Today has been so long already... and it's only four o'clock! I bottled wine all morning and into the afternoon (handled just over 1,500 bottles), and am exhausted... but instead of napping, I'm blogging!
For week two's project, I decided to bake. One of my facebook friends had posted a pic of a cake they made and I instantly started drooling. Therefore, I had to attempt to make it. The recipe is for a Caramel Apple Cake and it is soooooooo good. Well, at least the cake part is. I successfully failed on the frosting aspect of the recipe and had to improv with another frosting recipe because I had run out of sugar. So instead of a silky caramel buttercream, there's a caramel frosting that has the grit powdered sugar gives to frostings. I'm just not a fan. Thankfully, my boyfriend is making a run to the store to get me more sugar so I can attempt the caramel buttercream once more. This time I'll add the caramel to the mixing bowl instead of a hot pan so as to not burn it to a crisp. Anyways, the cake is AMAZING! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes apples. Really, it doesn't even need a frosting. So good... here's the recipe:
For the apple cake
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups homemade applesauce or 4 cups store-bought unsweetened applesauce
For the caramel buttercream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons classic caramel (recipe follows)
- 1/3 cup caramel
- 1For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour. The cake is very moist, so not using parchment paper will results in pieces of the bottom sticking to the pan.
- 2Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl. Set aside.
- 3In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.
- 4Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
- 5Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.
- 6For the caramel buttercream: In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- 7Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
8Add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Here's a picture of how mine turned out:
Unfortunately, I was too lazy to cut the parchment paper to the size of the pans and suffered the consequences. My cake collapsed on one side... but it will still taste delicious! And that's what really matters, right? Right!
After finishing my baking adventure (and it was an adventure), I put together a small stationary set to give as my second homemade gift for the year. I'm also going to make some flower pens to go with it. I love these little cards and am kind of sad to see them go... but it makes me excited to create more.
I'm an avid scrapbooker, and hate the idea of throwing out beautiful paper, so I have these ziplocks FULL of scrap paper and they're perfect for making cards. Now, what I do every time I make a scrapbook page is create at least one card using the leftover pieces of cardstock and embellishments. It's a great way for me to minimize my paper collection without throwing away everything.
It wasn't until after I had completed these cards that I realized my envelope stash is running low, so the cards don't necessarily fit snugly into their paired envelopes, but I guess that adds to their homemade character.
Alright, time to get back to laundry, cooking, and all sorts of domestic things so I won't have to worry about them during the week. I like this blogging thing, it gives me an excuse to take a break from all the stuff I do. Today has been so long already... and it's only four o'clock! I bottled wine all morning and into the afternoon (handled just over 1,500 bottles), and am exhausted... tonight is dinner with some friends and devouring of that deeeelicious cake! Check back later in the week for the instructions on how to make flower pens! =)