Delicious Autumn

fall-pumpkins-1Fall is on the way!

Seasons are changing.  The winds pick up, the rain falls, and here in Texas, we welcome those nice, “chilly” 90 degree pre-fall days.

I am getting my fall baking ideas ready, too. Y’all should know I don’t get too fancy or crazy with any ideas.  I relate to the women out there that want a great-looking dessert that looks like she spent all day, but really she is an empty-nester and was a little busy trying to watch her favorite movie for the 100th time, or the young mom who is in the middle of counseling her potty-training toddler past her fear of thinking that she’ll fall into the toilet and be flushed, or the daughter who is caring for her elderly parents and needs something quick and easy for her family, or the sister who has huge plans to host a fall craft day at her house and didn’t think about a treat to feed her guests, let alone the time it would take to complete just one of those dang projects.  We’re looking for fab on a freakin’ budget here, I hope!

So, I go through my usual “planning process” where I talk to myself (out loud), see what supplies and ingredients I have on hand, and try to decide where to start…

What to bake first? Should I try something new? Do I get the pumpkin & cinnamon now before stores run completely out when Thanksgiving holiday procrastinators like me make mad dashes at the last minute?

Why am I on a diet right now?

Why so many questions?

Ok, ok, let’s just do it already!  One of my favorite recipes my Nana had was her apple cake.  I adored the holidays in November and December because of her baking!  We knew we only got this stuff once a year, so my sisters and I loved every crumb we could possibly consume.

Thanks, Nana, I’m not even mad about the 25 extra pounds that remind me of my youth.

Seriously, though, it was awesome.  She was a rock star when it came to cooking and baking.  She’d plan out holiday baking and bake for days and days, then portion out each delivery.  I am glad to share that I am no longer pouting about the people to whom she was so benevolent in giving what could have been, in my very young mind, more portions for us.  It was eventually fine that we were a family of four and only got four cookies, right?  It was fine. It was fine. It was fine. Hey…at 7 years old you just kinda gotta get that whole giving idea thing down.

You’ll be happy to know that I did find a level of contentment in our family’s portion of her baking love!  For one, I learned not to treat her plate of goodies like a bridal bouquet throw.  Two, I learned how to appreciate what we did receive and also that her big, kind heart and small budget still made it possible to make other families out there smile at the holidays, too. She was an amazing woman, wife, mother, sister, and grandmother!

Thanks, Nana, for real. I hope you are proud that I carry on your tradition of giving the gift of homemade treats to others, whenever and wherever I can.  It’s because of watching you that I love giving!

I don’t know what it was about the apple cake, but it was, and still is, one of my fall favorites! So, it will be the first I share this season…

Fresh Apple Cake

Preparation: 30 min. / Cooking: Approx. 50 min. IMG_6121   IMG_6214 Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. Granny Smith apples (approx. 3), peeled & chopped finely into small pieces
  • 1 c. pecans, chopped & toasted

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place chopped pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toast pecans for about 5 minutes in the oven or until the aroma blooms.  Set aside to cool down.Apple Cake toasted pecans
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F.
  4. Prepare your bundt pan (or 2 loaf pans) by greasing and flouring all edges.
  5. Add oil, sugar and eggs in the bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment and mix until combined and creamy.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add this flour mixture to egg mixture and combine well.Apple Cake dry ingredients
  7. Mix in vanilla extract until combined.
  8. Gently stir in apples and pecans.IMG_6122
  9. Pour into prepared pan(s).IMG_6124
  10. Bake for approximately 50 minutes to 1 hour. About 50 minutes into baking, use a toothpick in center to check progress. If it comes out clean, the baking is complete.  If not, continue baking at about 3-4 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Let cool for 15-20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.IMG_6126

** While the cake is cooling, prepare the caramel sauce.**

Caramel Sauce
  • 3/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a small sauce-pan over low heat, melt butter.
  2. Stir in brown sugar and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Mixture will start to thicken after first 5 minutes.Apple Cake caramel sauce
  4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool until it has thickened to pouring, syrup consistency.  (I placed mine in a 2-cup capacity glass measuring cup and set it in an ice bath to cool quickly to the correct consistency.)
  5. Place the cooled cake onto a cake plate & slowly pour sauce over the top of the cake. You will have plenty of caramel sauce to use, so just pour on the amount you want. IMG_6167
Thanks for allowing my Nana to come spend a baking day with you in your kitchen!

Enjoy the delicious taste of autumn you just created!

See you next time!

           

1 thought on “Delicious Autumn”

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