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Thursday, January 28, 2010


This recipe was chosen specifically with my father-in-law in mind. You see, my FIL is a diabetic, and he loves apples. Even as a non-diabetic, I know that the store bought desserts that are available to diabetics are slim on variety and extremely slim on flavor, because I've sampled a few in my attempts to cut back on sugar in my diet. My attempts have rarely worked, in part because the creators of these store bought creations seem to think of "tasty" as an afterthought. The other reason is because sugar and I have a long and torrid love affair that will never truly end, because I'm faithful to my vices.

Back to my FIL. He says that "there needs to be more sugar free food...that tastes good!" So my goal was to modify this apple cake into something that he could enjoy without the guilt of being bad. As I said, he loves apples, and in addition to apples the cake calls for a lot of spices that would help out in giving this sugar free recipe extra flavor that would be needed to compensate for the Splenda that I would be substituting (blah!).

The cake turned out well, and had a strong apple-y flavor. The middle was moist but the outer edge was slightly dry. Here is another recipe in this book where the cooking time is way off. And no, I didn't use the convection setting on the oven this time. You're supposed to bake the cake for 55-65 minutes and check for doneness. I baked for 35 minutes and it was definitely ready to be pulled from the oven. If I had baked it for the full amount of time it would have become a cinder.

I would definitely like to try making the full sugar version of this cake, and I think it would be great to take to a pot luck occasion. The spices (cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg) appeal to a wide audience, and really makes this cake scream "autumn". The cookbook gives you a glaze recipe that is optional, but I prefer a tasty cake like this to be served naked. Mmmmm nakedness.

A side note about this picture. I've been trying really hard to make improvements to my food photography, but I think it may be a lost cause. So if you come to this sight for the pictures...too bad. I can't be good at everything, I'm an awesome baker, isn't that enough for you?

Moist Double Apple Bundt Cake

■2 cups of flour

■2 tsp baking powder

■1/2 tsp baking soda

■1 tsp cinnamon

■1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (seriously, grate your own…it is easy and it makes a huge difference in flavor)

■1/4 tsp cloves

■1/4 tsp salt

■10 tbs butter at room temperature

■3/4 cup brown sugar

■3/4 cup sugar

■2 eggs at room temperature

■1 tsp maple flavoring

■1 cup apple butter

■2 apples grated – don’t peel if they are organic

■1 cup pecans, chopped

■1 cup dried cranberries

1.Preheat oven to 350F

2.Grease and flour a bundt cake pan

3.Sift the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Set aside

4.Beat the butters and sugar at medium speed about 3 minutes.

5.Add the eggs, one at a time beating for a minute or two after each addition

6.Add the flavoring and switch mixer speed to low

7.Spoon in the apple butter slowly, mixing all the while

8.Add in the grated apple

9.Still on low mix in the sifted dry ingredients mixing only until blended

10.Fold in the pecans and cranberries carefully.

11.Spoon into bundt pan, smooth the top and back for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted between the metal tube and the outside edge comes away clean. Time will depend on moisture content of the apples. My cake took 70 minutes to bake

12.Allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes, turn out and finish cooling completely

13.Wrap tightly and hold overnight

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Coconut is another one of those foods that people seem to always have strong feelings about, you either love it or hate it. So many people I know despise coconut, so when I find someone else that loves it as much as I do, I can't help but feel like I've found a kindered spirit. I know that comes off as a little dramatic, but you get the picture. I was really looking forward to making this recipe and then sending most of the cakes off to one of my sisters in the "coven of the coconut".
So it's too bad that they turned tasting like the box that I had planned to ship them in. Some of the flaws in these cakes were my fault, but most of them weren't. First they turned out dry, and nothing makes me snub my nose at a cake more quickly than dryness. The dryness problem is all on me though. We purchased a new stove, with a cool new convection oven (love it). With the convection feature, things bake more evenly and most importantly more quickly. That was two years ago, and I'm still trying to perfect the art of baking time modification for each new recipe. If I had just taken these cakes out of the oven five minutes earlier, I have no doubt they would have been moist or, at least, moister. Ugh.

The cakes weren't overly sweet, and that was a plus, but if you're looking for a strong coconut flavor, don't bother with these. The strongest flavor to be found were the eggs. The recipe calls for four of them, and the egginess (is that even a word?) is unignorable.

The cake is supposed to be baked using a bundt or kugelhopf pan, but I decided it would be easier to ship them if I made mini loaves, so even though they tasted crappy, they looked cute. And since I had leftover coconut milk, and toasted coconut, I whipped up a quick glaze of the milk, and powdered sugar, and then topped the glaze with leftover coconut. The glaze turned out better than the cakes did. A dollop of whipped cream on the side may have saved the dryness, but not the lack of coconut flavor that I was really hoping for.

I'm not saying that this isn't a good recipe, I just hope that someone else will have better luck with it than I did. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to find an Almond Joy bar that I can cry into. Coconut lovers of the world unite!

Afternote: I shipped these cakes to my friend Crystal. She and her five year old loved them, and didn't find them to be dry at all. Everything is subjective.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I haven't been posting as often as I usually do. Work has been more stressful than usual and I've felt no desire to do much baking. Hopefully, that's about to change.

These corns muffins were a last minute side addition to the clam chowder I was already making. This recipe would usually make a dozen muffins, but I decided to cut the recipe in have since it was just me and Mr. Icequeen having dinner together. Plus the recipe calls for an entire stick of butter and after the last two recipes I felt like it would be best to cut back on my butter intake.

