My adaptation of the Caramel Apple Poke Cake

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I tried making this Caramel Apple Poke Cake  from Delish.com (a recipe by Lindsay Funston). It was definitely delish!

According to Delish.com, here are the ingredients that this recipe requires:

2 tbsp. butter, plus more for pan
All-purpose flour, for pan
1 box spice cake mix, plus ingredients needed for batter
5 Granny Smith apples, finely chopped (peeled if desired)
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/4 c. jarred caramel, plus more for drizzling

FOR THE FROSTING
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 tbsp. butter, softened
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

My dilemma? I couldn’t find spice cake. My other dilemma? I didn’t want to make the frosting from scratch. So I bought a yellow cake mix, added some spices to make it a spice cake and I bought ready made cream cheese frosting.

So here is my adapted list of ingredients for the caramel apple poke cake that I made:

CARAMEL APPLE POKE CAKE- Sweet Monday style

1 box of yellow cake mix, plus ingredients needed for batter (which in my case was 3 eggs, water and vegetable oil)
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp. of ground ginger
1/4 tsp. of ground cloves
1 tsp. of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
one jar of Smucker’s caramel flavored topping (12.25 oz.)

-Butter a 9-x-13″ baking pan or dish.
-Mix the yellow cake mix, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg together.
-Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions (i.e. add eggs, water and oil) and pour into the prepared pan. Bake according to package directions. Let cool, about 20 minutes.
-Prepare the apple layer: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the brown sugar and white sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and stir until combined. Add the corn starch and lemon juice and stir until combined. Remove from heat.
-When cake is cooled, poke holes using a thick straw or the end of a wooden spoon, all over the cake.
-Pour the caramel all over the cake, especially over the poked holes.
-Spread the apple mixture on top.
-Spread the cream cheese frosting over apple layer.
-Dust the top of the cake with cinnamon.

I have a great idea on how to adapt this recipe into cupcakes. After the cupcake has cooled,  poke one big hole in each cupcake and fill it with caramel. Instead of spreading a layer of apples and then spreading the cream cheese frosting on top of that, mix the apple mixture and cream cheese frosting together to make it an apple pie cream cheese frosting. Sounds pretty good, right?!

I must admit that I was a little hesitant about this recipe. It sounded like it would be too sweet with all the spices, the caramel, the cream cheese frosting and the sweet apples. But actually, it was the perfect combination together. The spices blended well together with all of the other ingredients and it was the perfect amount of sweetness. It reminded me of an apple pie with caramel on top.

 

White Chocolate Cupcakes

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Here is a recipe for white chocolate cupcakes that I have tried and resulted in delicious cupcakes. I used a cupcake recipe which includes sour cream. Sour cream results in cupcakes that are light in texture and most importantly, moist. To make this a white chocolate cupcake, I added white chocolate chips in the cupcake batter. So delicious. I added 1/2 cup of melted white chocolate in the frosting. However,  keep in mind that the white chocolate might make the frosting a bit stiff. Making sure to fold in the melted white chocolate will help. Also adding a little bit of milk to the frosting if it becomes stiff will also help.

So let’s get started!

Here are the ingredients that you will need:

3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Eggs
1 3/4 Cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. I made mini cupcakes and this batch makes approximately 48 mini cupcakes.

Cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy.
Add in the eggs and mix until well combined.
Add the vanilla and mix.
Add the flour, salt and baking powder.
Add one cup of sour cream and mix.
Fold in the white chocolate chips.
Fill each mini cupcake liner about ¾ full with batter.
Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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To make the white chocolate frosting, you will need:

1 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of melted white chocolate chips

Beat the butter for at least one minute.
Add vanilla extract and beat for another minute.
Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, while beating.
Fold in the melted white chocolate. Add a little milk if the frosting ends up a little stiff.
Place in piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes.

A delicious and heavenly white chocolate cupcake display.

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I am happy and grateful for birthday celebrations.

White Wedding Cupcakes

These White Wedding cupcakes are so delicious! So moist and so smooth. I found the recipe for these white wedding cupcakes on Recipegirl.com for both the cupcakes and the frosting.

The ingredients, in addition to the white cake mix, are flour, sugar, vanilla extract, egg whites and sour cream. It is definitely the sour cream that makes the difference. The cupcakes are basically doctored up white cake mix, but they are delicious!

I made these cupcakes last year for a November birthday girl and they were a hit. Not only are these cupcakes elegant, but they are delicious.

For the White Wedding cupcakes, you will need:
1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites

1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans. This recipe makes 36.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and beat with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.
3. Fill cupcake liners with batter about ½ full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

The frosting is just 4 ingredients.

For the frosting you will need:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tablespoons whipping cream

1. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended.Add the powdered sugar and increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed.
3. Scoop into a piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread onto cupcakes.

I added sliced almonds on some of the cupcakes and they made the cupcake even more delicious.

