Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Knew You Were Coming So I Baked A Cake

I really wished you could have stopped by for a bite of this delicious Applesauce Cake that I made last night. It came out so moist and paired well with a cold glass of milk.

Look at the beautiful, fluffy batter dotted with spices...

I didn't have a tube pan like the recipe called for so I baked it in a bundt pan...

Here it is right after coming out of the oven. The aroma was delightful!

The icing looks beautiful dripping down the sides of the cake...

Of course, we had to try it...

Here's the recipe from


3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1. Whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves and soda. Set aside.

2. Cream together 1/2 cup butter and 2 cups brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs. Add flour mixture into creamed mixture alternately with applesauce, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in the raisins, dates, and walnuts. Pour into greased and floured tube pan.

3. Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 1-1/2 hours, or until done. Cool.

4. To make icing, melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stir in 1 cup brown sugar. Boil for 2 minutes. Stir in milk, and continue to stir until the mixture returns to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool for 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and confectioners' sugar. Frost cooled cake.

***My personal opinion...I think the cloves in this recipe can be cut by 1/2 depending on your taste. I used a scant teaspoon this time after reading the reviews for this recipe. I'm going to cut the the cloves to 1/2 teaspoon the next time I make it. My taste buds are still pretty dull due to my cold and I could still taste a strong clove flavor in this cake.
Another thing that I should mention is to cut the icing recipe to 1/4 unless you enjoy a huge amount of icing. This makes way too much icing for my taste and I have a very sweet tooth.
The fruits and nuts were omitted from the cake due to picky family members.
Be sure to test the cake during the last half hour of baking. My cake was ready to come out of the oven 10 minutes earlier than the recipe called for.

***By the way, I haven't had an applesauce cake for over 20 years and I had been thinking about the applesauce cake with raisins that my mom would make when I was a child. I hunted around for quite a while until I found a recipe with pretty good ratings and then took the plunge. Worth every calorie, I tell you. I also wanted to mention that my son says that the spices are just right as it is. I guess this is where personal taste comes in.


My Attempt at Spaghetti alla Carbonara

While we were in Rome this past Fall, we found a fabulous restaurant near our hotel called Ciro & Sons. It was a cozy little family run restaurant with mama at the helm (we found this to be very typical throughout Italy). We enjoyed many traditional and delicious dishes at this restaurant. One dish that we especially loved was the Spaghetti alla Carbonara. We had it again while in Florence, but it just wasn't as good as the one that we had in Rome. Since returning home, I've had Carbonara on my mind. Last night, with a recipe from Tyler Florence as a guide, I decided to try my hand at making this wonderful dish.

With heavy garlic breath, I present my attempt at the traditional Italian dish called Spaghetti alla Carbonara. I've also added shredded chicken which is non-traditional and not a part of Tyler's recipe. And although I tempered the eggs with the warm milk, I still ended up with a bit more scrambled eggs than I wanted. But it was delicious just the same. Hubster loved it so I would consider it a success nonetheless. The best part was that it brought back fabulous memories and wonderful conversation of a very special trip that we took together.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'd like to share a great recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I have several favorites but this seems to be the one that I revert to whenever I want something that is quick and easy to prepare.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the butter and both sugars. Cream together until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla and eggs. Mix until well incorporated into the creamed mixture.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until a stiff dough forms.

Stir in your favorite chocolate chips.

Place cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet or onto parchment paper. I like to make large cookies so I use a medium-sized cookie scoop to form the dough balls. Bake for approximately 18 minutes. Adjust your time to 10-12 minutes if you are making smaller cookies.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Voila! Now go save yourself a few before your family devours them!