Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Not bad for my first year!

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

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“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cookie Baking

It may seem quiet in my corner of the web lately, but that’s because life has been anything but!

There are so many wonderful activities happening this time of year! The world waits to celebrate when God came down to us as a little baby. The love of God translates to love for family & friends. It really does feel like the most wonderful time of the year – even down here in warm, sunny Florida!

A few weekends ago my friend Beth & I got together with our Kitchenaid mixers & made a bunch of cookies.

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Red & green! How perfect!

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Cow apron!

We were baking cookies to enter in the IKEA cookie contest. We didn’t place, but we should have! We totally made some amazing cookies.

 

Some of our contest entries:

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Thumbprint cookies with lingonberry jam.

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We called this one “Grandma ran over the reindeer”

We had a lot of fun! We also made peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, & gingerbread cookies just because!

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We decorated gingerbread couples, too!

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I think I captured us pretty well!

What a great day! I love baking, I love spending time with friends, I love beef (which we ate) & hot cocoa (which we drank).

A few days later I got the idea to make some gingerbread cookies on my own to give away at work.

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Beth lent me her airplane cookie cutter. How cute! I work in aviation, so these were the perfect Christmas gift to everyone at the office.

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Can I just say again how much I love this time of  year? A time for warm hearts & warm cocoa. A time to turn on the lights & the oven.  A time to give gifts & give hugs.

A time to love God & love each other ❤

One Year Of Marriage Down, One Lifetime To Go!

Happy 1st Anniversary to us!

Christmas Red Wedding

In one year we:

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I love you so much!

Time to eat that wedding cake!

 Yum!

Caramel Apple Cake

 I was trying to think of something fancier to call this cake, but alas, I came up empty.
This cake is so good, y’all!

I made this cake for Thanksgiving, but it’s not exclusively a holiday dessert. It’s a wonderfully delicious any time you’re craving cake cake!

I looked up several apple cake recipes before landing on one from EatInEatOut. I tweaked it a bit & made it my own. The original recipe has nuts & is frosted with maple buttercream & pecans – it looks really amazing! I wanted to go the caramel route, so I decided on caramel buttercream & sauce with toffee chip garnish.

The caramel sauce & caramel buttercream recipes are amazing enough to merit their own post, but since I put it all together I wanted to give you guys the full picture.

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Yep.

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Seriously, SO GOOD!

The cake itself is really yummy even without frosting. With a few tweaks it would make a great apple muffin recipe. Hmm…

It also wasn’t terribly difficult! I used honeycrisp apples & the hardest part is probably dicing them, but I took a few shortcuts. I peeled them, used an apple slicer to slice & core them, then used a slap-chop to get little crunchy pieces of yum.

The batter before adding the apples is really thick! Reminded me of gingerbread cookie dough. But the apples are very moist & so once I stirred those in the batter was more cake-y than cookie-y.

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The caramel sauce is amazing. I got it from The Pioneer Woman. Truly it’s more of a brown sugar sauce than caramel, but the taste & consistency are caramel-y enough for me! It reminds me a lot of sugary glaze part of the monkey bread muffins I’ve made previously – but much richer. At first I was worried it was too runny, but that was only because it was piping hot. So if you make this recipe & think the caramel sauce is too runny, it’s probably fine – just melted!

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Of course, this cake also needed some buttercream. So I looked up the Wilton caramel buttercream recipe & just changed the proportions to suite my needs. The below recipe made just enough buttercream for this cake.

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This cake is definitely worth all the work. It really wasn’t so bad. I put on some Christmas music, poured a glass of wine, & got to work while my husband kept me company in the kitchen.

Later on I frosted the cakes with the buttercream & put toffee chips all around the bottom. Then, I poured the caramel sauce all over it. This was one of the easiest cake decorating jobs ever. This cake is just as delicious as it is pretty!

Everyone loved it! The cake has a great apple flavor & the caramel sauce is slightly salty which offsets all the sweetness. The buttercream is creamy (well yeah, it should be, right?) & delicious.

All 3 of these recipes are winners. Put them together & they are unbelievable!

Apple Cake

Recipe adapted from EatInEatOut.
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 apples, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8in. cake pans with baking spray.
  2. In a bowl mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt & baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat eggs, sugar, vanilla & oil for 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to mixer bowl until combined. The batter will be really thick.
  5. Stir in apples by hand; batter will become less thick. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake until done in the center; 40-45 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.

Caramel Sauce

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman (heavy cream version)

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil & whisk gently for 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Caramel will be runny when hot, but thicken as it cools. Caramel will harden in the fridge; to bring to pourable consistency microwave for a few seconds at a time. For cake decorating, caramel should be cool but pourable.

Caramel Buttercream

Recipe adapted from Wilton
  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbsp heavy cream
  1. With an electric mixer, cream shortening and butter. Add caramel sauce and vanilla.
  2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating on medium speed until fully incorporated.
  3. When all sugar has been mixed in, add heavy cream a little at a time until light and fluffy.
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