Apple Pie Cake

Mom made this last time I visited. I thought it was a good cake, but not living up to it's full potential. I tweaked it a bit, mostly by adding spices; and some butter to the filling. We also had some leftover cooking apples that were too sour to eat, so I made the filling from scratch using them.

So I figured it would be good, but I think it might be my new favorite cake. I'm definitely making this again. And again! And again!

Apple Pie Cake

1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups flour
1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp lemon juice
1 20 oz can of apple pie filling
(or make your own from fresh apples, sugar and flour)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Mix together all ingredients for filling. Keep separate.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and first group of spices. Then mix in oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add to egg & sugar mixture and mix until just combined. This will make a sticky batter.

Pour half of batter into greased and floured pan. Use a silicone spatula to spread it into a thin layer on bottom of pan. Spread filling mixture evenly on top of this. Then spread remaining batter over top.

Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes until top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Refrigerate if you don’t think you will eat it all within 3 days. (Ha ha, see if you can save it that long!)

Easy Southern Style Peach Cobbler

this recipe can be found everywhere right now, but I made some tweaks to the proportions:

1.5 sticks butter, melted

2 cups flour
1.5 cups sugar (if using fresh peaches, increase sugar to 2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cardamom
.75 tsp cinnamon

reserved juice from peaches and enough milk to equal 2 cups
1 tsp almond extract

29 oz can sliced peaches, drained, reserve juice.

Preheat oven to 350

Pour melted butter into a 9 x 13 pan and use a pastry brush to butter the sides.

Mix dry ingredients and add milk and extracts. Blend well. Pour into pan on top of melted butter. Do not stir. Distribute peach slices evenly on top of batter.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until a knife inserted in cobbler comes out clean.

Serve warm or cold. With whipped cream if desired. Refrigerate if not eaten within 4 hours.

NOTE: this is not a "biscuit on top of fruit" cobbler. It's more like a soft, wet cake with fruit in it.

Shortcakes recipe

From "Vintage Cakes" by Jane Brocket

These look like scones, but have a softer, more open, crumbly texture. The better to absorb the strawberry juice! The dough came out a bit soft and spread out too thin when cooked, but were still delicious. I think they just need a few tweaks to be perfect.

1 & 1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick cold butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cream

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Mix cream and egg, pour into flour mixture. Stir with fork until dough gathers into ball.

On a floured board, roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 14 -16 squares.

Bake on parchment lined cookie sheet in a 400 oven for 12 minutes or so and pale golden brown.

Cool completely before serving

Notes: I'm going to increase flour to 1.5 cups. Roll them out about 5/8 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 or 12 squares. place them at least 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

OK, I tried various mods to get these not to melt into puddles and to look like the pic, but nothing really worked, and the variations that almost worked just tasted like scones. So I gave up on modifying the recipe and just patted the very moist dough into a buttered 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bingo!!!! Had to bake it for 25 minutes or so.

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage

Last year I got a nostalgic craving for stuffed cabbage, which I hadn't had in years. I googled some recipes and they worked pretty well. I love the way the rice absorbs the flavor of the meat and the texture it gives. They are astonishingly easy and quick to make. Prior to that, the last thing I stuffed was a grape leaf, and take my word for it, the cabbage is a much more compliant vegetable. It's almost like it WANTS to be stuffed. The leaves are practically cup shaped, and the outer part of the leaf is so thin and pliable that it wraps around and clings to the cup shaped part of the leaf without needing to even fasten it.

But in spite of this, I felt none of these recipes quite matched what I remembered from my chilhood in the half-Polish suburbs of Chicago. My stuffed cabbage seemed quite bland, but none of the spices I added seemed to do the trick. I asked my mother but she couldn't remember if she had used a recipe from a cookbook, or more likely, a recipe from a neighbor that she hadn't used in 30 years. So I googled more recipes and noticed that some of them were called "Sweet & Sour Stuffed Cabbage". EUREKA! I'm writing my version down here so I don't forget. More of a list of proportions and seasoning than an actual recipe:

Meat Mixture:
1 lb ground beef
1 cup rice, cooked and cooled
1 onion, minced
1 egg
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves

Mix all ingredients and stuff into parboiled cabbage leaves with the thick stem shaved down.