Try this cupcake recipe!

Today I am grateful for sharing good times with good friends.

Walnut raisin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

My brother came to visit this weekend, so I asked him what he would like for me to bake. He wanted me to bake his favorite oatmeal cookies. He likes to use this recipe from Quaker Oats:

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Off he went to the market to get the ingredients we needed. He likes to add walnuts and chocolate chips in his cookies,  so instead of 1 cup of raisins, I used 1 cup total of crushed walnuts, chocolate chips and raisins. Yum, I can eat just this!

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If you like oatmeal cookies, this is a great recipe. Give it a try! Happy Saturday!

Almond vanilla cupcakes

So many cupcakes, so little time. Really, I need an intervention. But it was a special occasion. You know, Valentine’s day. The LOVE day. I had to make something special. So I did. I made Almond vanilla cupcakes. So good, you don’t even have to put frosting on it, it’s that good. Seriously, my son wanted to eat them with NO FROSTING… unheard of. I did too! Even more unheard of…

So onto the recipe for Almond vanilla cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup of sour cream

-In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
-Using a hand blender, blend the room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy.
-Add in the eggs, one egg at a time, while beating.
-Add the vanilla and almond extract and stir. If you want to add color, like I did for Valentine’s day, you can add 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of your choice of food coloring now.

I added 1 teaspoon of red coloring. 1 teaspoon of red food coloring makes the cupcakes look like this:

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-Mix in the flour and sour cream into the batter alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Be careful not to over-mix or you’ll end up with hard batter.
-Place liners in a cupcake pan. Fill liners until 1/2 way or 3/4 way full.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes.

Let them cool and decorate with frosting and sprinkles!

Enjoy!

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Whole wheat banana bread

Making banana bread is great for all those bananas you know you won’t be eating. Make sure the bananas for your bread are ripe. Ripe bananas are browned peels and are really squishy on the inside.
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So let’s get started.

The ingredients for whole wheat banana bread are:

3 ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of walnut pieces (optional )

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Prepare the bread loaf pan by buttering it.

In a mixing bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork until smooth.

Stir the melted butter into the mashed bananas.

Mix in the baking soda and salt.

Stir in the brown sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract.

Mix in the whole wheat flour.

Stir in the walnut pieces.

Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour at 350°F.

Cool, slice and serve!

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Happy Superbowl Sunday!

Chado Tea Room in Pasadena

My friend and I visited the Chado Tea Room in PasadenaWe have been to many tea rooms through the years. It’s one of our favorite things to do!

The Chado Tea Room in Pasadena is located at 79 N. Raymond. They are open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We made reservations before hand, which is highly recommended as it  seems to be a popular spot and it gets very busy.

A Groupon for chocolate and tea tasting brought us in. But we were also hungry for lunch so we ordered food. They offer soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts. They also offer vegetarian choices. I chose the Punjab sandwich which consists of eggs marinated in their lapsang souchong smoked tea then combined with mayonnaise and green onions. The bread was toasted and the crusts were cut off (awwww….). It was super delicious. I also ordered a tomato basil soup, which was also vegetarian. My friend ordered the afternoon tea. It came with four half sandwiches (four different kinds), one scone with homemade cream and fresh fruit, and a dessert. It was presented on a three tier rack. And of course, it also included a pot of tea.

We were told that they have about 400 teas. The tea menu was a book. I mean, really, it was a book. I chose a chai tea called Brendan’s Chai which is an Assam Black tea blended with ginger, cinnamon, lemon grass. It was creamy, rich and delicious.

The service was great! Our waiter was very knowledgable about the teas and attentive. Before our chocolates and teas came out, our waiter brought out a strawberry display tea. A display tea is just that…a display tea… although you can drink it too. You watch your tea flower bloom while it is steeping. A wonderful 5 minute show. Tea leaves that were bunched together in a little ball were placed in a glass tea kettle with hot water. The leaves unfurl to create a flower creation.

I took pictures of the display tea unblooming in 1 minute increments. Watch!

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Then our teas and chocolates came out. We were offered three more teas in addition to the display tea. The teas are meant to be paired with the chocolates. We tried a chai tea, a green tea and a pomegranate tea. The pomegranate tea was my favorite. It really brought out the taste of the chocolate.

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They also have beautiful tea cups, tea pots and delicious tea leaves, including blooming teas in tins for sale. It’s a very relaxing environment. I suggest that if you make a visit there, that you plan two hours of your time so that you can relax and unwind. 

You can valet park, park in public parking with the first 90 minutes free or you can park at the meters. That’s what I did. 2 hours of metered parking cost a total of $2.50.

The Chado Tea Room was a great place to visit. We plan to go again. Sandwiches, chocolates and tea? Can’t go wrong with that combination.

Today I am grateful for traditions with friends and afternoon tea with my friend, Marylisa

“Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea!”― Agatha Christie

“But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.”
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park