Apple Cake with Toffee Crust

May 7, 2010

When Mr. Sugar Moon took a bite of this cake his only comment was, “Off the Charts!”  The edges of this cake were hard for me to resist, because, well…I’m an edge girl and the toffee crust was a dream!  Sound tempting yet?  Wanna try it?  Here’s the recipe…

For the Cake you’ll need:

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 large apples (granny smith or other tart apple)

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees and moving the rack to the bottom third of your oven. Except for maybe the most experienced cooks (like those on Iron Chef), prep work can make all the difference in the success of a recipe.  So before you mix anything peel, core and dice your apples into about 1/2 inch pieces, so they’ll be ready to go.

Now it’s time to mix the ingredients.  Pretty simple here…just combine the oil, sugar, eggs in a large bowl or an electric mixer.  In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt and then incorporate them into the wet ingredients.  This is what you’ll end up with.  It’s more of a dough than a batter.
Now fold in the apples. It will seem like you have a lot more than you need, but don’t worry this is an apple cake after all.  Once you’ve incorporated the apples, press the dough into a greased 9-inch spring form pan.

Bake it for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven you should start the toffee crust.  Here’s the ingredients you’ll need:

Toffee Sauce:

1 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the butter, sugar and cream together in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. 

When it’s done you’ll end up with a golden sauce ready to pour over your warm, just out of the oven cake!

Leave the cake in the pan and put it on a rimmed baking sheet.  As you can see from the picture this is an important step because the toffee sauce ooozes out the bottom!  Pour the sauce over the cake, poking small holes in the top to let it seep all the way down inside! 

Let the cake cool in the pan for about 2 hours and then remove from the spring form pan.  The toffee sauce will have hardened to form a delicious crust that goes so well with the apples baked in the cake!

Oh and one last step…make sure to take a big slice, this cake won’t last long!

Adapted from a recipe by Lara Atkins of the Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond, VA.

The Sugar Moon in Utah

May 5, 2010

Great News!  The Sugar Moon has expanded to Alpine, Utah.  Now if any of you in the Beehive state  are in need of a delicious baked good for a party, outing, special occasion or just to satisfy a sweet tooth, you can now place an order with The Sugar Moon and have it home-baked specifically to your taste!

Our Alpine, Utah location uses the same fresh, superior ingredients, the menu and pricing are the same and delivery is free within Alpine and Highland.

So please spread the word to friends and family who live in Utah.  They simply place an order through The Sugar Moon website or by calling 209-597-1344.  And of course all products have the same yumminess guarantee!

The Search For Chocolate Perfection (in a cookie)

May 4, 2010

I mentioned in a previous post that I am a recipe collector and accumulate way too many recipes that I will never use.  After cleaning out my stash and organizing them into beautiful Liberty of London binders, I am determined to make each and every recipe I’m saving.   I was thrilled to see that the next recipe in line for a trial run was this chocolate crinkle cookie.

I’ve been looking for the perfect chocolate cookie for a while.  I want a cookie with perfect texture and of course amazing taste.  Unfortunately, I have yet to be able to find that.  This one comes close, but I’m not sure I’ve ended my search.  Although, I do have to say that even though I am not a warm cookie person, these cookies were pretty perfect right out of the oven. They tasted like little molten cakes!  Give them a try and let me know what you think. And if you have the perfect chocolate cookie recipe please send it to me!

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

6 ounces mini semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl mix together the melted butter, cocoa powder, and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.  In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in the chips. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into 1-inch balls, then roll them in powdered sugar. Bake the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet for 10 minutes. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then lightly dust them with the remaining powdered sugar. Transfer cookies to the cooling rack.  Makes 4 dozen.

