Apple Cranberry Spice Cake

I’m visiting family in TN this week, and yesterday I went to see my 92-year-old grandma. She is a great cook and still enjoys trying new recipes. She always offers more food than we can eat, and this day was no exception.

Our favorite item on the menu was a new recipe–Apple Cranberry Spice Cake. It is so moist, so flavorful! We enjoyed some cake during our visit and then took the rest home with us. The entire cake was devoured well under 24 hours later. I managed to get a picture of the very last slice of cake–seconds before I ate it, so it isn’t the prettiest picture, but it’s all I’ve got.


Apple Cranberry Spice Cake
from The Tennessee Magazine, Dec 2008, page 26.

1 (18.25 oz) package Spice Cake mix
3 eggs
1 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c water
1 c apples, peeled & diced
1 c dried cranberries

1 T butter
1/4 c water
2 c powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat over to 350.

Spray or grease & flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

Combine cake mix, eggs, applesauce, butter, and water. Beat on low speed for 1 minute to blend, then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in diced apples and cranberries.

Spread batter evenly in bundt pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool for 25 minutes in pan on wire rack and then remove cake and cool completely.

In a saucepan, make glaze by combining butter and water over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Pour warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drip down the sides.


Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

For anyone who loves cheesecake and anything that resembles it, this will be a treat!


Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
from Your HomeBased Mom

You can make this coffee cake the night before and just refrigerate.  Be sure to pull it out and bring it to room temperature before serving.

2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup butter, chilled
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs, divided
1 tsp. almond extract

1 -8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup raspberry jam (Note: I used sugar-free)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Grease and flour bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan or spray with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar.  Cut in butter using a pastry blender or fork and work into coarse crumbs.  Set aside 1 cup of crumb mixture.

Into remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, soda, salt, sour cream, 1 egg and almond extract.  Blend well.

Spread batter over bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan.  Batter should be about 1/4 inch thick on sides.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, remaining sugar and 1 egg and blend well.  Pour over batter in pan.  Carefully spoon preserves evenly over cheese filling.

In a small bowl, combine the 1 cup reserved crumb mixture and sliced almonds.  Sprinkle over the top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is golden brown.  Cool for 15 minutes.  Remove sides of pan.  Serve warm or cool, cut into wedges.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

I heart cinnamon rolls.

For years, I’ve believed that the only acceptable frosting for a big, fat, ooey, gooey cinnamon roll is cream cheese frosting. I believe that cream cheese frosting should be given its own food group.

It is with that paradigm that I approached this recipe. I couldn’t believe that anything could even come close to my beloved cream cheese frosting. I was willing to be open minded (somewhat) and give it a go, though.

This maple frosting is something special! And while it certainly hasn’t unseated my cream cheese frosting from top billing, it is a very yummy alternative and a scrumptious runner up.

I love the roll dough–it has an incredible texture and must be tried to believe.

The recipe makes so many cinnamon rolls that I was able to give some of my extra tins away as Christmas gifts. They looked so pretty, wrapped in cellophane and sealed with a festive ribbon.

For those of you, like me, who don’t own a coffee maker, you can either buy a cup of coffee from a nearby coffee shop or you can place some of the coffee grounds into a tea infuser. Boil some water and place the tea infuser into the hot water for several minutes. My Grandma M endorses Folger’s Classic Roast, so that’s what I used for this. Worked great!

In the end, I ended up making three recipes of the frosting. Apparently, I like lots of frosting!

Also, I wasn’t able to figure out how to accommodate the amount of butter Pioneer Woman demanded be used inside the cinnamon roll filling. Even when I halved the amount of butter, I still had trouble keeping the butter from escaping when I tried to roll up the dough. They were still yummy–even without the extra butter.

Tip: A roommate in college from my Freshman year taught me to use dental floss to slice cinnamon rolls (as opposed to using a knife). I still use this technique and believe it works better than anything else. To use dental floss, use about 18 inches of floss. Slide the mid-point of the floss under the ready-to-slice, rolled-up dough. Lift the two opposite ends, and bring the ends together. Have the ends move past each other in opposite directions until the string slices through the dough. Repeat until all the rolls have been sliced.

I hope that makes sense.

For any goop that escapes while you’re rolling or slicing, just scoop it up with your sliced, uncooked rolls before placing them in the baking dish.


Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting
Modified from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Yield: 7 disposable, round cake or pie tins full of cinnamon rolls (about 6-8 rolls per pan)

Roll Ingredients & Instructions
1 quart whole milk
1 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
2 pkgs or 2 T active dry yeast
8 + 1 c all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1 heaping T salt
1 1/2 – 2 c butter, melted
2 c sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Mix the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, add yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour. Punch down.

Add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and the salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it–overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it, and if it starts to splurge out of the pan, just punch it down).

Melt 7 T of butter, and distribute 1 T into each of the seven round tins.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle counter or table surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and knead into a rough rectangle. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 3/4 c – 1 c melted butter over the dough. Next, sprinkle 1 c of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Starting at the edge furthest from you, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go–being careful to prevent any escape of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mix. After the rolling is complete, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.

Cut the rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick and lay them in the buttered pans. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Maple Frosting Ingredients & Instructions
4 c powdered sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring (Note: I used Mapeline flavoring instead)
1/2 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 c brewed coffee (Note: Per my grandma’s recommendation, I used Folger’s Classic Roast)
1/8 tsp salt

Mix together all ingredients and stir well until smooth. Frosting should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy, and don’t skimp on the frosting!

Sausage Balls

This is a family favorite, and I’m not sure where or with whom it even originated. I associate them with special-occasion breakfasts and road trips since they were often a traveling treat in our family. Mom would just toss them in the cooler to keep the sausage in them cool, and all was well.

They’re great for a few reasons. 1) They are easy to whip up, and one recipe will fit on one cookie sheet. 2) You can make ahead and freeze. They can later be thawed in the fridge and just reheated before serving. 3) They can be eaten warm or cold. 4) They are yummy!


Sausage Balls

1/2 lb mild sausage, uncooked and at room temperature
4 oz or 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 T shortening

Preheat oven to 325.

Grease baking sheet, if needed.

Combine sausage and cheese. Add flour and shortening and mix until combined. (I use my hands to mix).

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on baking sheet. (These will not spread as they bake, so they can be placed close to each other).

Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Chile Cheese Souffle

Another great recipe from Leigh Anne at Your HomeBased Mom!

I was limited on time, so I opted to use an egg substitute like Egg Beaters instead of cracking 10 eggs.


Chile Cheese Souffle
Adapted from Your HomeBased Mom

10 eggs, beaten or 2 1/2 c. egg substitute
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chilies
4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 pint small curd, cottage cheese
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Add eggs, flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix well. Add remainder of ingredients. Pour into greased baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and continue baking for 20 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Serves 8-10

Yogurt Marmalade Cake

This has become one of my very most favorite new recipes of 2008. I found the recipe on Pioneer Woman’s site, and starred it for future reference.

I doubled the recipe and froze one of the loaves, which worked well and allowed me to serve one at each of our brunches. The yogurt creates the moistest cake. YUM!!!


Yogurt Marmalade Cake
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 heaping cup of plain, lowfat yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup prepared orange marmalade
(Note: I used Smuckers’ Sugar-free Orange Marmalade)
1/4 cup yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and canola oil until just combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined; do not overbeat.

Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan.

While cake is cooling, pour marmalade into pan. Heat on low until melted, stirring occasionally. Add yogurt to pan and turn off heat. Stir to combine, then pour slowly over the top of the cake, allowing icing to pool around the sides.

Basil Tomato Tart

I’ve made this tart a couple times over the past couple months, and to say that is has gone over well would be, well, an understatement. I’ve had several requests for the recipe, so here it is.

Thanks so much to Leigh Anne, once again, over at Your HomeBased Mom for another fabulous dish!


Basil Tomato Tart
from Your HomeBased Mom

Pie Crust (Note: I’ve used both homemade and store bought–both worked well)
1 1/2 C shredded Mozzarella
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/4 C pesto
1/2 C mayo (Note: My SIL tried to substitute Miracle Whip, which rendered the tart inedible. Don’t substitute).
1/4 C  shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Bake pie crust according to crust’s directions.  Remove from oven and sprinkle 1/2 cup Mozzarella on bottom.  Let cool.

While crust is cooling, cut tomatoes into slices (about 1/4″ thick or thicker if preferred) and drain on paper towel.

Spread layer of pesto over cheese.  Place tomatoes over pesto layer.

Combine mayo, Parmesan, pepper and remaining Mozzarella and spread on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until browned.