With us just being on the brink of the holiday season but it still being fall, we wanted to gather some inspiration for a “Created by Cocktail” that would feel like autumn but also feel more festive. What is more festive, my friends, than sparkles? Just about nothing, I think. I partly chose an apple cocktail for Colleen as this is the time of year she gets to revel in her apple pie glory.
In the midst of the mass chaos that has been preparing for our Halloween party, we celebrated our dad’s birthday this weekend. As usual, it was my job to make the cake. My dad said that there was nothing specific that he wanted for his cake so instead I made what I wanted. Insert evil laugh. Which was a super chunky appley spice cake. After perusing google for recipes, I decided upon one from BHG. I couldn’t find my camera when I was making this in addition to the fact that I had at least 3 Halloween projects going on simultaneously. The result of this was not very many pictures taken during the baking process. BHG wanted me to put some fruit crap on top of the cake but I said “NO! No fruit junk will be on my cake.” I am a buttercream girl.
Cinnamon Apple Spice Cake
from Better Homes and Gardens
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil. I am pretty sure I have never used canola oil in my life. What is it?)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (I added a smidge more)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Gala apples, cored and diced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 8x8x2-inch baking pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pans; set aside.
2. In mixing bowl whisk buttermilk, oil, brown sugar, eggs, water, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and vanilla until combined. Whisk in flour; stir in apple. My batter was pretty runny before I put in the apple so don’t freak if yours is too. Divide evenly between prepared pans.
3. Bake 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cake layers from pans onto racks; remove parchment paper. Cool completely on racks.
Cream Cheese Buttercream (this is the recipe that I have shared before that I made up)
This makes plenty for a 2 layer cake with about a cup left over so I bet it would be fine for 3 layers as well.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1 lb powdered sugar
- 1 ¼ tsp almond
- 1 ¼ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp butter extract
- 1 TBSP milk
Put all the things in the mixer and fire that baby up. No need to complicate the situation. Although I guess you should probably start with the butter and cream cheese. If you want to get technical.
Assemble your cake. Use the tips I outlined here if you should desire.
Makes 10 servings depending on how big you like your cake slices to be.
I used the spoon and cinnamon on top technique when I frosted mine up that I read about on our lovely friend Christina’s blog called Carolina Charm. She is always sharing fancy little tips, that one. Of course, I obviously didn’t work that hard to make it look as good as she would. Oh well. As my dad always says, at least it eats good.
Last weekend, I woke up desperate for some pumpkin pancakes. I started googling recipes and much to my dismay, they all required egg. I am not an egg girl, and only keep them in the house when I am baking something, so none of these recipes would work for me. Instead, I decided to do a little doctoring of my Aunt Jemima Complete (the super duper lazy kind) by adding some pumpkin and a tad bit of spice. Although probably not as delicious as the kind made from scratch, I found these pumpkin pancakes were really quite good.
Very Complicated Recipe:
- 2 cups Aunt Jemima Complete
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2/3 cups canned pumpkin (I used Libby’s)
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix ingredients. Heat lightly greased griddle on medium-low. Pour batter onto griddle into pancake-portions, I usually use 1/4 cup. Flip when batter on the top side of the pancake starts to bubble.
I like my pancakes really sweet (usually with chocolate chips), so I would recommend syrup or at least some cinnamon and sugar.
This past week has been a little rough for me. I know I just talked about having a bad day last week and surely don’t mean to sound complainy but last Thursday I found out one of the children I work with (I am a speech therapist in real life) passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I was obviously pretty devastated when I found out but overall it has been a slow and sneaking kind of grief. Usually I am fine, but just when I think that I am safe, the sadness will hit like a wave and overwhelm me for a time until it recedes again. Mostly I am feeling the pain and loss for his sweet family. Needless to say, I have been making an effort to be careful with myself this week and taking time to do things that are comforting for me. This has meant letting myself make out-of-the-way trips to Fresh Market for my favorite Pumpkin Spice coffee and “Harvest” white chocolate covered pretzels, buying the cutest little white pumpkins I could find, lazing in my bed and reading my book, and letting the tiny kitten I found on the side of the road on Monday curl up and sleep on my chest for hours instead of being proactive about finding a home for him. Comfort for me also meant spending a few hours on Tuesday evening making pumpkin cookies instead of any of the millions of other things I should have been doing. Sorry world, but I have kicked the concept of practicalness to the curb at least for this week. I choose to do what feels good.
If any of you need some comfort food, I highly highly recommend this recipe. The cookies are so soft and perfect that they melt in your mouth and taste like an explosion of fall. Usually I would write the recipe here in the post but because I don’t really feel like it right now, I am not going to. You don’t mind, right? You guys can surely click the link to see the recipe if you so desire.
I added an extra 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp cloves to the dry mixtures. This was in addition to what it already called for. I also added an additional 1/2 tsp vanilla. I almost always do this when I bake because I like my things really flavory and I really wanted these bad boys to taste like Autumn in my mouth.
And that is just about where I forgot to remember to take pictures. Oops. Sorry ya’ll. You will just have to imagine the rest.
For the glaze, I used the recipe but added a little more milk and 1 tsp of cinnamon to flavor it along with a tiny bit of extra vanilla.
Of course they are delightful anytime, but I really find that they taste best in the morning with my cup of pumpkin coffee. Since I forgot to take pictures and did not write out the recipe, I will make it up to ya’ll by sharing teany tiny kitten pictures. I apologize to those of you who have seen these on facebook or instagram. I am obsessed.