light and fluffy.

If I had any on hand, I would have sprinkled just a handful of chopped pecans on the top of the cake after frosting (Susie’s suggestion!).

Cake 11: Chocolate Cake, Peanut Butter Frosting, Caramelized Bananas

If it sounds decadent to you, well, it is. The secret ingredient for this week’s cake was “banana.” I make caramelized banana French toast that my husband loves, so that was my inspiration for this one. Rich chocolate cake with whipped peanut butter frosting and caramelized bananas. Once again, I just can’t seem to get the hang of the beautification of the cakes just yet. But it tastes incredible, I think. I really need to take a cake decorating class and learn what the hell I’m doing once these things come out of the oven.

 

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2.25 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

Chocolate Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In two 9-inch round cake pans, spray vegetable cooking spray and line the bottom with cut-out parchment paper. In one bowl, add the chopped baking chocolate and cocoa powder, pour the boiling water over it and stir until smooth. In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the mixer (I used my wonderful, amazing, incredible KitchenAid from my hubby) cream the room temperature butter. Add the sugar slowly and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in completely. Add the vanilla extract and the chocolate mixture and mix in completely. Add half the flour mixture, beat completely, the milk, beat completely, and the last half of the flour mixture, then beat just until everything is combined. Divide the chocolate cake batter between the two 9-inch round baking pans and smooth the top of the batter. Bake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Cool completely on the wire rack, and refrigerate until ready to frost.

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients

  • 0.5 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 (or more) buttermilk
  • 4 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar

Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe Directions

Beat the peanut butter and butter together and gradually mix in the powdered sugar. Mix in the cream a little bit at a time until the frosting is creamy, thick and easily spreadable on your cake layers. Beat it for several minutes to get the peanut butter frosting fluffy. Add more cream or milk as you see fit if you want a more spreadable consistency. Spread onto each 9″ round cake layer and stack the two on top of one another. What I learned in this step: yes, you can add more buttermilk, but don’t go overboard like I did. I went all the way up to a cup because I thought I needed lots of frosting. I ended up with way too much and it was way too runny.

Caramelized Bananas Ingredients

  • 4 firm peeled bananas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 0.5 cup orange juice
  • 0.25 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Caramelized Banana Recipe Directions

I had to make my bananas in two batches so as not to crowd them in the skillet. Cut the bananas in half, and then lengthwise (each banana yields four parts). Melt the butter in your skillet, add brown sugar, and then lay the banana slices cut-side up and cook for about 25 seconds. Add the orange juice and cinnamon and cook for 15 more seconds. Carefully turn the banana slices over to be cut-side down, and cook for another 60  seconds. Put some of that sauce from the pan on it. Repeat for the second batch. Lay on top of your two-layer cake and voila!

Cake 10: “Cake Wrecks” Gingerbread Cake

Three points I want to address:

  1. The 52 Cakes Project. I can’t believe it’s the tenth week of this project. That’s kind of a milestone, right? Ten straight weeks and I haven’t missed one. I am almost at 20% completion of this goal. There has been lots of offline discussion as to what to do with the Fifty-Two Cakes website after the year is up.Some have suggested 52 cookies, 52 cupcakes, 52 other desserts. You tell me! What would you like to see?
  2. Cake Wrecks. Are you familiar with the blog CakeWrecks, a website dedicated to horrendous and hilarious cake fails? Well the challenge I drew out of the hat this week was to create a CakeWrecks cake. Meaning I have to purposely make this thing either hideous, botched or politically incorrect. Tougher than it sounds. After brainstorming with my hubby, I opted for the not quite politically correct option but it had to be clean enough for the office, which brings us to the Drunken Gingerbread Man.
  3. Gingerbread. The challenge had nothing to do with flavor this week – it had everything to do with design, so I got to choose the flavor. Mom-in-law suggested gingerbread for the flavor. I like gingerbread, and it reminds me of fall, which I love. And we all know from last week’s post just how much I love fall!

All right, on to the cake:

Gingerbread Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
  • 2 large room temperature beaten eggs
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 0.25 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • Softened butter for greasing the pan
  • White frosting with narrow straight-line tip applicator

Gingerbread Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9″x13″ rectangular baking pan and put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom. In one bowl, mix the vegetable oil, sugar, molasses and crystallized ginger. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk together until the mixture is completely smooth. In a second bowl, mix the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and ground cloves. Mix the two together until it is a well-blended batter. In a saucepan, bring the cup of water to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in your baking soda. Pour into the batter and mix together until they are blended, but do not overmix. Pour into your baking pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until your toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 15 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack, then turn out onto your decorating or serving tray to cool completely. I refrigerated mine overnight.

