Tag Archives: cake

Apple cake: apple pie for minimalists

Apple CakeI don’t know if you know this about me, but I suffer from a very intense case of laziness.  It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time.  Well, I wouldn’t say struggled, exactly.  That indicates some sort of action on my part and I’m far too lazy for that.  What’s truly amusing about the whole thing is that I really am a very productive person, all told.  Or at least, I seem to manage to be.  I have a full time job, a couple of part time gigs, a fairly active social life, clean house and lots of hobbies.  So maybe it’s less that I’m lazy and more that my time is at a premium.

Yeah, that sounds way better doesn’t it?  I should have started out with that.

Apple Cake

What was my point?  I had a point.  Oh right–so my laziness, I mean, time premium has some negative aspects to it.  The biggest one being that sometimes I want food in my mouth but I don’t want to have to make the effort to produce said food.  Oh, how I long for the halcyon future-days of the Jetsons era where I can have a robot produce food for me, put it into my mouth and help me chew.  Sure, I could crack open a box of Kraft mac or some pizza rolls–and don’t get me wrong, I will occasionally do that (anyone who tells you they never do probably has a pantry full of lies)–but generally I want real food.  Real good food.

This brings me to pie.  Pie is difficult thing.  It’s not actually that hard to make, but it takes some time.  You have to make the dough and then chill it and then there’s all that rolling and–yawn–at this point, you haven’t even put together the filling yet.  OMG.  First world kitchen problems.

Apple Cake

However, this apple cake saves the day.  All you have to do is dice some apples (with the skin on!), mix them with a super easy batter, pile them into a pan and bake.  Done.  And what you get is a delicious dessert that’s like pie, but faster and lighter.  And if you’re not a fan of pie crust, well you’re probably a vampire but you’re also going to love this dish.  And if you are a fan of pie crust, you’re still going to love this dish.  

Apple cake: apple pie for minimalists

Adapted from Strawberry Plum


  • 4 large or 8 small-medium honeycrisp or similar apples
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp amaretto
  • 2 tbsp frangelico
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 8 or 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Dice the apples into half inch chunks.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, combine all the other ingredients--first the dry and then the wet. Fold in the apples.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour (start checking it at 50 minutes, depending on your oven).
  5. Let cool, run a knife around the edge to loosen it and then slice and serve as you like.

Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk Cake

Upside Down Blueberry-Ginger Buttermilk Cake

When your toast falls upside down and the delicious, melty butter side gets all icky, you feel sad.  When you flip over a USB thumb drive three times to get it into the port but fail because somehow it’s always upside down, you feel stupid.  But when someone purposely bakes a cake upside down, somehow the world seems right side up.  It’s a miracle of nature, those upside down cakes.

Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk Cake

And while the golden standard (because it’s yellow!) will always be the classic pineapple upside down cake, peaches, apples and nectarines are also delicious.  But it’s August in Michigan (and I guess everywhere else too) so if you’re going to focus on a fruit, it had better be the noble blueberry.

Fresh Blueberries

So having a pint of blueberries left in the fridge, I figured I’d give upside down blueberry cakes a try.  It was a gamble that paid off.  A slight gamble.  Like one of the “freebies” that gets you hooked on the game, but then you have to pay next time.  I threw in some ginger because, well, I have a root of ginger and it wasn’t going to eat itself.  It’s also one of those flavors that pairs really well with lots of fruit so it seemed like a good choice.  I often just sort of go with things and see what happens.  You can’t be too conservative in the kitchen; you’ll never learn or have fun or accidentally melt a countertop (bad) or create the first chocolate chip cookie (good).


Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk CakeI can tell you from experience, though—parmesan herb sweet marshmallows are not a bet that will pay off.  No siree.

This cake though?  Yeah you’re good.  Plus look how pretty it is!

 Upside Down Blueberry Ginger Buttermilk Cake

Upside Down Blueberry-Ginger Buttermilk Cake


    For the topping:
  • 1 pint of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter, milk, vanilla, eggs, ginger and cinnamon. Mix until it just comes together.
  3. Melt down half a stick of butter and half a cup of brown sugar in a small saucepan. Add in a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook for a minute until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved and then pour the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Top with the pint of blueberries in an even layer.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the springform pan on top of the blueberries.
  5. Bake the cake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  6. Open the springform pan and remove the sides. Carefully flip the cake over onto a plate and remove the bottom of the springform pan. If any berries came undone, just fudge them back into place a bit. Ta da!


