Have a spare cake mix just screaming to be used? I did. As I’ve said before, I have no shame in using a cake mix. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy “from scratch” baking too. So the other morning I had some spare time before I woke the house up and threw these together. The recipe is extremely easy and yields a tasty breakfast option. You can mix and match for flavors too, but I went with the kids favorite, chocolate chip. Here is the base recipe…
Cake Mix Muffins (Chocolate Chip)
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 (4 serving) box instant vanilla pudding
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup oil, vegetable or canola
- 1/4 tsp extract (vanilla or almond)
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used mini)
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Line 2 muffin pans with paper cups or use baking spray.
Combine all ingredients except for chocolate chips. Stir until moist then fold in chocolate chips. The batter will be lumpy, don’t over-stir. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 23 – 29 minutes. Note I filled the cups nearly full and it yielded 18 muffins. As you can see they don’t rise a lot, so I don’t think you can overfill them.
I hope you enjoy this shortcut recipe. The original recipe came from the book “101 Things To Do With A Cake Mix” by Stephanie Ashcraft and it was for a double chocolate chip muffin using a fudge cake mix and chocolate instant pudding.
Happy New Year!
I didn’t exactly keep up with the Jones’ (of blogging) and post any end of the year top 10 or 20 lists, I did however enjoy reading through them! I had some memories from the year and some recipe ideas for the new year.
Instead of searching through my archives or little read or seen posts, I got to baking. The decision to make this cake was a last-minute one I found after looking through my new Food Network Magazine (which I highly recommend). In the readers letters section I saw a comment about a cake that ran in their October magazine. My husband and I would be attending a party that evening and I knew right away this cake would be my choice to bake and bring to the party.
The cake portion was not complicated but the caramel topping was time-consuming. All in all it came together nicely. The “almost wasn’t” came in while the cake was in the oven. About 15 minutes into baking the power went out. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day, so I knew weather probably was not a factor. Then we heard sirens… All I could think about was this cake that I needed in just a few short hours, and the prep that had gone into making it. Turns out a transformer had blown and caught fire. No biggie, except for the fact that it knocked out power to what seemed like half of the city (slight exaggeration here). I had waited long enough and knew I needed a hot oven, and soon. Calling around I found no one nearby who had power. The decision was made then to pack up the half/baked cake and head up to my office, about 4 miles away.
Of course about 5 minutes after I arrived my husband called and said the power was back on. I wasn’t driving back home again, so I sat in a cold dark building and waited what seemed like hours. Ok, well one hour. We were supposed to be at this party around 6 p.m. and it was now after 5 and I was still waiting on a cake and completely unprepared to go. Shame on me, I left the office, oven on, cake in the oven, and ran home to grab the family and a change of clothes. Then we returned to grab the cake (which was cooked perfectly) and headed straight to the party. Ugh
So long story short – power outages stink, especially when you have food in the oven. Now on to the cake:
The cake is a dense “pound cake” like cake with a hint of cinnamon when served resembles highly that of a caramel apple. I guess that’s where it gained its name (duh!). I am sure if you wanted to cut down the prep time, a purchased caramel sauce would suffice. Here is the recipe. Hopefully if you decide to make it, the cooking process will go easier than mine did.
I’ve added a link to the recipe on Food Networks website, they have some step by step pictures available too. Again, Happy New Year from my oven to yours!
Caramel Apple Cake (link to recipe here)
From Food Network Magazine, October 2010, pg 142
For the Caramel and Apples:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
- 3 cups sugar
- 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 large Golden Delicious apples
For the Batter:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
Butter a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan. Make the caramel: Cook the sugar and corn syrup in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is dark amber, 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Carefully add the cream and 4 tablespoons butter (it will splatter) and cook, stirring, until combined, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let sit 1 minute. Pour 1 1/2 cups caramel into a glass measuring cup and set aside. Pour the remaining caramel into the prepared pan and set aside until set, about 30 minutes.