I've spruced up muffin mixes before with a bit of frozen corn here, and some chopped jalepenos there and I've been happy with the results. This recipe is slightly more time consuming than that, but still relatively quick and easy.

As you can see,the muffins did turn out to be colorful and tasted very good. The chili powder adds a nice, smoky element to the overall flavor.

Makes 12 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg yolk

¼ cup corn kernels (add up to three tablespoons more if you’d like), fresh, frozen or canned (in which case, they should be drained and patted dry)

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-sized muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and egg yolk together until well blended.

4. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – the batter will be lumpy, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the corn kernels.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully each muffin from its mold.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Hallelujah and Pass the DSL

As most of you know the East Coast experienced a severe snowstorm on 12/19/09. Lots of power and phone outages followed. We were some of the lucky ones that only spent about 16 hours without electricity but we did spend eighteen days without landline phone service, which means I spent eighteen days without access to the internet from home. Believe it or not, I would have been okay with this if our local phone company hadn't continually lied to us about when our phone service would be restored. The customer service reps at Verizon are a bunch of fucktards, 'nuff said.

Friday, January 1, 2010


In doing this project I decided in advance that I should try to stay stick as closely as I possiby could to the cookbook's original recipe. I have it in my head that if you tinker around with a recipe too much, it then becomes your recipe, not the recipe put forth by the cookbook author. But with these two recipes I have to admit to a little cheating, and I don't think that by cutting a few small corners that the overall result suffered any.

Both of these recipes call for the baker to make a pie crust, with each crust recipe listed on a page seperate from the pie/tart recipe. Now, pie crust is a subject that many at home bakers feel strongly about. Actually I've met a few of these bakers whose fervor about pie crust "authenticity" is of the type usually reserved for book burnings or cult meetings.On a side note, if I liked pie more, I'd definitely start my own pie cult or "Church of the Heavenly Pie", maybe I'll start my own cake cult instead. If you see me in a Wal-Mart parking lot putting fliers on windshields, asking people to be enlightened by the power of the CC, you'll know my dream has come true.

In the baking world so many feel that there is no substitute for a homemade crust, and that they're easy to make, blah, blah, blah. I've made a few crusts from scratch, and yes, they are easy to make, but all the crusts I have ever made taste the same as the pre-made, roll out type that I could have purchased from the grocery store instead. So I ask you, what is the point of making that myself, when I can just buy it? I know that I'll get comments that say something along the lines of "you just haven't tasted my (wife's, grandmother's, great aunt's or cousin's dog's) pie crust recipe or you wouldn't feel that way". And you might be right, maybe their recipe could be the magical pie crust that changes my mind, but don't hold your breath.

Since the DH and I were invited to the in-laws for Christmas dinner, I volunteered to bring dessert and was happy to be able to knock out two recipes in one weekend.

First the Thanksgiving Twofer Pie. This pie is very easy to make, and is perfect for those who cannot choose between having pumpkin pie or pecan pie, since this recipe is a combination of both. Half of the ingredients go into a food processor for blending (the pumpkin portion of the pie) and the other half go into a bowl for blending (the pecan pie parts). I did make a substitution in the pumpkin portion. The recipe calls for dark rum, and I didn't have any handy. I didn't want to buy a bottle of rum, because I knew that it would just sit around for a year or two, until another recipe called for it. So, I added rum extract instead. The recipe calls for two teaspoons of the rum, so I went with two teaspoons of the extract instead. The Darling Husband thought that the flavor of the extract was a little too strong and overwhelmed the rest of the pie, but I didn't notice. What I did notice is that the pie turned out a little runny. I made the pie on Christmas morning, and it had about six hours to cool before it was served. It had been baked thoroughly so I know that it wasn't underdone. I would recommend baking this one the day before if possible and refrigerating it overnight, because a more firm texture would have made this a fantastic pie.

The lemon cream tart is not as extraordinary as the moniker claims. It is somewhat easy to make too, but there is a time where you'll need an instant read thermometer and some strong biceps, to be able to pull the recipe off. The crust for this one was blind baked in a tart pan (very pretty), and then you prepare lemon filling and chill. You'll need to zest some lemons, squeeze the juice from said lemons, and then add sugar to the zest only, and then work it with your hands until the sugar becomes "moist and fragrant", that part was kind of fun. You then add the freshly squeezed juice, and eggs to this mixture and whip it.

Then comes the upper body workout. All of the items you just whisked together go into a pot, onto the stove until it reaches 180 degress per your instant read thermometer, whisking the entire time.This can take up to ten minutes, according to the book. It took much longer than that. The DH and I took turns whisking and I still felt as if my arm was going to fall off!

The mix is then strained into a blender, you blend while adding room temperature butter ( 2 sticks worth! Egads.) and then spoon it into your crust.

I added a little raspberry dessert filling to the top of this just to cut the intense lemon flavor a little. This tart looks good, but the taste was just alright. A few people at Christmas diner seemed to really enjoy it, but the DH and I had a few problems with it. He thought there was a strong eggy taste, and I say there was a strong buttery aftertaste, but not in a good way.

The Twofer Pie is one that I would definitely make again. I'm glad I had the experience of making the lemon tart, but I wouldn't do it again unless someone whom I really like was to request it.