My Birthday Treat

April 20, 2010

Aside from some yummy cinnamon rolls my friend made me, a box of Sees candy, a Godiva Chocolate bar, and a chocolate molten cake at Roy’s in San Francisco, my official birthday treat was a chocolate cherry cake that Mr. Sugar Moon made for me (wow, that sounds bad. It’s a good thing I’m a runner)!It might not look that impressive, but it is one of my favorite desserts and guess what?  It could not be any easier!  There might actually be more effort in driving to the bakery then making this cake, but…. I dare you to find a cake as yummy! There’s really nothing like it!  Here’s the recipe:

Take 1 box of chocolate cake mix!  Yep that’s right… I said chocolate cake MIX!  Make it exactly like the box says and pour it into a well greased 9×13 pan. Here’s the trick to making it super moist… open a can of cherry pie filling and spoon it over the top in random places and make sure you use every last drop. Bake the cake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  Just like regular cake, you should be able to insert a toothpick and have it come out clean or at least without wet cake (with this one you will probably get some moist crumbs).

About 2 minutes before the cake is ready to come out of the oven, start making your frosting.  On the stovetop, combine 1 cup of sugar, 7 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup whole milk.  Bring it to a boil and then let it boil for 1 more minute.  Remove it from the heat and add 12 ounces of chocolate chips (I use bittersweet chips but you can use any kind) and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix it until the chocolate melts and then POUR it over the warm cake, just out of the oven!

And there you have it!  This cake is a chocolate lovers dream!  It melts in your mouth!  Personally, I like it to cool for a while and let the chocolate set up.  Some people who like warm gooey desserts might want to eat it right away though.  Either way, I promise you will eat more than one piece!

A Fun Spring Treat!

April 15, 2010

I don’t know if you are like me and are constantly going through magazines tearing out recipes that look wonderful and then never use them.  I can’t help it. I just love pictures of good food. The problem is I am the exact opposite of a hoarder!  I hate storing things.  It makes me happy when I get rid of something.  If I know my closets are cluttered it makes me anxious.  So when I noticed my recipe folder overflowing I had to start the weeding out process.

First, I just got rid of all the recipes that for whatever reason, I know I will never make. Then I made of pile of recipes that I’ve never tried, look good and would make.  I am going to try each and every one before it gets a permanent place in my recipe files!  This recipe was one of those. I got it in the mail from one of those mail order recipe collections as the free “we are trying to entice you” sample.  I kept it because it looked like it could be yummy, but for some reason never took the opportuntity to make!  We’ll I’m glad I did.   They are easy and delicious and they have a wonderful bar cookie texture.  The M&M’s add a special chocolatey sweetness to them.  They are a great spring treat, but since M&M’s come in different colors for different seasons, they would be a perfect treat for just about any occasion!

Double-Decker Confetti Brownies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 cup M&M’s, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. In medium bowl combine 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt ; blend into creamed mixture. Divide batter in half.  Blend together cocoa and melted butter; stir into one half of the dough. Spread cocoa dough evenly into prepared baking pan.  Stir remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup M&M’s into remaining dough (do this by hand or the M&M’s will break into pieces); spread evenly over cocoa dough in pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup M&M’s. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely!

I know that since these posts get emailed to you there is very little incentive to actually visit my blog, but I have added  new feature to the sidebar called “Random Baking Tips”.  Each week I post a new little helpful hint about baking that you just might not know!  This week’s tip will help these brownies and all others come out as beautiful as they are good!  Check it out!

Easter Dessert at The Sugar Moon

April 5, 2010

It’ been such a great day today.  I hope you all have had as wonderful an Easter as I have.  Of course we have to go all out at my house when it comes to dessert at our celebrations.  This year it was a dessert invented by my mom… German Chocolate Pie!  It’s all the flavors of a German Chocolate Cake but in a delicious pie form!

Here’s the recipe:

Pie Crust:

1 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

6 Tbsp of butter, softened

1 cup of finely chopped pecans

1 cup flaked coconut

Blend flour, sugar and butter together using a pastry cutter or food processor.  Add pecans and coconut.

Press into a pie tin and bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

For the filling:

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups milk

2 ounces german chocolate

4 egg yolks, slightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in milk & chocolate. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Slowly stir at least half the hot mixture into eggs to temper them.  Put back into hot mixture in saucepan and boil and stir 1 more minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into pie shell. Press plastic wrap onto filling. Refrigerate 2 hours or until set.  Top with whipped cream.

