Pumpkin Applesauce Bread!

This bread is a fall staple in my house, it is made for just about any occasion and I have yet to meet someone who did not love it. But somehow I have not blogged about it or even taken a picture of it before. When I do this year, I will add a photo or two to this post.

Pumpkin Applesauce Bread

2/3 c shortening
2 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 c applesauce
1 c canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mace
2/3 c apple juice
1 c chopped nuts (I am partial to pecans in this recipe)

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs 1 at a time then add the pumpkin and applesauce.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and mace.

Add dry to wet alternating with apple juice. Then add nuts.

Grease 2 loaf pans half way up – pour half the mixture in each

Bake 350 for 55 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. Cool and then remove from pan. Wrap in wax paper and then foil on top of that. You can make more loaves if you choose a smaller size loaf pan, just adjust the time accordingly.

It’s pumpkin season!

On of my favorite co-workers has decided to leave our company and move on to bigger and better things. For me, this is a reason to bake! Her two favorite things of mine are my pot pie (recipe is here) and pumpkin (last year I made her a pumpkin applesauce bread and a pumpkin jelly roll cake, neither of which I blogged about.)

So tonight I make pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting and sugared pecans! OMG so good!








Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugared Pecans


2 2/3 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 (15 oz ) can pumpkin
1 c sugar
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 c canola/veg oil
4 large eggs

Sift flour, soda, powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt – set aside

Cream pumpkin, sugars and oil. Add eggs 1 at a time

Add dry to wet in 2 additions – mix just until combined

Use 1/4 c. cookie scoop to fill cupcake liners – it made 23 cupcakes for me. Bake 350 for 18-22 minutes

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package of cream cheese softened
3/4 c. butter soften and cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla
1/4-1/2 tsp maple flavor (the one I used is not an extract)
3 – 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Sugared Pecans

Chop a couple of handfuls of pecan halves – really fine

Put in a cold pan with 1 tbsp sugar

Heat on medium to medium high until the sugar is melted – stir constantly

Remove from heat and spread on wax paper – top with another 1 tbsp sugar and toss. Let cool.

Cool cupcakes completely, frost in whatever way you prefer (when I tried piping the frosting I didn’t have enough so I had to do half piped and pretty and half smoothed with a knife) then top with the sugared pecans. So delish!

Sweetapolita your chocolate cake kicked my butt

Tonight I was supposed to redeem the caketastrophy of eggless cupcakes from the weekend. I was determined to make Sweetapolita’s chocolate cake but I am not convinced I succeeded.

They are still flat. A little salty. But tasty. At some point I will frost them with that meringue buttercream. If they look pretty I will post. Tomorrow I am tackling coffee cake and chocolate chip cookies.

More to come!

Swiss Meringue Vanilla Bean Buttercream

I have had some epic baking failures lately and tonight’s chocolate cake was no exception. Had I remembered the eggs this post would be very different but as it stands now I have an amazing frosting with no cake to frost.

I had never made a cooked buttercream. It was easier than I expected but I think I still prefer the quick buttercream.

Swiss Vanilla Bean Buttercream

5 egg yolks
1 c plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 c butter softened and cubed
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
Pinch of salt

Clean you mixer bowl with vinegar then add the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk over a pot of simmering water until the mixture is 140 degrees.
Move the bowl to you mixer and with the whisk attachment let it mix until shiny, white and cool.
Switch to the paddle attachment and slowly add the cubes of butter. Blend until thick and smooth. The mix will appear to curdle at one point but just let it keep mixing. It took me over five minutes. Then add the pinch of salt and vanilla bean paste.
Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a few months. When ready to use just bring to room temp and whisk for a few minutes.


Nothing but the crumb..

I have tasted New York style crumb cake before but I have never really thought to make one. I am not sure I succeeded tonight but I did make one. It is hot, really hot in my kitchen, so I am not convinced that baking was the right thing to do. Now, as I sit and type this plopped precisely in front of my very pathetic in-room air conditioner smelling the tempting aroma of vanilla and cinnamon wafting this way I think I made the right decision.

The final photo will have to be added tomorrow morning, you know the one, the glamor shot of the cut cake slice. It is a tricky cake and I can’t really tell if it is fully baked so said photo might never come and you will just have to assume I failed.

Cake Batter

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (you could use milk here, I think I should have added a tbsp or two more of the buttermilk to get the right consistency)

Crumb Topping

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


1.       Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour your pan (I used an 8 inch cake round)

2.       In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3.       In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.

4.       Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside.

5.      In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.

6.      Transfer pan to oven, and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Red Velvet Logans

I had to come up with a red, white and blue something for a team potluck at work. Everyone likes when I bake so I couldn’t miss the opportunity. I pondered what to make when I decided to do a red velvet cupcake filled with homemade blueberry jam and topped with cream cheese frosting.
I had never made a red velvet anything so I asked my uber baker friend Logan if she had a favorite recipe. She obliged and that left figuring out how to make a quick jam. Apparently the addition of an acid takes a compote to jam status in just a few minutes.
The resulting cupcakes were delicious and not a single one was left at the end of the party.

Red velvet cake:
Yield: 3 cake layers or 30 cupcakes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups cake flour (you can easily make this recipe gluten free by swapping the flour for an ap gluten free flour substitute like gluten free pantry. I always add at least 1/4 tsp of xantham gum per cup of flour to help the texture)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil (swap for room temp coconut oil if that’s your thing)
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring or 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.

2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.

3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.

4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.

5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

Cupcake variation: Since this has been published, many readers have written in to express that it adapts well to cupcakes. The yield is approximately 30 cupcakes, with the liners filled only 3/4 of the way, and the baking time should be between 20 to 25 minutes, but check in on them 2/3 of the way through in case your oven gets the job done faster.