Cut 3 apples into quarters and cut out the cores with a paring knife. Arrange the pieces skin-side down in the pan (overlapping them slightly) to form a ring about 1/2 inch from the edge. Save any pieces that do not fit for later. Halve the remaining whole apple crosswise. Scoop out the seeds with a melon baller or measuring spoon, leaving the stem on the top half. Chop the bottom and any of the leftover quartered apples into pieces; set aside. Arrange the apple top, stem-side down, in the center of the pan. If the quartered apples shift, just push them back into place.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream, orange juice and vanilla. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Slip them into the mixer bowl, one at a time, and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 5 more minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula.
With the mixer on low-speed, add half of the sour cream mixture, then half of the flour mixture. Repeat. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula; finish combining the batter by hand. Spread the batter over the apples in the pan. Top with the chopped apple. Bake on the middle oven rack until the cake is brown on top and springs back when pressed, 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes (don’t worry if the top is dark). Cool in the pan on a rack.
**Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a skillet wide enough to hold the cake pan. Carefully run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan several times, then rest the pan in the water to soften the caramel, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the water and dry. Invert a plate on top of the cake, then flip over the cake and plate. Using pot holders or a towel, wriggle the pan off. Soften the reserved 1 1/2 cups caramel in the microwave, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the cake with some of the caramel. Slice and serve with the rest. (I only used about 1/2 of the reserved caramel and um, serve this cake warm with some ice cream and you will get new friends.)
Note: On their website some of the reader comments spoke about finding (or not finding) the correct size pan. I didn’t either. I found an 8″ x 3″ pan, and a 10″, but not a 9″. So I used a 9″ springform pan that I lined with heavy foil. It worked perfectly and I was able to omit that last step of simmering water to loosen the cake from the pan.
Christmas in our family is quite traditional, as far as dinner is concerned. Only one of the recipes in this post are new to us and our table. Even though any of our kids could recite what will be on the table, and who will be preparing it, it just wouldn’t be the same if we switched things up. We talk about it every year, but never do.
For the main courses are ham and turkey. My sister-in-law cooks the ham, and we grill the turkey at our house. I began grilling the turkey several years ago when I ran out of oven room. Grilling the turkey, I have found, yields the most moist white meat of any cooking method. It is very simple, a little butter, salt and pepper on and under the skin along with about 3/4 of an inch of stock in the pan. Covered then slow cooked with only the outside two burners on and in about 3 hours, a beautiful golden brown bird emerges!
For the Cranberry Sauce, I prepared a recipe first used at Thanksgiving. I found the recipe over at Recipe Girl and it is not only easy but blows the canned stuff out of the water. It is also great with a little butter on a biscuit or toast in the morning. I highly encourage trying this recipe.
Now, for the best part. Dessert. I made the Browned Butter Pecan Pie (that I made last month) from Cookie Madness, No Bake PB Oatmeal Cookies from well, anywhere, but I have my own recipe, a great sugar cookie (that I will post later), and our family tradition of “Angel Wings“. The Sour Cream Pound Cake, Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie played an essential part of this holiday meal too. Needless to say, I have a TON of dessert leftover in the freezer.
It was a wonderful holiday but I must say that I am relieved that it is over. The pressure involved in food preparation and making three growing kids happy have worn me out. I am looking forward to having the rest of the week off and doing, well, nothing.
Happy New Year to all!
Need a boost this time of year? A chocolate indulgence? This little number here will keep milk farmers in business. It’s the classic sheet cake and it delivers. I’ve made a similar cake before but the base was from a cake mix. I’m really trying to convert to a non-cake mix baker, but often time does not afford me that opportunity. Thankfully, this is a straight forward recipe with ingredients most likely in your pantry. It is Ree Drummond’s, a.k.a. “Pioneer Woman”, recipe which she refers to as “The Best Sheet Cake. Ever.”
Prep. Bake. Enjoy…
Here’s the recipe taken directly from her site. I left out the pecans, I am not a nut lover, sorry. She has some beautiful step by step pictures at the link too…
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.