Upside Down Pineapple Cake

Sunshine Cake: Pineapple Ginger Upside Down Cake

Pssst.  You.  Come here.  It’s ok, I just want to talk for a second.  Look, we’re friends, right?  Good.  Cause I need to tell you something.  And I feel that since we’re friends, I can be honest and direct with you.

You look like you could use a piece of cake.

And not just any cake either, but a piece of cake that practically radiates sunlight, or rainbows.  Like the unicorn of the confectionary world.

Upside Down Pineapple Cake

Now I don’t know what’s going on.  Maybe you’ve had a bad week.  Maybe you’ve had a fabulous week.  Maybe you just look a little hungry, I dunno.  But you need this cake.

So here’s what we’re going to do.  I’m going to lay out the recipe below.  You are going to read it, make a grocery list, go to the store, buy the items you need, come back to your house and bake this cake.  When it’s done and cooled, you are going to cut yourself a slice and then you are going to eat it.

I know.  Crazy right?

Upside Down Pineapple Cake

Pineapple Ginger Upside Down Cake


    For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • For the topping
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 8-oz can pineapple rings, drained
  • 1 8-oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare the cake
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter, milk, vanilla, eggs, ginger and cinnamon. Mix until it just comes together.
  4. Prepare the topping
  5. Spray a 9" high-sided cast iron skillet with baking spray.
  6. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon until fully incorporated and gooey. Pour the butter mixture into the skillet. Place individual pineapple rings in the butter mixture around the pan. Fill in the spaces with spoonfuls of the crushed pineapple.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the skillet.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  9. Take a knife and edge around the cake to loosen it a bit. Place a plate over the top of the skillet and flip it upside down. The cake should slide out smoothly but if you lose a pineapple ring, just nudge it back into place. :)


Cake recipe adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

This makes a very tall, dense but soft cake. You can adapt this into two 8" cakes, a couple dozen cupcakes if you prefer.


My friend Mac recently had a birthday.  His request?  A peanut butter cup cake.

Challenge accepted.

So I browsed through my collection of cake recipes and thought about my plan of attack.  I decided that what I wanted was a two layer chocolate cake with a layer of peanut butter frosting in the middle and a crown of tiny peanut butter cups on the top. Continue reading

This cupcake has a nice body, butter face…

I wasn’t doing a lot of baking for a bit there recently and in the meantime, my Calder delivery kept coming.  By last Friday, I had amassed a small cholesterol-y fortune to the tune of about 4.5 pounds of butter in my pantry.  I thought to myself, I should probably whittle that down before it goes bad.  So I did what any other me in my situation would do: I made cornbread.  And cookies.  And those triple chocolate brownies that I’m convinced could easily be the flavonoid-filled death of some otherwise healthy person.  But it wasn’t enough.  By the end of the weekend, I still had a pound and a half of butter.  At least that’s a reasonable amount for me.  I can always make another batch or four of cornbread.  I mean, it’s really good cornbread. But I also wanted to try something new.  Frosting.

Generally, I don’t like to make frosting.  I’ve tried before, for cakes and cinnamon rolls, and it always comes out “meh.”  Seriously.  It actually shrugs its sugary shoulders with a bored sounding “meh” as I spread it haphazardly across the top of some otherwise adequate baked concoction.  The frosting is unimpressed with my meager talents at creaming various dairy products with sugar.  Well that’s fine, frosting, cause I don’t like you either.  Really, I don’t.  I’ve never cared for frosting.  Generally find it too sugary–I prefer the cake part.  I don’t like filling either for the same reason.  In fact as a kid, when given a Hostess cupcake, I would peel off the frosted design and then proceed to eat the cake around the filling and then throw the filling away.  What can I say?  That’s just how I roll.  Non-frosted. Continue reading

Chock Full o’ Cherries Coffee Cake

maybe she meant, let them eat cherries

Or, “What to do with 14 pounds of canned cherries.”

Josh likes cherries.  Josh likes canning.  Josh cans cherries.  Lauren carries off two cans of cherries.  Lauren cooks cherry cake.  Cherry coffee cake.  Cherry coffee cake with canned cherries.  Josh is cheery.  Josh likes cherry coffee cake with canned cherries.