Blueberry Jam
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar plus a little more depending on the sweetness of your berries and what you like
Juice and zest of 1 small lemon

Smash the blueberries in your pot then add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil and let coo 10 to 15 minutes until thick. Then cool completely and put in the fridge.

I hallow out about two tsp of cake from each cupcake and then top with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting
8 oz cream cheese
4 Tbsp butter
1 lb powdered sugar plus probably a cup more
1 tsp vanilla

Beat this all for a good five minutes until smooth.




Snickerdoodle! Just the name sounds fun

I think there are four cookies in everyone’s arsenal of go-tos. Chocolate chip is always at the top of the list, followed by peanut butter, oatmeal and the snickerdoodle! The snickerdoodle is second on my list of faves – it is a simple cookie with only 8 ingredients (if you count the cinnamon in the topping.)

I seem to be in a timewarp lately, baking all my childhood favorites. This recipe only incredibly slightly modified comes from a cookbook called Cookies which was published in 1980! I was four years old when this book came out and for some reason my mom had two copies so when I moved out, I took one. Shhhh, don’t tell my brother.


1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon


I like to cream the sugar and butter together, then add the eggs one at a time. To keep things simple I throw in the baking soda and salt – let them mix a minute and then add the flour all at once. Don’t mix it too long, just until the flour is incorporated.

Make 1 inch balls of dough, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture place on baking sheet. Normally I line my sheets with parchment but for some reason snickerdoodles always turn out better if I line the pans with tin foil, shiny side down.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes.

Should make about 3 dozen cookies


I need a cheesecake stat!

My mom is a good craft baker, she isn’t winning any awards for original recipes but all of the recipes she used when I was growing up are solid. This one is no exception. It is easy, fast and to be honest, tastes better than most full size cheesecakes.

My high school friend, Natalie, was coming to visit from Texas. The poor girl always has to endure my posts of fresh baked goodness straight from the oven but since moving more than 2,000 miles away she has not had the opportunity to partake. I have a rule, I bake for love, but I don’t ship – you have to come to me. And she did! She was coming mid-week so I couldn’t bake an elaborate cake and cookies seemed kind of boring.

What to do, what to do? Then I remember this Speedy Cheesecake my mom used to make and that was it!

Speedy Cheesecake (origins unknown)

9″ pie dish (not deep dish)

The Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

The Filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs

The Topping (apparently I stopped taking pictures)

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspon vanilla

The Instructions

  • Mix the cracker mixture with the melted butter and sugar
  • Press along the bottom of a greased 9 inch pie plate – I use a measuring cup to help thin out the edges, nothing is worse than a corner that is too thick to cut through
  • Beat softened cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually blend in sugar, lemon juice, half of the vanilla, and salt. Add eggs, one at a time; beating well after each.
  • Pour into the graham cracker crust.
  • Bake at 325*F until the center is set, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Then the last step

  • Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, and remaining vanilla.
  • Spoon mixture on top of the warm pie
  • Bake about 10 minutes more
  • Cool to room temp and the in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

I was so tired when we finally cut into this lovely pie that I forgot to take a picture. I guess I need to make it again, just to capture that last image.

Acme Baking Company Quick and easy – the cake, not me…

My mom used to make this cake all the time when we were kids. It’s really fast and easy and you almost always have the ingredients on hand. There is no greasing/flouring of pans, just make the batter and bake it off!

The base is a sour cream coffee cake batter with cinnamon added. The chocolate chips and sugar on top really make this a delicious treat.

Chocolate Chip Bit Cake

Cream together:
6 Tbsp soft butter
1 c. Sugar
2 Eggs
then add 1 c. sour cream

Whisk together:
1 1/3 c. Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture. Pour into 9×13 baking dish (no need to butter or flour the dish).

Top the batter with 6 oz of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate – typically I use semi-sweet but it is equally delish with a good dark chocolate. The sprinkle the top with a couple Tbsp of granulated sugar.

Bake 30-35 minute at 350. Cool completely and enjoy! Don’t overbake or it will be dry and who wants a dry cake?

The cake will rise just slightly so you can use the disposable 9×13 pans that are only a little over an inch in depth.

Everyone who has ever had this has loved it! It was my great uncle’s favorite cake – good thing we never told him there was sour cream in there, he HATED sour cream.

Magnolia Bakery in my very own kitchen

>Oscar Sunday was last week and I opted to bake my contribution to the party. I knew I wanted to do cupcakes but what to do what to do!

Enter the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook that has been on my shelves for years and never used. The decision. Lemon Cupcakes and Chocolate cupcakes. I thought I was going to do cream cheese frosting on both but it just didn’t taste right on the lemon so I whooped up the lemon with a lemon curd filling (from the book) and a lemon buttercream frosting.

The lemon curd was to die for so that is the recipe I am going to post. To fill cupcakes I used some weird tool in my kitchen that was for juicing lemons. I think there is a tool made specifically for this task so I might have to buy one because the idea of filled cupcakes is a winner in my book.

Lemon Curd
6 egg yolks at room temp
1 1/2 Tbsp grate lemon zest
1/2 c. lemon juice (freshly squeezed of course)
1/4 tsp lemon extract (this really added a nice balance)
3/4 c. sugar
cook all of that for about 20 minutes (stirring constantly) over medium heat. It will get thick and bubbly (you’ll think it is thick enough earlier but just keep going for about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and add 1 c. of cold butter cut in small pieces one piece at a time and stir until each piece is incorporated.

Place in a heat proof container and chill until firm (the recipe calls for overnight, but I only had a couple of hours)

I made about a dozen cupcakes and I only needed about half of the mixture to fill them. The rest was consumed on toast, biscuits, pancakes..you name it!