Cut into squares, eat, and totally wig out over the fact that you’ve just made the best chocolate sheet cake. Ever.
Ok, maybe not in person, but Bakerella’s Cake Pops book made its first, and definitely not last, appearance in the kitchen. I actually received my book the day it was released but had not had a chance to create anything from it. I’ve made cake pops before, but some of her creations are just amazing.
Well, this past Saturday my daughter and I went looking for Christmas gifts for her friends. You know, even dollar stores will set you back when it comes to presents… then we had this wise idea to prepare sweets for them… namely, cake pops! We were just going to do a “plain old” pop, then I saw how easy the trees would be. Now granted, our last-minute decision didn’t allow me to find all the necessary decor, so we improvised. I still thing they turned out great. My daughter did the majority of the work, I just dipped the pops in the candy coating. We tweaked the shaping slightly too, but without Cake Pops, there wouldn’t have been anything.
They are just slightly tedious, but we completed 48 of them in about 90 minutes. Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we did seeing the real thing. Check out the link to her site or pick up one of her books, you won’t be bored, I promise!
Back in September, King Arthur Flour’s baking blog “Baking Banter“, posted this long time favorite recipe… They refer to it as a Cake Pan Cake, but I’ve heard it call Krazy Cake, Emergency Cake, Funny Cake etc… I allude to this being a “Flat Broke” cake because of its origins to the Great Depression, when the price of butter and eggs gave this recipe a boost of popularity.
Call it what you’d like, it’s really good, and really easy… it’s even allergy friendly because it doesn’t contain eggs. I made the recipe “last-minute” in place of a sour cream pound cake that my husband had requested… seeing as I had no sour cream, eggs or softened butter.
If you want a moist, chocolate cake that yields “frosting optional” results, this one’s a keeper…
One Pan Cake ~ A King Arthur Flour Original
- 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup cold milk (other suggestions on their site)
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Measure all the dry ingredients into an 8″ or 9″ round or square cake pan; if you use an 8″ pan, make sure it’s at least 2″ deep. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly with a fork or whisk and scoop out three holes, or indentations.
Pour the vanilla into the first hole, the vinegar into the second, and the vegetable oil into the third.
Take the cup of cold liquid (water, coffee, milk, etc.) and pour it directly over everything in the pan. Note: If you’ve used espresso powder, adding coffee will make this a mocha cake. Stir all the ingredients together with your fork until they are well blended.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve right from the pan; warm from the oven. Yield: 12 to 16 servings.
I doubled the recipe, making two 8″ rounds, and layering and frosting with a cream cheese frosting. And in preparation, as suggested for “clean release”, I used a mixing bowl and poured the batter into prepared pans.
I’m not sure whether to call these cookies, pastry, pies, tarts or just plain dessert. Since preparing these for my daughters 4th grade class they have been given all of those titles, and with flying colors. I did give out a few copies of the recipe too.
Note, I had prepared this post Thanksgiving week and just realized that it was still in my unpublished file! I must have been half asleep when I started it. Anyway, here is the original post link and this is how easy it is to prepare these… Original source: Three Baking Sheets to the Wind
Pumpkin Pie Pockets, How I prepared them:
- ½ baked Pumpkin Pie (can be crust-less, you only use the filling)
- 2 – 3 Pie Crusts (I used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts)*
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the crust and cut 2 – 4” circles with a glass or cookie cutter. Place 1 rounded tablespoon (see note) of pie in the center of the circle and fold over. Use a fork to close edges and a small sharp knife to cut a couple of decorative vent holes. Place them on a coated baking sheet then brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with sugar (if desired).
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Tops of pies will brown slightly. Remove and let cool completely, store in refrigerator.
*Each crust will make about 17 – 2 inch pies.
Note: originally I posted to use 1 – 2 teaspoons of filling. A more accurate amount would be a rounded tablespoon. You want to have enough filling to enjoy, but not so much it oozes out when you seal the edges!