1 onion, minced and browned in tbsp oil
1 can (46 oz?) tomato juice
4 or 5 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup burgundy
2 tsp garlic powder

Use any excess cabbage leaves and shavings to line bottom of pan. Pour a bit of sauce into pan. Layer in stuffed cabbage leaves. Pour remainder of sauce over stuffed rolls. Add one more layer of parboiled leaves on top. Bring to full boil. Cook in 400 degree oven for 2.5 hours.

Arancini 2.0

I must have seen somebody post something about arancini, so I had a craving to try them, and then eventually I had some leftover rice.... I used this recipe from Lidia Bastianich : http://www.lidiasitaly.com/recipes/detail/820 Other recipes said you could use any leftover rice, but I don't think that's true, at least not for a first-time arancini maker. They did not want to hold their form and I had to add a lot of flour to get them to hold their shape, and while they were OK the first night, they were fairly dry when re-heated.

So I did some more research and figured out a trick. They were AWESOME (choir of angels in background) I might still further tweak the recipe, but even if I don't this was delicious. Like creamy, cheesy balls of risotto in a crispy crust. Even re-heated (in the microwave, without a lid) they were still somewhat crispy on the outside and delightlfully creamy inside. What's the secret? Just take about 1/3 of your dry un-cooked rice and whizz it in a food processor or maybe a blender until most of the grains are broken and some of them that are almost crushed. Then add them back in to the rest of the rice and cook.

1.5 cups rice (1/2 cup of it "blended")
4.5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
about 1.5 cups thick beef or kale ragu (chilled) or 8 ozs mozzarella cheese

2 eggs
about 1.5 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 or 3 cups oil for semi-deep-frying

Add rice to chicken stock, bring to boil, cover, simmer, stirring occasionally until rice is cooked, thick and creamy like risotto. Cool rice.

In large bowl, beat eggs, cheese and rice until well blended. Reserve 1/4 of rice mixture and divide remaining mixture into 12 parts. Wet hands with water and take each (1/12) lump of rice and form into a ball by rolling in your hands and hollow it out by poking your finger into it and twiddling it. Set aside.

When you have 12 little bowl-shaped lumps of rice, then you add approx 1 scant tsp of ragu into each bowl. Divide the remaining 1/4 of the rice into 12 portions and form each portion into a disk (wet hands). Top each "bowl" of ragu with a rice disk, pinch the edges to seal and roll into a sphere with your hands. Refrigerate, uncovered for at least an hour to firm up.

Whisk the two remaining eggs and roll each arancini in egg and then roll in breadcrubs. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a deep medium sized pot while coating the arancini with breadcrumbs. Test the oil with a bread cube or a lump of egg & breadcrumbs. Oil should bubble a little but not boil up and should not immediately brown or blacken the test subject. Using a metal spider or cupped, slotted spatula, add 3 or 4 arancini to your pot of oil. Cook them for about a two minutes on a side until deep golden (almost orange) brown, and flip them and cook on the other side. When evenly browned, remove them from oil (let them drip for a second, over the pot) and keep them warm on a baking sheet in a 225 oven. Cook in batches as above. Will stay nice for at least an hour in the oven while you get everything else ready. Serve with any kind of gravy.

Tweaks: These made fairly large (almost the size of a small orange) arancini. The rice mixture was too soft to make them any smaller. Next time I will try using only one egg in the mixture and will form them while the rice is still slightly warmish. I think that once the rice "sets" you need to add the extra egg to make it malleable enough to shape, but if I shape them before the rice sets I will only need to use one egg and it will hold it's shape better allowing me to make 16 smaller arancini instead of 12 big ones. I'm sure they will taste the same, but small ones are cuter and allow better portioning.

Previously unknown genre of art

I thought I had posted this before (as a reminder to myself) but I couldn't find it. SO I'm posting now and will tag it correctly so next time I want to find it I can get to it quickly.

Discovered a previously unknown genre of art. It occured in the 20's and 30's. Japanese Ukiyo-e techniques applied by Japanese artist with western training. Sort of like Ukiyo-e meets Ansel Adams and the impressionists of the American West. Probably considered derivative, but it speaks to my soul, so nyah!

Hiroshi and Toshi Yoshida. Google it!

