Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


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French Apple Cake

With the craziness of the holidays upon us, now is the time to indulge in this delightfully unique French Apple Cake.

French Apple Cake

This is the time of year when friends and family come together to enjoy good food, create new or carry on old traditions and make wonderful memories. So, then why does it feel like the stars are out of alignment or that there is a constant full moon shining down making everything and everyone just a bit out-of-control? I’m not sure, but I just keep telling myself to breathe!

What about for you? Do your days seem to be filled with craziness? Moreover, do the people around you seem to be particularly insane? Well, for your sake, I hope not. Nevertheless, the holidays seem to bring a whole new level of stress into our lives. Mine included. We all go a little nuts with intense meal planning and preparation, non-stop house cleaning, massive shopping; not to mention fierce work schedules and juggling school vacations all while trying to stay rested and positive.

So, if you are feeling the pressures of the holidays, do yourself a favor — take a break from the insanity and whip up this simple and succulent French Apple Cake. One thing for sure, the French got it right with this cake.

And if you are wondering why I am making a cake during pie season — simple, I like cake better!

For this amazingly sane cake, you start with a bunch of your favorite apples; you can combine any type you like. I opted for Granny Smith, as I wanted a result that had that unforgettable tart and sweet combination. Then you mix together the simplest of ingredients, probably items you have on hand – flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, eggs and butter.

And voila — the outcome is pure delight! Tart apples engulfed in a not-too-sweet fluffy, buttery cake – true French cooking right out of your own oven. Just the smell of this cake baking will instantly put you in a good mood and the incredible flavor will make you forget all the craziness! In my book, it’s a perfect cake to serve up to your friends, family and relatives during the holidays. It’s easy to make, beautifully tasty, and everyone will be talking how exceptional it is!

French Apple Cake

 French Apple Cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large granny smith apples, pealed, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8-inch springform form pan and set it on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

To a medium bowl, add the eggs and beat with a whisk until foamy. Add the sugar and whisk to combine then whisk in the vanilla.

Add half the flour mixture to the egg mixture. When combined add half the cooled butter and mix until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and butter. As a note, the batter will be thick.

Gently fold in the apples into the batter so they are fully coated. Then pour into your prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Then run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake, gently release the springform (to ensure that no apples are stuck to the pan), and remove. Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. Take care in removing the bottom of the springform pan too and transfer cake to a serving plate.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Great served warm or at room temperature.

French Apple Cake

Get ready to create some sweet memories with this French Apple Cake and enjoy the season of holidays!

Bon appétit!

Sheila

 

{recipe adapted from Epicurious}


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2 Ingredient Roasted Red Potatoes

Butter + potatoes = pure heaven! If you love potatoes like I do, then you have got to try these super easy 2 Ingredient Roasted Red Potatoes! Get ready to let these show-stopper potatoes become the star of your meal!

2 Ingredient Roasted Red Potatoes

And if you’re short on time like me these days, this post will be quick and easy — just like the recipe!

These 2 ingredient Roasted Red Potatoes are hands down the easiest potato recipe I make — and the outcome is melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness! After you try these addictive morsels, hopefully they’ll become an all-time favorite of yours too! The warm and creamy inside of these little red gems that have a bit of crunch from the butter crisped skin, will make your taste buds soar directly to cloud nine!

You’ll use two of my favorite ingredients – butter and potatoes (yes, I know not chocolate and toffee — LOL) throw them in the oven and forget them until they are done. Definitely a great side dish to whip up when you’re hustling about preparing an involved holiday production in the kitchen! Your home will be filled with a warm, rich aroma of the two comforting ingredients melding together. Ahhh…you can’t go wrong with this fool-proof recipe!

2 Ingredient Roasted Red Potatoes
(aka Sheila’s Potatoes, recipe adapted from my husband)

2 lbs. small red potatoes
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry red potatoes. Put potatoes in a 13×9-inch baking dish, make sure you just have one layer of the potatoes. Cut butter into 1/2 inch slices and place over the top of the potatoes. Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until cooked through (tested by fork) and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Now how easy was that?? Impress your friends and family with these truly tasty 2 Ingredient Roasted Red Potatoes; super easy, super scrumptious! And in my book these warm and buttery bites are the perfect paring for any casual dinner or fancy entertaining — and great to make as part of your holiday feast!