We had a little extra pie crust mix so we baked it separately and added it to the top of the pie!

Beautiful and delicious!

On another note…even beyond the fun of spending time with family, eating good food and yummy treats, I’m so thankful for the real reason we celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  What a wonderful weekend this has been remembering how blessed I am because of my faith in Him and that He lives.

Wow your guest this Easter

March 27, 2010

I am a big fan of carrot cake.  I can’t imagine Easter dessert without it.  I mean what would the Easter Bunny say?  Because of that, one of my April specials at The Sugar Moon is a carrot cake that is sure to please the Easter Bunny and all the rest of your guests.  It’s just regular, very moist and very tasty carrot cake, but it’s decorated with candied carrot strips.  Yes that’s right…candied carrot strips.  I wish I was a better photographer because the pictures truly do not do this cake justice.  It is just beautiful.   If you’ve never had a candied carrot strip, you should get this cake just to try them!  What does Rachel say?  Yumm-O!

Check out my website specials this month for all the ordering information.  It will be a perfect compliment to your Easter dinner and you’ll definitely make a lasting impression on your Easter guests!

More Sugar Cookies

March 26, 2010

Here at the Sugar Moon we make a lot of yummy things but what continues to be the big seller are my sugar cookies (thanks to my secret recipe)!  I had an order for an 8 year old birthday party. I think they turned out really cute.

I usually just ice them with a powdered sugar glaze but on these I used a royal icing instead.  It’s just easier to use when getting a little more creative with the decorating. The taste of the frosting is a little different, but still delicious.

I’m excited to do more of these kinds of cookies in different shapes.  They were really fun to make!

The World’s Best Banana Bread!

March 24, 2010

One of the things I pride myself on in my baking life is my ability to find the best recipes.  I feel like I have a good “pallet” and I guess that’s one of the reasons my baking works.  So do not doubt me when I say…I have found the world’s best banana bread recipe (at least the best of all the ones I’ve tried so far).  It has a crispy texture on the outside and a soft banana-y inside.

I haven’t been eating sweets this week because of a contest with some friends.  So as my replacement (I know that’s not the point, but I had to do something), I made some banana bread yumminess and  although I won’t share the actual bread with you because I can actually eat all three MINI loaves myself, I am going to share the recipe with you!

Oh and if by some small chance someone out there tries this bread and thinks he/she has a better recipe, please send it to me.  I’d love to try it!

Old-Fashion Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

2 large, brown bananas!

In a large bowl of the mixer beat together the egg, oil, sugar and banana.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix until combined.  Pour into either one 9×13 greased loaf pan or 3 small loaf pans.  Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out  clean.  Take bread out of loaf pans onto a cooling rack.  Let it cool at least ten minutes an thenenjoy!

So easy!  And here’s a tip: If like me, you always end up with a few bananas well past the eating raw stage, take them out of the peel, cut them into large chunks and stick them in a freezer bag. Label how many bananas are in there and whenever you need bananas for any recipe you will have them ready to thaw and add.  When they defrost, you don’t even need to mash them.  They are soft enough to just throw them in the recipe!

A Sugar Moon Easter Special

March 24, 2010

It’s time to start planning our Easter menu (less than 2 weeks left) and of course the only thing more important than the Ham is the dessert…or maybe the dessert is the most important thing.  It’s what we all look forward to and the right dessert can make such a big impact!  On The Sugar Moon website for April the specials are going to be an amazing carrot cake that I will post a picture of in a few days and these wonderful Carrot Cookies!

The cookie itself has real carrots in it and a hint of orange and the glaze is all orange juice (freshly squeezed of course) and powdered sugar with a little bit of orange zest.  What a wonderful compliment these cookies would be to any Easter dessert.  And wouldn’t the Easter Bunny be happy!  Plus, I think if you eat enough of them you can actually count them as a vegetable!