Pumpkin Cake with Ginger Spice Buttercream

Before I forget, new recipe I made for my daughter's birthday cake. Here is a link to the FB pic, I've given up on adding pics to LJ (for the moment): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201769957784943&set=a.3397246924227.2150307.1061344623&type=1&theater

The recipe is a riff on my friend Kathy's "Best Ever Banana Bread" recipe which I posted a while ago. One small can of Pumpkin makes 1.5 of these recipes, but my cake was not tall enough, so I'd double the recipe if I made it again and just find something else to do with the leftover canned pumpkin.

Best Ever Pumpkin Bread

Sift together, set aside

1 ¾ c. flour
1 ½ c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ t. salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp cloves


2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
½ c. veg. oil
¼ c. buttermilk plus 1 Tbs.
1 t. vanilla

Add combined wet ingredients to flour mix stirring until just combined. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 baking pan.

Bake 325 for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack before removing from pan.


TO make an easy pumpkin shaped cake, double this recipe and bake it in 2 bundt cake pans. In a bundt pan, start checking for doneness at 45 minutes.

Ginger Spice Buttercream

To taste, add approx 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves to your favorite buttercream recipe. You don't need to make the icing strongly spicy, it just needs to have a slight hint of spice to amplify the flavor of the cake. Depending on the amt your recipe makes, you may need to double the amt of spices. This will turn the frosting a light tan. Any colors you make with this will be slightly duller than normal.

Bratwurst Delight

This is more to jog my memory than a real finished recipe, but if you can cook by the seat of your pants, it is yummy:

Make spaetzle using:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
a little bit of water

Drain spaetzle, reserve 1 cup of water, put spaetzle in bowl, add 1 tbsp butter

Saute a diced onion in a little oil until golden. Add 4 -6 bratwurst and brown lightly. Add some starchy water from the spaetzle and de-glaze pan. Throw in a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cover and simmer for a while, removing rosemary just before the needles start to fall off. Add a few tbsp of mustard. When water has cooked almost away, add 1/2 cup of milk or half & half and reduce by half. Throw in spaetzle and stir until sauce coats spaetzle and is mostly absorbed.

Brownie Recipe


This is result of 5th trial of brownie recipes. I thought the Test Kitchen version was a little too gooey, so I added a little more flour and added baking powder, and also added the ganache frosting which adds chocolate flavor and also balances the sweetness of the brownies. I am going to test it one more time using three eggs instead of two eggs and two yolks and see if that works.

As with all Test Kitchen recipes, they aren't fooling around with the instructions, and when they say it needs to cool for a certain amount of time, they are telling the truth! These really need that amount of cooling down to reach the right consistency, otherwise they fall apart when you try to cut them. IMO, these are actually better on the second day.

(Slightly modified Test Kitchen recipe)

yield: 24 brownies

prep time: 15 minutes

cook time: 40 to 50 minutes

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
½ cup plus boiling water
2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
2 cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 – 4 oz heavy cream (use 3 oz in summer and 4 oz in winter)

(this goes on uneven and lumpy, so use UNDERNEATH the ganache or see if it's prettier if you melt it)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk cocoa and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add 2 oz semisweet chocolate chips and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in 4 oz semisweet chocolate chips.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted near the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours. While brownies are cooling, bring cream to full boil. Whisk in 6 oz semi-sweet chips and whisk until completely smooth and whisk for 1 minute longer. Allow frosting to cool to room temp.

4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. (about 1 hour) Flip brownies over and peel foil from bottom of brownies. Return brownies to pan. Pour cooled frosting over brownies, using a spatula to distribute evenly almost to the edge of brownies. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Sweet Corn Dumplings of Delish

I had some leftover sweet corn, so I created this recipe and was pleased with the results. I will make this again.

Sweet Corn Dumplings

1 cup flour
.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp nutmeg
.75 tsp dried thyme
1.5 tsp baking powder

1/3 stick butter

2 eggs, beaten
Approx 1/8 to 1/4 cup milk

Kernels cut from 2 ears cooked sweet corn, slightly crumble

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in butter. Stir eggs into mixture. Stir in enough milk to make a batter slightly thicker than pancake batter. Because you will be adding so much corn, you don’t need to worry about over-beating making it tough, especially if you are stirring by hand.

Fold in corn.

Drop by rounded tablespoons into gently simmering stew or soup, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until dumplings are risen and done in the center.

Serves 4 – 6

1. This would be good with lemon thyme or some lemon zest.
2. Replace nutmeg with 1 tsp cumin seeds that have been toasted and then ground. Serve with Mexican food.