Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…

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Cable Car Cocktail

During this thankful this season — I raise a glass of this sensational Cable Car Cocktail and toast all of you!

Cable Car Cocktail

Hopefully, as the unique flavor combination of rum, orange and cinnamon slides over your taste buds, warm and wonderful memories will fill your head with overwhelming happy times with friends and family.

Because, for me it does. Really, once my lips dip into this delightful drink my thoughts take me directly back to that beautiful City by the Bay where this incredible libation was created. I can hear the familiar sounds…clang, clang, clang of the old trolley cars as they rattle along the tracks and the seagulls cry as they soar over the beaches.

I love these sounds as they are from one of my favorite places, San Francisco of course! And this sophisticated Cable Car Cocktail will make you want to take a little trip to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and create all new memories!

You see I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area about 20 miles south of the city. Both of my parents were born in San Francisco and our family would spend many a holiday in the beautiful, diverse and exciting city.

When I was young, my mom would take my brothers and me to San Francisco every summer. We played tourist and visited every fun and interesting location each year over and over again. I never got tired of this ritual. And over the years it provided me with not only great learning experiences, but unforgettable family bonding.

As I got older, I would visit the City often for delicious dinners, incredible drinks, unending entertainment, great concerts, fascinating museum exhibits, magical weddings, and of course romantic dates!

Even though I am now only a few hours away from this great place, it seems like a lifetime. I hope to visit this special city soon with my little family and continue making lasting memories.

Cable Car Cocktail

Cable Car Cocktail
(recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2003)

Serves 2

1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 orange wedge

1 cup ice cubes
5 tablespoons spiced rum
2 tablespoons simple syrup
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons Orange Curacao
2 orange peel twists, for garnish

Place martini style glasses in freezer to chill. Stir sugar and cinnamon together on a small plate to blend. Rub the rims of the chilled glasses with the orange wedge. Dip the rims into cinnamon sugar mixture to coat lightly.

Combine ice, rum, orange juice, Curacao, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Shake mixture until cocktail shaker becomes frosty. Strain mixture into prepared glasses. Garnish with orange peel twists and serve.

So to all of my friends, family, followers and fellow bloggers — thank you for being in my life and for being loving and supportive.

I now celebrate you with this refreshing and memorable Cable Car Cocktail.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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!



{recipe adapted from Epicurious}


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!



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!



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


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