Drunk Gingerbread Man Decoration Instructions

First, I had to cut out a gingerbread man shape. Much like the monster chocolate cake with coconut cream frosting in week 1, I drew out the gingerbread man shape on waxed paper, then cut it out to create a stencil of sorts. Using a sharp knife I cut slowly around the stencil to get the gingerbread man shape, and cleaned the knife often to keep the cut as clean as possible. Yeah, but guess what, I’m terrible with a knife and there’s no such thing as a clean cut into gingerbread. I wish that I had a gingerbread man cake pan, but I really can’t justify that expense. I squished the outside edges down a little bit to keep it cohesive. I used the cut-out bits to make the alcohol bottles around him. I took a tube of white icing with a narrow tip to create the “X” eyes, his drunk mouth, the traditional gingerbread man buttons and sleeves, his loosened necktie, and of course the empty alcohol bottles. There was lots of debate in the office as to whether the one on the left was a wine bottle, a dreidel or a middle finger. True to CakeWrecks form!

Cake 9: Red Velvet Cheesecake

The red velvet cheesecake was my most ambitious cake adventure yet. The baking itself was not intimidating, as I have made both cheesecakes and red velvet desserts before. The part that was most challenging for me was the assembly of the red velvet cheesecake as it requires cutting into layers and multiple days of baking and chilling and some decoration and so on. I got a few new baking arsenal supplies this week from Wilton – cooling racks, a frosting spatula, frosting decorating kit and parchment paper. This is the perfect opportunity to put all of them to good use. (“What is red velvet cake?” you ask? It’s just red cake. Seriously.)

New York Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 0.25 cups cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 0.5 cup heavy cream

New York Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place another cake pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven. Wrap the bottom of two 9-inch round springform pans with aluminum foil, and fold the excess up over the edges to keep excess cake batter from spilling into your nice, clean oven. (I only have one springform pan, so I mixed and baked one half of the cheesecake per night.) Spray the bottom and sides. In a large bowl, mix room temperature cream cheese for a few minutes until it is smooth. Add the sugar and cornstarch and beat again until smooth. Add the vanilla, eggs and egg whites (two at a time) and beat the mixture until it is creamy. Slowly add the heavy cream and beat just until the lumps are gone and the filling is light and fluffy. Pour the batter split evenly into the two pans and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes Do not open and close the pan, as that could cause cracks. Just eyeball it through the oven door to see if it’s done – it should be puffy around the edges and the center should be a little gelatinous. Cool on a wire rack at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Run a knife around the edges, then refrigerate the cheesecake overnight – at least eight hours. Before releasing the springform pan sides, run a knife around it again. Peel the foil away from the cheesecake layers and prepare to layer with your red velvet cake!

Red Velvet Cake Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.75 cup buttermilk
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 0.75 teaspoon baking soda
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 0.75 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring

Red Velvet Cake Recipe Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk together your buttermilk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, blend flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In another bowl (or I used my handy KitchenAid wedding present from the best husband ever) cream the sugar and oil together. Add each egg, one at a time and whisk it in completely. Add the vinegar and food coloring. Mix in half the dry ingredient combo, then half the liquid ingredient combo. Scrape the bowl, then repeat with the last half of both the dry and liquid ingredient mixtures. Blend until batter is smooth and not lumpy. Pour the red velvet cake batter into your greased round baking pans Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until your toothpick comes out dry when inserted at a center point. Cool the cakes for about 15 minutes, loosen, then remove them from the pans to cool completely. When the cake is completely cooled, use a cake leveler (or unflavored floss, or whatever) to slice the cake as evenly as possible into two layers. Freeze the two cake layers overnight.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 0.5 cup shortening
  • 0.5 cup room temperature butter
  • 2 tablespoons marshmallow fluff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water (or as much as you need to get the right texture)

Buttercream Frosting Recipe Directions

Cream together the shortening, butter and marshmallow fluff, then add the vanilla extract and beat it until it is light and fluffy Add the powdered sugar about a half cup at a time. Add the water just a little bit at a time until the frosting is super-spreadable and smooth, not lumpy.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Assembly & Decoration Instructions

Place one of the red velvet cake layers on your serving dish. Spread a small dab of frosting on the layer. Add one of the cheesecake layers. Spread a small dab of frosting on the layer. Repeat with the next red velvet cake and cheesecake layer. Chill the cake. Take about 1 cup of the buttercream frosting and put it in a decorator’s bag with a decorative tip, and set aside. Using the rest of the frosting, ice the red velvet cheesecake and smooth the top and sides. Go slowly so you don’t tear up your beautiful cake and get red crumbs and whatnot in your beautiful frosting job. Once this is done, use your decorator’s bag to add a border, flowers, whatever you want Make it pretty, because you worked damn hard to get it this far and you want it to be go-o-orgeous and make people say “wow.”

(And they damn well better. This cake is a beast to make!)

Chill till it’s serve time, yo.

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