Sheila


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Brownie Pudding {with a hint of orange}

Now these are brownies at their best! This decadent Brownie Pudding falls somewhere between a rich cake-like brownie and a smooth chocolate pudding flavored with a hint of orange. Simply irresistible!

Brownie Pudding

This chocolaty-orange goodness takes traditional brownies to a whole new level. Soft and gooey on the inside with a firm crust on the top. Just the way I like them!

And one thing is for certain, this Brownie Pudding is super simple to make and will immediately turn any ordinary day into a magnificent one. One bite of this warm (yes, it’s so good warm) delightful symphony of chocolate and orange will have you hooked!

So, if you love brownies like I do, then you have got to try this recipe. I stumbled across it when I was flipping through the pages of Ina Garten’s Back to Basics cookbook. I was instantly intrigued by simplicity and texture, and knew I had to give it a try.

The Barefoot Contessa is one of my all-time favorite chefs. Back in the day, I used to watch her on the Food Network. She makes things so effortlessly and elegant – her food always looks stunning. Ok, I know a lot of it is food styling, but I have four of her cookbooks, and every recipe I make (which over the years has been quite a few), always comes out perfectly.

Don’t know what it is about the Contessa…but I love how she combines flavors and plates up her deliciously appealing recipes. And for some reason, from the moment I scanned over the ingredients for this mouth-watering recipe, I knew I wanted to change it up a bit. To me, it was screaming “orange”. So that is exactly what I did. I added some orange extract to the batter. And let me tell you. It was divine. The orange really brings out the rich chocolate flavor.

Now my family is not big on mixing chocolate with any type of fruit flavoring. But me on the other hand, I love the combination of rich dark chocolate combined with the essence of citrusy orange. And even better, more for me if they don’t like it!

Brownie Pudding

Brownie Pudding {with a hint of orange}

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon orange extract

Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9×12-inch) oval baking dish and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and light yellow.

Then, in a medium bowl, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, turn your mixer to low and add the orange extract and the cocoa and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. Then slowly pour in your cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Then place it in a larger baking pan and add hot tap water to the pan (enough to come halfway up the side of the dish). Bake for exactly 1 hour. To test the brownie, insert a toothpick 2 inches from the side — this should come out about 3/4 clean. As a note, the center will appear very under-baked, and be cautious not to over bake to ensure the brownie pudding texture result.

Allow to cool and serve with ice cream, freshly whipped cream or sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Brownie Pudding

Get your spoon ready to dig into this Brownie Pudding and serve up a helping or two of deliciousness!

Sheila

 

{recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa; Back to Basics, Ina Garten}


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Ghoulish Sour Appletini

Pucker up for Halloween with this Ghoulish Sour Appletini! This is defiantly an adult drink, don’t let the green color fool ya! My son saw this and his eyes lit up, sorry kiddo, this one is not for you!

Ghoulish Sour Appletini

If you are staying home for Halloween, either passing out the candy or having a party — treat yourself and your guests to this tart cocktail that will definitely light up your night!

At my home, my hubby passes out the candy and I always dress up and take my son out. Well, don’t think that will be happening this year, as now my son is sick. Thanks to receiving the flu shot on Monday! Poor kiddo! He was even planning a party that he had to cancel yesterday! So BOO on that!

It will probably be a quiet night for us. Our neighborhood is scarier than most, as we don’t have street lights so that sometimes means that not a lot of trick or treaters come by and ring the bell. And that being said, forecast is slated for heavy rain just around the darkening hour!

Not to fret, well be bundled up enjoying all the party food that I already bought. Can’t wait!!! And with a few sips of this green and good libation I’m sure I’ll see my fair share of ghosts, goblins, witches, mummies, zombies, and maybe even a princess or two throughout the night!

Ghoulish Sour Appletini

1 oz DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps
1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Sweet and Sour mix

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Pour into a martini style glass and enjoy!

“When witches go riding & black cats are seen, the moon laughs & whispers, ‘tis near Halloween!” ~ Anonymous

Happy Halloween to all!

Sheila

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