Apple Spice Cake with an Adventure in Apple Flour

So I have not blogged anything in a really long time. I have a surface pro tablet and broke my keyboard and have not been blogging since. But since breaking my keyboard I have become more fluent with my on screen keyboard typing..its very awkward and odd but I am trying to get used to it. I am trying to stay ergonomic with it, and not finger type, but its still really slow and not effective.

But I am going to blog for the sake of blogging anyways. Just to be fresh, just to let you know what my favorite holiday recipe is so far. Because its so versatile and yummy. I have so far tried it with a few variables and yesterday even gluten free, and it still worked out fine.

The original recipe is a food network sponsored ‘giada’ recipe, here is the link for it.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spiced-apple-walnut-cake-with-cream-cheese-icing-recipe.html

I was sitting at home bored one day, and turned the food network on and it was Giada’s holiday special for thanksgiving; I had to watch it for the cake she showed in the previews, looked and sounded divine.

Apple spice walnut cake, I mean just the first 2 adjectives got me. I love spicing my apples and I always seem to have a ungodly amount of them so, I knew upon hearing its title, that I had to see it made and see how easy it was to execute.

I had to wait a minute for the cake part of the show, but finally she was making the cake. She was chopping some apples from the transition from commercial and had a good bowl full of them, when she added the wet ingredients one by one. Maple syrup, eggs, oil, wait I have all these things, like all the time too. It was getting me excited. She put the ‘wet’ bowl aside and made a ‘dry’ bowl of flour, baking soda, baking powder and a nice splash of my favorite spices; cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The pure simpleness of this recipe and the fact that it did not use butter, got me hooked.

Then she grabbed the wet bowl and ‘Gradually’ added the dry mix into it. If there is two things you really learn the definition of while baking its “gradually” and “patience.” If you add your dry too fast you can get lumps. I have learned the term gradually whilst baking many things; meringue, you cannot add the sugar too fast or you can deflate the peaks of the egg whites.

Anyways seeing her create the cake so easily, in only 2 bowls with just a wooden spoon to mix, well that made me try making it later that day.

I made that cake so fast and so easy, even subbing a few things; like not having a bundt pan for one, but for 2, I only had generic maple not organic. I mean maple flavored corn syrup, so instead of the called for 1 ½ cups I used less than a cup of maple syrup, just for the flavor. I also did not have walnuts, so my recipe was without them. Also I almost forgot, I subbed some applesauce for oil, I hate using a lot of oil.

The first time that I made the cake I used all fuji apples. Everyone loved the cake so much that I was more then impressed. I prematurely cut into one cake and iced each slice with swirls and then iced the other one with one large swirl.

Here is a picture of the first attempt. It made two rounds which I iced with buttercream icing homemade.

my creations
my creations
glamour shot by my husband
glamour shot by my husband

Upon trying this loverly creation of mines, I realized that apples were not the only fruit that melded well with this spice mix, so the next attempt at this recipe for cake I used zuchinni and raisins instead of apples and walnuts. That one, was an even better hit I believe and I had way more taste testers who all loved it a lot.

Here is the best picture of the zuchinni version of this cake.

zuchinni version
zuchinni version

Also yesterday, I made the most inventive version of this cake recipe that I have tried thus far, and the picture will not do it justice, so I must indulge. I made this cake recipe gluten free. I had some oatmeal on hand from the food bank and some dehydrated granny smith apples.

Don’t ask me how but my first and foremost thought getting dehydrated apples is making them into apple flour. I know I am a little crazy. But I have been researching flavoring baked goods with fruit powder and finally I had the opportunity to make some. I have been looking for some cheap freeze dried fruit to do this with food stamps, but running into this bag of dried apple chips at the food bank was the next best thing.

So I did what any good mom would do and saved 4 snack bags of apple chips for the boy…then I pulsed the rest. I made about a cup of very fine and sour tasting pure granny smith apple flour, I was very pleased with myself. Then I figured I would stay gluten free and pulse some oats for some oat flour as a base and bake with the apple flour as a flavor and a binder. I added the usual apple cake ingredients but used the gluten free apple and oat flour and even chopped up a whole bunch of mini golden delicious apples from the food bank as well. Actually I added too much apple this time, and I cut the oil by using ½ a cup of applesauce. The cake still comes out very moist.