I was bored on Saturday and that’s usually a recipe for disaster deliciousness because when I get bored, I bake.  Only I was running low on ideas.  It’s amazing, really—there are seven hundred and fifty recipes in my Evernote cookbook and yet, not a single thing I wanted to make right then and there.  Well, that I could make anyway, with what I had on hand.

So I went offline and in search of my 40-something cookbooks.  I wasn’t inspired by much there that day either, until I went through a Tastebook I had put together several years ago.  If you’ve never been to Tastebook, it’s basically a site that lets you organize and print your own cookbooks—it’s rather nice, and I especially like it for gifts.  But anyway, I’d printed myself a cookbook of recipes I found online a few years ago and one of them–the very first recipe in the book, actually—was for a cranberry coffee cake.  Well I could do that, I thought.  But I don’t have any cranberries.  But I did have a basement wine cellar full of unfermented fruit (I know—I’m doing it wrong).  That is, full of cherries that Josh bought fresh and canned a few weeks ago.  Josh likes cherries.  Josh likes cake.  Cake likes cherries.  Lauren cooks cherry cake. Continue reading

We don’t need no stinkin’ restaurant…

this is what heaven looks like…for dessert.

I’m not feeling super impressed with restaurants lately, I have to admit.  Some restaurants never disappoint me, like Beezy’s in Ypsi or Mahek in Ann Arbor.  But then there are other restaurants, mostly chains, who shall remain nameless, where I leave disappointed and annoyed at having dropped $25 on a crappy dinner for two.  It’s especially terrible because I know I could cook way better than that.  But sometimes I’m tired or lazy or haven’t been shopping or want to hang out with friends.  So I go out.  Again and again.  And then I return home, financially and gastronomically poorer than when I left.  In fact, while sitting at one of these restaurants that shall rename nameless with Josh today, I ruminated on the lack of enjoyment I got from they referred to as a “pulled pork sandwich.”  I’ve had pulled pork.  I’ve made pulled pork.  And this, sir, was no pulled pork.  It was just a glob of overly and poorly cooked flesh draped in sauce.  Some poor pig actually died for that.  And that’s not right.

The fate of that poor pig dropped upon me another flash in what’s been a long-running yet still staggering revelation about about my personal relationship with food.  However, that is a story for another day, children.  Instead, we should focus on what I had for dessert.

Chocolate. Continue reading

My superquick, super delish v-day dessert

Take a package of chocolate shortcakes…

…add  generous scoops of ice cream–your fave.  I used Calder’s chocolate chunk chocolate.

Mix in 4 marshmallows into a pot of homemade chocolate ganache over low heat and stir until the marshmallows are mostly melted and incorporated.

Top with something crunchy–toasted walnuts or almond slivers, salty roasted peanuts, coconut, graham crackers…more chocolate!


Apri-can: Apricot Crumbcake

I found a recipe in Cooking Light for Strawberry Jam Crumb Cake.  It just sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it?  It looks pretty good too.  I have the week off and you know I can’t go more than a few hours without getting bored and baking something.  My immediate thought was to make cookies, and then brownies, and then I thought that maybe I should try and wean myself just a little bit off my dependence on the black gold that is chocolate and try something new.  And I’ve never made a crumb cake before (as least, I don’t think so, and if I ever did, I guess it was so terrible that I blocked it out) so I figured, why not?

Of course, I didn’t have any strawberry jam because what fun is baking if you actually have all the ingredients you need?  I did have apricot preserves, though, since I’d needed it for my spicy apricot chicken.  Works for me. Continue reading

Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt Cake: So Easy a Caveman Could Do It

My love of chocolate, as you know, knows no bounds.  This is a super easy and very fast recipe for a chocolate bundt cake, although I actually made a regular cake because I have a bundt cake pan but my bundt cake pan is…um…a castle.  Yeah.  So it seemed a bit…grand….for this.  But don’t fear: while this is a small cake, comparatively, it’s big on flavor and happiness.  Delicious delicious happiness.

