Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

It's that time of year when everything includes pumpkin.  If you're a fan of those pumpkin lattes at your favorite coffee shop, you'll love this cake.  Moist with hints of coffee and a deep pumpkin flavor.  I made this cake a few weeks ago when friends came for dinner.  Normally I would send the leftovers to work with Tim, rather than keep them around to tempt us each evening.  Not with this one, it was so good, I couldn't give it up.  And yes, I ate way too much cake.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake with Cinnamon Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Baking Bites
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp water
2 tsp instant espresso or 1 packet Starbucks Via

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until very smooth. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
In a small bowl, combine water and instant espresso or Starbucks Via and stir to dissolve. Add in 1 cup of pumpkin cake batter and stir until batter and coffee are well-combined.
Place dollops of pumpkin batter around your prepared pan, intermixed with dollops of coffee batter. Use a butter knife or spatula to swirl the two batters together.
Bake for 20-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cake to cool completely before icing. Spreading icing on in a thin, even layer.
Serves 16-20
Cinnamon Frosting
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp brewed coffee, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2-2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together at high speed. Gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is soft and spreadable.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crock Pot Caramel Apple Cake

Can you believe it's October?  I hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful fall season.  We've been blessed with amazing weather.  I'm hoping for a few more weeks before .....  winter!!  What else reminds you of fall?  Apples?  A couple of weeks ago Tim went with our friend the landscaper to pick apples.  Tim brought me home at least 4 dozen.

The third Monday of the month brings us Secret Recipe Club.  You can find out about this group, here!  For October SRC I was assigned Melissa's Cuisine.  A little about Melissa and her blog....

Let's start with the basics...I'm in my early 20's and I have been married to my sweet husband, Mike, since 2010.  We live in West Michigan with our adorable puppy, Champ.  We have a beautiful baby girl, Summer.  During the day, I am the office manager at a busy (and growing) counseling agency.  I spend most of my free time in the kitchen, so I've started running to avoid gaining a ton of weight from all the food I make!  So far, I've run a handful of 5k races and a half marathon.  I've recently discovered a passion for health and fitness and I love working out!  

I've only made a dessert in the slow cooker one time.  A camping weekend several years ago, I tried a chocolate cake.   It was delicious and fudgy and so easy in the slow cooker.  Tim had requested an apple crisp, busy making jam, apple butter and apple sauce with my bounty of apples, I decided to make this cake.  It's moist and delicious and quick to put together.  A perfect fall dessert.

Crock Pot Caramel Apple Cake
Recipe Courtesy of Melissa's Cuisine
1 C flour 
3/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large apples, peeled and diced
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
Caramel Topping

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

2.  Add diced apples to flour mixture and stir to coat.

3.  In a small bowl, mix eggs and vanilla.

4.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir.  

5.  Pour into a greased crock-pot.

6.  Cover and bake on high for 2 hours. 

7.  Drizzle with warmed caramel topping before serving. Serve along side whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.  

Note: This recipe is the perfect size for a small crock pot, if you're using a larger one, you may want to double the recipe.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Honey Beer Bread

On a recent trip to Minnesota, Tim picked up some local brews.  Looking for a nutty brown ale to use in a beer bread, I chose this bottle of Lost Trout from Third Street in Cold Spring, Minnesota.  Perfect to use in beer bread, this adds a delicious depth of flavor to the bread.  This bread is delicious warm, with a little honey butter.  Our favorite way to enjoy this beer bread was a grilled cheese sandwich.  As we approach winter and think about winter dinners, we'll be enjoying this with a bowl of chili or beef stew.

 Honey Beer Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
4 Tbsp. (half stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x 5x 3-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. (I recommend popping your honey in the microwave for a few seconds beforehand to make it easier to stir in!)

Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. (Use a pastry brush to spread it around if you'd like.)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve immediately.


If you're a big fan of beer-cheese bread, add a cup or so of cheddar (or your favorite cheese) into the batter to give it the queso-kick. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Parmesean Baked Potato Halves

Over the past few weeks these have become my go to potato recipe.  They're easy and delicious.  A great recipe for Sunday family night dinner or dinner guests.  Baking them side down, creates a moist delicious potato.  You can serve these with a side of ranch dressing or sour cream.  We normally enjoy them just as they are when they come out of the oven.

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves
Recipe courtesy of Favorite Family Recipes
  • 6 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • other seasonings (to personal preference)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle Parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for at least a FULL 5 minutes before removing from the pan, otherwise the Parmesan crust won't stick to the potato. Serve on a plate with a side of sour cream for dipping.