Here is a picture of that attempt. Very moist, very interesting medley of flavors, you can taste the spice blend, you can taste the granny smith, you can taste a hint of maple, and certainly you get a mouthful of apple chunks.

apple flour cake
apple flour cake

Conclusion is I love this apple cake recipe and I will be making fruit powder aka dried fruit flour again asap!!

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9/14/15 Pigs in a Blanket

9/14/15 Piggies in Blankets.

Last night I made breakfast for dinner. I made pancakes and sausage ie pigs in a blanket and eggs and a homemade potato-onion hash with scrambled eggs.

I had to figure out something easy because I forgot to take out a bigger cut of meat for dinner early to defrost from the freezer. I have to use the smaller portioned out packages of meat that I portion for the month of ground sausage and ground beef, for last night I took out a portion of already seasoned ground pork. It is seasoned by our local butcher with country seasonings that are perfect for breakfast, anyone who is a local who does not own their own pigs around here, gets that ground ‘country sausage’ for breakfast.

We were actually introduced to our local butcher by our previous landord who has lived here all her life and after cooking that country sausage for breakfast for us for a few sundays when we lived there, I was hooked. I make sure to buy at least 2 packages of it a month and portion it out to about 5-6 little bags, so I can pull one out the night before I want to make a great breakfast and leave it in the fridge to defrost overnight, or it’s really easy to defrost on the counter when we are waiting to have breakfast for dinner.

This time that I used the breakfast sausage I actually made it into links. I have never done this before, normally I make small patties and grill them on the stove top, or make ground sausage with it for sausage gravy. But I formed little links this time, about 4 inches each and an inch round. I first got them grilled really good on the outside, their own grease made them grill real well. Then I lowered the heat and covered the pan to ensure that the insides of the links would be cooked. I let them cook for a while I made the pancakes.

For the pancakes, my husband say’s I fooled him with buttermilk mix, and I did. I had a cup or so of buttermilk pancake mix left from a food bank box and I made pancakes with it, silver dollar style to fit a link each. I do not normally ever have buttermilk anything in the house, and my husband has declared to me before that he does not like buttermilk, so I was risking it. I made 6 pancakes with the cup of mix I had and by the time the pancakes were done the sausages were cooked inside thoroughly. I grilled them a little bit longer to get a better crisp on the outside of them and set them little piggies aside for assembling plates in a minute.

Then I made the potato-onion hash. I used leftover caramelized onions and candied bacon and 2 food bank small red potatoes diced really thin. I am getting to get better at slicing and dicing and its all self-taught. I am quite proud of the size of the potato pieces in this hash I made, and also I cut a half an onion into the hash. I made it in a cast iron. I only have cast iron skillets in fact, I made the pancakes in cast iron also with a little bit of oil. I added a little bit of salt and pepper and veggie oil to the hash and I cooked and even steamed it a bit to make the potatoes cook faster. I ended up with such a yummy hash that even daddy ate all of what I served him and for me that is an accomplishment. If I make anything too oily he cannot eat it and I thought it was borderline too oily, but he cleared his plate last night.

I also took 2 eggs and some milk and made some scrambled eggs on the side. It was a pretty elaborate BFD aka breakfast for dinner, I have been known to just serve waffles and sausage pattys before, so I am glad I spent more time with the components of breakfast last night. It was pretty good. I think I will be making those sausage links again.

I assembled the plates with piggies on blankets drizzled in 100% organic maple syrup, a side of hash, and some scrambled eggs for everyone. And everyone ate everything. In fact Eli was pretty happy to have pigs in a blanket for dinner.

Unfortunately I also broke my phone aka my camera yesterday, so I was unable to take a pic of dinner. But it was good and I will be sure to make it again and get glamour piggy shots.

Tooting my own horn….

These horns were made for tooting..