Cinnamon Chocolate Cake
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c. soft butter
2 large egg whites plus 1 large egg
1/2 c. lowfat milk
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp chocolate extract (or use vanilla if you can’t find chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat butter and sugar together; add eggs one at a time, then chocolate extract, cinnamon and milk.  Add in the flour, baking soda, salt and unsweetened cocoa.  Mix until well blended.  Spray a bundt pan or 9″ round pan with cooking spray.  Fold batter into the pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes depending on your oven.

Top with chocolate ganache.  Eat.  Smile.  Be happy.  Share.

Night of the Day of the Dawn of the 28 Days of Zombieland Cupcakes

According to a super-scientific quiz on Facebook, I am well prepared for the inevitable (Inewitable!) zombie apocalypse and will survive for at least a month, probably more.  And you know why that is?  Because I watch my zombie movies.  I will even admit to seeing Zombieland twice in the theaters.  What can I say?  I have a thing for watching Woody Harrelson kill zombies.  Between that and my numerous viewings of Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead and many others, I know the rules of surviving a zombie horde: don’t get attached, don’t get eaten, don’t go in the basement or upstairs, to defeat the zombie you have to remove the head or destroy the brain and of course, rule number one: cardio.

Thankfully, all you’ll need to defeat these zombie cupcakes with is a hearty appetite.  And maybe a pitchfork.  Or a regular fork.  These cupcakes were originally done by the Sweetest Kitchen and after I saw them, I figured—hey!  That’s a cute cupcake trick that I can actually do!  My friend Lindsay can decorate awesome cupcakes.  Me?  Not so much.  I’m a pretty good cook and an okay baker but decorating?  Not so much.  I lack the artistic talent to do anything beyond rudimentary.  So I was very excited to find these cupcakes because not only do I have an obvious, alarming and awesome affinity for zombies, but these are a tasty, fun and festive way to celebrate Halloween. Continue reading

Vanilla cupcakes with roasted banana frosting

I tried to think of a witty headline for this one but failed.  Sorry.

I wanted to make Josh something for dessert.  Josh loves bananas.  I considered doing another batch of roasted banana bars but wanted something new.  And simple.  And easy.  And cakey.  And Josh loves cupcakes.  So…well, that was that.  However instead of putting the banana in the cupcake, I thought I’d try putting it into the frosting instead.

Because that works, right? Continue reading

Poms Away, Vol. 2: the Cheesecake Chronicles

So I continued my Adventures in Pomegranates tonight, using up more of the juice shipment I got from Pom Wonderful.

As you might recall, the last time we saw our intrepid heroine (uh, me), she had just conquered pomegranate molasses and used said molasses in creating homemade pomegranate barbecue sauce.  Now join us for the next installment of this thrilling storyline as our heroine strives to harness the power of the pomegranate for good, or for awesome.

Speaking of awesome, cheesecake.  Cheesecake.  Yeah.

I wanted to create a dessert with the pomegranate juice and while the idea of converting my current strawberry tiramisu recipe into a pomegranate one was bandied about, I instead decided to make a pomegranate glaze.  And the perfect conveyance for that glaze?  Cheesecake.  Delicious, delicious citrus cheesecake.

Now, granted, it didn’t come out quite the way I intended much at all, the cake part anyway, but that was mostly due to my own tiredness and inattention.  Having made the cheesecake before though, I can indeed vouch that the flavors are fantastic.   The citrus and vanilla really come through, and that pairs well with the sweetness of the pomegranate.  A bit of unsweetened whipped cream could pull it all together nicely. Continue reading

Helloooo cupcake

I’m just going to come out and say it.

I’m not a baker. I am a cook.  I love to cook things.  I do not like to bake things.  I do, however, love baked things.  And sadly, sometimes the only way to get quality baked things is to bake them yourself.  So I do.  But deep down I rebel against it and would rather be grilling a pizza.

There’s another thing I’m not.  And that’s an artist. My mother, sister and cousin and grandmother are excellent artists.  I did not get that gene.  I got every artistic gene but that one.  So why I thought I could pull this off, I have no idea.

I blame Josh.  For insisting that some day I’m going to be one of those moms who make little artistic culinary renditions for her kids’ birthday parties.  And I blame Bakerella, for making me want to be one of those moms.  And I blame the Ann Arbor library, for carrying the book Hello Cupcake!, which I inadvertently came across last week and which briefly convinced me that I, too, could create irresistible, playful creations.  Damn you, cupcake book.  Damn you. Continue reading