Thursday, October 27, 2011

Triple Berry Applesauce

What?!  A non-cupcake post...Shocking!  Well, it's about time I posted this amazing Triple Berry applesauce recipe. I made it using locally grown apples from Applewood Orchard.  Applewood had a smaller harvest this year because those pesky little bees didn't pollinate like they should have in the Spring.  Apparantly, it was too cold and those little stinkers didn't want to do their thing.  Oh well, I did get some of the infamous Honeycrisp apples as well as several Fireside apples.  I wanted to reserve the Honeycrisps for eating, because they're just too good to mix with anything else.  Plus, the Firesides turned out to be the perfect blend of tart and sweet for this applesauce. 
I did add some sugar to this recipe, but you certainly wouldn't have to.  It's weird, because when I buy applesauce at the store, I always get the natural/no sugar stuff, but when I make it, I feel like I can be a rebel or something.
Making your own applesauce may seem daunting, but in all honesty, it's really, really easy.  All you need are apples, frozen berries, sugar, water, and a little lemon juice.  The hardest part is peeling, coring, and chopping the apples, the rest of it is easy peasy.

Triple Berry Applesauce
by me and only me.  :)

8 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tblsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low/medium low and let the mixture simmer until the apples and berries are soft, about 30-40 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Once the apple/berry mixture is soft, remove pot from heat and mash with a potato masher.  Let cool. Then, process in a food processor/blender until desired consistency is reached, about 30 seconds. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cupcakes Part 3-Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Beautiful twirl of frosting
Wow, I'm really getting serious.  A third post on cupcakes.  Unbelievable.  I wasn't kidding when I said I loved making them.  Well, this cupcake is just begging to be made during the Fall season.  It's down on it's hands and knees...begging.  You can't say no, it wouldn't be nice.
The cake recipe is from another vintage cookbook, All About Home Baking.  I will say, these turned out a bit dry, but it's because I was naughty and didn't sift the flour and then measure it.  I hastly dunked my measuring cup in the cake flour box.  Not.a.good.idea.  Please be sure to sift the flour, then scoop the flour with a spoon into your measuring cup and then level with a knife.  That should take care it. 

The blend of spices gives the cake several layers of flavor and an amazing aftertaste.  Strange, but true.  I  added about a 1/2 tsp of ginger for a bit of a punch.  And, the molasses gives depth and richness to the flavor of the cake.  Oh, and I added some walnuts...just for the Self-Professed Nerd.

Yumminess on the inside

Spice Cake
Adapted from All About Home Baking 1933
Yield: 24-30 cupcakes

4 1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened, or shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk (or even better, buttermilk)
3 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat ove to 375 degrees.  Grease muffin pans or line with paper liners.
Sift flour, then measure and pour into a medium bowl.  Add baking powder and salt to flour.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter thouroughly, add sugar gradually and cream together until light and fluffy.  Then add eggs and mix well.  Add flour mixture, alternately with the milk, a small amount at a time.  Beat after each addition until smooth.  Add vanilla, molasses, spices, and walnuts.  Mix until incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared cupcake pans, fill about 2/3rds full.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or unitl a toothpick comes out clean.

I must love Martha's Vanilla Frosting recipe, because I've used it several times.  I'd say it's more of a cream cheese frosting than vanilla, but so what, who cares (in my best Joy Behar voice). 

Vanilla Frosting (Martha Stewart)

This is the original recipe, doubled:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
8 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl; beat until well combined.