Today I joined the Blogging U. I have been on a #blogadaychallenge with myself for the last 85 days, I had a 90 day minimum day for my challenge, and I am approaching it and I do not want to stop blogging each and every day.

Today’s #dailypost topic is tooting your own horn confidently and assertively.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/these-horns-were-made-for-tooting/

So the only thing I can think of is writing a poem.

Some things you may not know about me are;

that although self teaching myself how to cook farm fresh has taken me far,

that is barely the tip of the iceburg that is me.

In fact its only a part of what I happen to be.

I am also a Ion Drum Rocker, a mother and a caregiver,

I am a self made entrepreneur and artist,

A home maker, a blogger, a poet,

a teacher, a guide, a business student.

I am a whole lot of things but most of all

I am Boho MOM!

http://momsorganicbohofoodfun.com/2015/05/17/i-am-bohemian-mom/

8/28/15 Baking to Save my Sanity

Yesterday I baked a whole lot, and made a Taco dinner. I just had a relentless baking bug and picking the boy up from his second week of school was like tapping a baking race bell. I raced home to bake intentionally all weekend. I have been so darn tired since Eli started kindergarten that I have not baked but 1 thing all week, the pumpkin muffins. And even though our apartment fell apart around me, I was surprised that those were all that I had baked all week. I felt drained from the second week School and relieved that it was finally Friday so that I could not be on a schedule. I am not even sure how I managed to bake so much so tired; I slept like a baby though without herbs and even woke up tired, but at least I woke up to fresh made baked bread to reheat.

Unfortunately I used all my bread flour last night, aka Friday, the first night of my 2 ½ day school day vacation aka ‘the weekend’. I felt like their was nothing I couldn’t bake, even though I am still learning. My confidence was up a little since my sourdough starter was doing great and I had just been able to retire it to the fridge for weekly bread making instead of daily. I was making bread every day for a week while I started the starter.

So time to make bread for the weekly ‘discard and replace’ part of having a fridge sourdough starter ‘pet’, I actually took 2 cups out in recommendation of my landlord who does the same thing at home with his sourdough ‘pet’. I put a cup into 2 small mixing bowls. I activated each bowl with some brown and white sugar and some 100-110 degree water. Never any hotter then that, and I use a laser thermometer to be precise. I do not want to kill my starter babies. I replaced a cup from each one back into my ‘pet’ in the fridge after they bubbled up good. I had it in the fridge for a while my ‘pet’ and it did not bubble well. I was scared I did something wrong, so I consulted a baking book I just found in my room.

I said just found in my room, because I honestly forgot that I had this book, free from the food bank. I grabbed it and never read it and put it away and now I am so glad that I did keep it. Its called “Adventures in Sourdough” by Charles D. Wilford, from the 1970’s. Part of my instinct I guess to stock up on all the relevant 1970 recipe books. I do have quite a collection that I cannot part with for the life of me.

Anyways the book said when you replace the sourdough aka pet with discard from the babies of your pet, that you leave it out for a few hours before you put it back into the fridge, so I did that and I got the results I needed. In fact, I kept it out the whole time that I bake all day, and tried to joke with my husband last night after baking and said “ Ain’t nothing to rejuvenate your starter like baking all day.” it had like doubled on my by the time I put it away. I was happy.

I decided to make 2 different kinds of dough. Last time I made bread I made it really dark, with 2 cups of whole wheat flour in the dough along with 4 ½ cups of white. It turned out really dark and really hearty and although I loved it, the boys prefer a more whiter sandwich bread.. aka, more blonde bread flour. So I played with the ratios,for one of the doughs I started with 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour and the rest of the ratio used white flour. For the second dough I added more whole wheat about 1 cup, maybe a table spoon or two more was added when I rolled this dough out also, so it turned out heartier and darker then the first one, but not as dark and hearty as the last time that I baked.

my autolyse step
my autolyse step

For the process of my bread yesterday I tried to Autolyse, but I think I added ½ cup too much water to that process, both of my doughs were ok in this part, then I added the yeast starters to each one and they were way way too wet. I thought I could work with it. I certainly tried my best, but ultimately I know that I added too much water in the Autolyse step.

