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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Peach Spice Cake

So way back in August, I had a basket full of peaches fresh from the orchard that were tempting me from the counter.  I had many plans for them initially, peach cobbler, peach kolaches, peach pie, etc.  This peach spice cake wasn't on the list but as I was perusing a new cookbook that I picked up at The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, GA while we were on vacation, I found a recipe for Fresh Pear Cake that sounded delicious.  Paula Deen can generally be trusted for baked goods so I didn't hesitate for too long before deciding to make this.  But not with pears and a bit of a doctored spice mixture - mostly because I'm not really a big pear fan and I really like ginger with peaches.  I also subbed applesauce for oil because everyone knows Paula's recipes can usually stand to cut out a few calories.  Yes peach season has passed... but you could sub apples for peaches and this would be delicious as well.

Peach Spice Cake
Adapted from The Lady and Sons: Just Desserts

2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups peeled, pitted, and diced peaches

2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a bundt pan with baking spray or butter and flour.

Combine sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice in a large bowl.  Add the oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla and mix well.  Gently fold in peaches.  Pour mixture into pan and bake for approximately 1 - 1 1/4 hours until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool about ten minutes in the pan and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Before serving, combine cream cheese, milk and powdered sugar and whip in a mixing bowl to make a thick glaze.  Pour over the cake.  The glaze should coat a spoon but still run down the sides of the cake.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple Cranberry Bars

It's fall!  I'm so excited... I love the crisp fall air, a reason to wear boots and sweaters and apples!  Apples are everywhere these days, and we went and picked tons of them so I've been making lots of apple things lately.  I found this recipe one night while skimming through an old cookbook called Great Food Great Beer - it's actually a beer pairing book from Anheuser-Busch but it has some good recipes.  Of course, this started out as an apple pecan date bar but I didn't have any dates or pecans and decided to double the apples and increased the citrus, etc... you know some minor modifications to basically just make a completely different dessert.  The point however, is that these are absolutely delicious and take about 10 minutes to put together so go do it, you can thank me later.

Apple Cranberry Bars
Adapted from Great Food Great Beer

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
7 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
3 large apples, chopped into small pieces
1 T lime juice (you can use lemon if you prefer), plus 1 tsp zest
1/2 - 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 T milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter a 13x9" baking dish.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.

In another large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and egg whites, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add applesauce and vanilla.  Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Chop apples, you don't need to peel them but you can if you prefer.  Toss with lime juice and zest and add to batter along with the cranberries.  Stir gently to incorporate and transfer batter to prepared baking dish.

Bake about one hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  The bars will puff up in the oven but settle a bit as they cool, becoming more dense.  Cool completely.

Whisk together powdered sugar and milk to make a glaze.  Drizzle over the pan and cut into pieces.  If you can't wait until they are cool, don't worry they are perfect warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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