Tag Archives: cakes

Apple Upside Down Cake

Apple Cake

Let me open with this: looks are not everything. This cake may look fine, but what you can’t see is that there are random crystalized chunks of sugar all over the top of this. A lovely molar threatening crunch that I did not find all that appealing. What happened you might ask? I was an idiot, and I thought that I could just watch the video. In the video, they show the sugar/water mixture magically turn a beautiful golden brown; in reality, not so much. I missed the “no stirring” part, and since my mixture was staring to get a little dark on the bottom, I stirred it. Then as I was pouring it out into the top of my pan, it started to turn into candy chunks. Fun part, I ran out of sugar making the cake batter (so I couldn’t remake it), so I just threw everything in the oven and hoped for the best.

The actual recipe:

Serves 6

6 Tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature,
plus more for greasing
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 eggs
⅓ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Thoroughly butter a 9-inch cast-iron pan and arrange the apple slices in the bottom of the pan, cut-side down. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.

In a sauce pan, combine 1 cup sugar with ⅓ cup water and bring to a boil until it turns light brown, about 10 minutes. Swirl the pan but do not stir. Pour over the apples.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the remaining sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in the eggs and whip until smooth. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add ⅓ of the flour mixture and alternate between the milk and flour until all of the flour has disappeared. Stir in vanilla and pour on top of the apples.

Bake until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes then flip onto an appropriate size plate and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

  • All in all, I will probably give this another try. It was just a bad situation on a not great day, and issues aside, the taste was okay. Andy even gleefully claimed the cake as “his” when I told him I wanted to toss the rest of it. It’s been his dessert and breakfast for the past couple of days.

Recipes I Want to Try

The last few months have been pretty crammed with baking as I scrambled to hit my 12 new cake recipes before the deadline on my 28 before 29 list. Now that I am in the clear, I’ve taken a baking break and have been reflecting on all the things I learned along the way. I’ve discovered that I really like baking with a friend or family member (mostly my mom and my friend Rachel); it helps me relax and enjoy the process since I know that there is someone double checking ingredient lists and recipe steps as we go along. I discovered that I am a frosting snob. Cake can vary on texture and flavor and be fine, but frosting!? If it isn’t right, I scrape it off and throw it away. Which makes me feel like a diva, but I can’t help it. It does, however, make me that much more excited when I find one that truly like. Whipped ganache or peanut butter frosting? Yes, please; I’ll bring my own spoon. I’ve also started thinking a lot more about presentation. Several of the later recipes I tried called for more precise assembly and the reaction from the taste testers was overwhelmingly positive. A swirl of fudge here, a carefully place berry there, and it made everyone feel like they were getting something extra fancy.

I am currently working on my 29 before 30 list, that I will be sharing with you next week, and I am definitely going to continue the trend of trying new recipes. I am hoping to expand my culinary comfort zone past cupcakes and start putting a little extra consideration into my presentation. To get inspired, I have once again turned to Pinterest for help and my Cake board is making me feel like it will soon be time to again pull out the mixer and don my apron. Here are a few of the recipes I am currently considering.

1. Chocolate Mandarin Orange

Recipe 4

Orange Almond Cake with Orange Blossom Frosting

Recipe 3

Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting

Recipe 1

Black Forrest Cake

Recipe 2

Another thing I want to work on is the quality of my food photos; we eat with our eyes too, right? And those pictures above? Gorgeous, and they make me very, very hungry.


All images are from the blogs linked in the titles and can also be found on my Cake Pinterest board.



#11 of 12: Chocolate Olive Oil & Blood Orange Cupcakes

Before my mom headed out earlier this week, she offered to help me whip up one more cupcake recipe for my checklist. In honor of Andy’s favorite Christmas treat, the chocolate orange, we selected this recipe for Chocolate Olive Oil & Blood Orange Cupcakes by Love & Olive Oil.


