Apple Molasses Spice Cake

Apple Spice Cake

I’d make an appalling bed mate.  In addition to my  ridiculous fondness for ambient bedroom temperatures in the 50’s – and my certainty that both sides of the bed are “my” side,  I have this awful habit of changing positions as if performing a sleeping triple Salchow, leaving pillows and covers strewn about the bedroom floor.   I’ve been sleeping as a singlet for too long.

Perhaps my bed mate will overlook my sleeping habits if distracted by a sweet or two…


Apple Molasses Spice Cake

Slightly adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2″ pieces

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil a 9″ round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment, oil again and dust with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, spices, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, sugar, egg, oil, ginger and water. Add molasses mixture to flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in apples.
  3. Pour batter into pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan 30 minutes, turn out onto rack to cool completely. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with lightly whipped cream, if desired.

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Fall Pumpkin Cookies

“Impossible relationships. My special gift is impossible relationships.”   Edward Lewis, Pretty Woman

Word!

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cold
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Beat butter and sugars in a stand mixer until smooth, but not pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until just combined.
  6. Spoon 32 cookies onto the baking sheets. With a moist finger, slightly smooth the sides and top of each cookie round and flat.
  7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until cookies are set, but not brown. Remove from sheets and cool completely.
  8. While the cookies cool, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until filling is light and fluffy.
  9. Liberally spread the flat side of half of the cooled cookies with the filling. Don’t be shy; you need enough filling for two cookies. Sandwich together with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate or serve within two hours.

Cranberry-Dried Cherry Tart

Cranberry Dried Cherry Tart

If I can’t find a new situation, how do I find contentment in my current state?

I have been begging anyone who will listen to help me escape from my daily slog. So far, my pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Now I’ve begun to wonder, if it’s not time for my situation to change, how do I find contentment with what I have?”   Not, “what can I do/change/buy to find contentment,” but “how can I find contentment where I am right now with what I have?” If I never break free, I don’t want to live this life unhappily.   I can’t look for solutions externally; I can’t change who I am. So, how do I find happiness with what is here, now?

My temporary placation, as I ponder my predicament, comes in the form of a sugar pacifier. Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without cranberry sauce, but my favorite recipe makes 4 ½ cups and I’m always left with a large Tupperware container of the stuff after the main event. This year, I decided to make a tart with the leftovers and, full of chagrin, devoured the whole thing in two days.

Cranberry-Dried Cherry Tart
Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Cranberry Sauce and Amanda Hesser’s Peach Tart
Makes one 9”-10” tart

Cranberry Sauce & Filling
2 ½ c. Cherry cider
1 8 oz. pkg. dried tart cherries
1 c. Sugar
1 12 oz. pkg. cranberries
¼ t. (generous) Ground cloves
Tart Crust and Topping
1 ½ c. plus 2 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
½ plus ¼ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon White sugar
¼ c. Canola oil
¼ c. Mild olive oil
2 Tablespoons Whole or 2% milk
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
½ c. Demerara sugar
2 Tablespoons Cold, unsalted butter

Make the Filling:

  1. Bring cider to simmer in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and add dried cherries. Let stand for 8-10 minutes. Mix in sugar, cranberries and cloves. Cook over medium high heat until cranberries burst, stirring occasionally, about 9-10 minutes. Refrigerated until cold, at least 4 hours. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Make the Tart:

  1. Heat the oven to 425. In a bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently with a fork, just until dampen. Do not overmix.
  2. Transfer the dough to a 9 or 10-inch tart pan and pat out the dough so it evenly covers the bottom and sides of the pan to the rim. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup demerara sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter. Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly like wet sand and small pebbles.
  3. Fill the tart shell with the cranberry mixture (you may have extra). Sprinkle all of the streusel mixture over top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the tart is bubbly and the crust is slightly brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature.

Cranberry & Dried Cherry Tart