But I worked with it anyways, I added way way more flour to both of them after realizing my mistake and eventually got them out of the mixing bowls and into a proofing bowl each. One distinctively being darker then the other, but not too dark. I tried to let them bulk proof at room temperature in the kitchen for 2 hours then I gave up because they were just not rising in my house and shaped them.

I rolled half of the darker one into balls and placed into oiled muffin tins, I did the same with the other dough, I wanted to try dinner-yeast muffin topped rolls with them both. I then shaped the rest of the dark loaf into a ball and put it into a cookie sheet to make into a round loaf. I put the rest of the whiter dough into a loaf pan and left it out to rise. I put the yeast rolls in the muffin tins and the round loaf into the oven at about 200 to rise for an hour, then I baked them all at about 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I thought the muffins turned out great and I ate a few. My husband can tell that the dough is wet with every bite of yesterdays bread, it sucks. I need to measure more. I get confidence and think that I can bake anything without measuring much and sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometime it does.

I did end up cooking the last loaf the one I placed in the loaf pan ,after rising it for a long while on the oven while I was cooking the other bread. Unfortunately the pictures look great but once I took it out of the loaf pan, it was the wettest of all, and this morning I had to cut the wet bottom off and throw it away. I am so mad about that, but I have to be honest with ya’ll. I made a mistake, I did not measure my water yesterday and it killed me, precision is key in bread making. I tried making the boys pizza bread with the round loaf for lunch today and the wet bread killed the whole experience. I was stupid to even try and serve it, but I thought some time under the broiler with yummy toppings would revive the bread. Not so much.

The rolls I am still gunna eat, so that’s the problem here. I do not understand why the rolls are edible yet the loafs are not.. I am confused and now I have a whole lot of wet bread to deal with. But that was not the only things I baked yesterday. I decided to make some cake also, and I burnt that too, which made me even more mad and being tired I just must have not been thinking.

muffins and cake
muffins and cake

I made a “mystery box” cake out of the following ingredients; some buttermilk pancake box mix, baking soda, brown sugar, already made homemade jar of strawberry butter cream frosting (cause I was out of butter), 2 eggs, and some veggie oil and some vanilla extract.

The fact that I even produced an edible strawberry flavored cake is a miracle in my mind. I mixed the dry first and then mixed the egg yolks with the sugar and added the butter cream to that. I mixed the wet and dry together well then folded in the egg whites for a better shaped cake. It almost worked. I accidentally put it into the oven too hot, the top cooked perfect even poofed on me nice but the inside was not all done. I had to put it back into the oven at a lower temperature for a long time for it to cook inside and then the top deflated on me. I was upset, but after a while it was baked enough. I took it out to cool and it popped right out of the cake pan upside down on the cooling rack, it surprisingly looked and smelled really good. I was relieved but mad about how dark it got and the top deflating on me. But upside down it looked pretty good.

When I cut into it, the caramelized sides and corners were yummy and the inside was fluffy cake like, almost sponge cake but not enough eggs for that, and you can really taste the strawberry frosting that I used in the batter. I am happy because I made that frosting myself, and it needed to be used in something. Surprisingly we are still eating pieces of the cake the next morning, that cake was a better hit than most of the homemade bread I made yesterday. Funny how life works like that, you put all your efforts into one thing and then do something on the side that turns out better.

Hope you enjoyed another day in the boho kitchen, hey at least I tried baking something. The boys and I cleaned the house this morning really good and I almost feel the baking bug coming back again, and its not even Saturday night yet. That’s what I get for being a bakaholic I guess.

Here are the pictures from the baking day..

rolls I made
rolls I made
my round loaf
my round loaf
side view of rolls
side view of rolls
yeast roll blonder muffins
yeast roll blonder muffins
darker whole wheat round
darker whole wheat round
large loaf and muffins
large loaf and muffins
cake cut and round and muffins
cake cut and round and muffins
everything I baked yesterday
everything I baked yesterday
homemade pizza bread from my round loaf
homemade pizza bread from my round loaf
pizza bread from homemade bread
pizza bread from homemade bread