Yield: 12 cupcakes


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup pure olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon blood orange zest, finely grated
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon almond meal
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon blood orange zest, finely grated
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy creamer or heavy cream (as needed)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and zest until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in coconut milk mixture. Stir until just smooth (do not overmix).
  3. Pour into liners, filling each with 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake 18-20 minutes (or 10-12 for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  4. For frosting, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Mix in orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition (depending on the temperature of your butter, you may need more or less sugar or added cream to achieve the proper consistency). Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Read more at http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2010/01/chocolate-olive-oil-and-blood-orange-cupcakes.html


  • The taste tester results on this one were definitely love or hate, but in all fairness, the ones who didn’t like it admitted they don’t like chocolate orange candy so…….yeah.
  • I feel squarely into the former category. The cake was a-mazing! Rich yet light, the perfect texture, and the slight tang of the blood orange really added depth to the chocolate flavor.
  • The frosting was meh, but then again, it was only a slight modification of the standard butter cream, which, if the last half dozen recipes have taught us anything, I don’t seem to like. However, one of my wonderful taste testers called it “life changing” so if you like orange and buttercream you should probably go ahead and give it a try.
  • How cool is it that the cake is vegan and that the frosting can be vegan if you want? I really like when recipes are adaptable for people with dietary restrictions.
  • I am considering making the cake again, but in a loaf pan and making a blood orange glaze to go on top. Then I can eat it for breakfast.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes

Time for cake recipe #2 of 12. I made some minor changes to this recipe from Taste of Home so it made cupcakes instead of a layer cake, but I left all the important parts unaltered. When I am sending stuff to work with Andy, cupcakes are simply easier to distribute, and I want to keep my taste testers happy. Cupcake tasting is a rough job, but someone has to do it.



  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream


  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Dissolve cocoa in boiling water; cool. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Add cocoa mixture and mix well.
  4. Pour into cupcake pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 24 cupcakes.


Cake – Not as chocolate-y as I hoped for, but it had a good flavor. The cake was a little dry to begin with and really dry the next day. Definitely a recipe you only want to use when the cupcakes will be consumed the day you make them. Or with a giant glass of milk.

Frosting – Pretty good, a little overly sweet in my book, but it had a richness that compensated for the drier cake. Might use this one again with a different cake pairing.

New Cake Recipe 1 of 12

Part of my 28 before 29 was trying 12 new cake recipes; this was a way to force myself into doing more baking. Baking, I discovered a couple of years ago, is an excellent stress reliever for me; unfortunately it was very hard on mine and Andy’s waistlines. I stopped for a while, but I really missed it. To me, there is something so sweet (pun intended) about creating something that can be shared with others. So I reconfigured the baking plan, while I (and I’m sure Andy) will try everything I make, the people at Andy’s office have graciously offered to be my culinary guinea pigs, so theoretically my waistline is safe. For recipe #1 tried Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting by How Sweet It Is.

friday link love

Brown Sugar Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, stirring to mix. Set aside. Line a cupcake tin with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk brown sugar and egg until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and milk, again mixing until combined. Slowly pour in melted butter, continuing to whisk. Add in the flour, soda and salt, mixing with a large spoon until batter is smooth.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to liners. Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until tops are puffy and golden, and don’t jiggle when touched. Let cool completely.

Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting

6 ounces cold cream cheese

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

raw turbinado sugar for topping, if desired

Add cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until smooth, then add peanut butter and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Add in brown and powdered sugars gradually, with the mixture on low speed. Once everything has been added, turn to medium-high speed and mix for 4-5 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides. If you’d like the frosting a bit sturdier, add additional powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, mixing like before. Frost cupcakes!


The Cake: I really wanted to love this recipe, but to be completely honest it was just “okay”.  The cake needed more sweetness, the flavor was good, but it wasn’t quite right. If I make these again I’ll be increasing the amount of sugar at least by a 1/4 cup. Plus the flavor of the frosting completely overpowered subtle richness added to the cake by the brown sugar. I will be making this again, but with some modifications.

The Frosting: I’ve made peanut butter frosting before, and I think I’ll stick with my own recipe. This one was very cream-cheesy, which is not how I like my peanut butter frosting to taste. It should taste like peanut butter. You couldn’t even taste the brown sugar, and the consistency was strange. I had to add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar because it was so gooey I couldn’t keep it on the spatula. Probably won’t make this again.

Okay, that is 1 down only 11 to go!

Image from here.