Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Orange Scented Apple Coffee Cake

It's true, I have a real soft spot for apple cakes, most any kind really... tarts, coffee cakes, pound, strudel's, brioche, pies... There is however one catch, it has to be homemade, I really cannot stand store bought apple treats. Here is one of my yearly made apple cakes.

3 cups flour
1 2/4 cups sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 ts salt
grated zest of an orange or 1 ts orange extract
1 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of orange juice

4 cups of cored, peeled and roughly chopped apples (4-5 apples)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)
    Preheat the oven to 375. Butter and flour (or spray) your pan, a bunt pan is ideal. Zest you oranges. I used five small oranges, but if you don't care for that much use one.
    Peel, core and chop your apples in a medium sized bowl.
    Add cinnamon and brown sugar and set to the side. If you are using nuts, add them as well.
    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and grated orange zest in a medium sized bowl and set to the side.
    Cream the eggs and oil for two to three minutes until thick and creamy.
    Next add the flour mixture and orange juice to the eggs and oil.
    Beat until all ingredients are well combined, but don't over mix your cake otherwise you will make a tough batter, forming unwanted gluten.
    Pour half of the cake batter into the pan. Smooth out.
    Top with the apple mixture as evenly as possible.
    Add the rest of the cake batter and smooth out again.
    Cook for an hour, then cover lightly with a piece of foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes until a skewer  inserted comes out clean.
    Cool for one hour in the pan then flip out onto a rack and finish cooling for another hour.
    Cut and Serve! You can sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar if you would like, or just leave it as is.


    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    Mini Stuffed Loafs

    This Ramadan has been a bit crazy, or maybe I should say challenging. I gave birth a few weeks ago to our fifth child, and am trying to keep up with three toddlers, while falling in love with our new baby and attempting to maintain our home which includes cooking, cleaning and general organizational skills. I am not complaining but being creative in the kitchen has taken a back seat to the rest of what's going on. I miss cooking and baking. I made a lovely cake a few days ago, and another one for one of my best friends yesterday... completely forgot to take photos.

    Here is what we will eat with our soup tonight.


    Your favorite bread dough, pizza dough, foccacia recipe will do for this and whatever stuffing you would prefer. I didn't follow a recipe today as chasing around the children and cooking sometimes lead me to eye ball things.

    • 2 cups of whole wheat flour

    • 1 cup of white all purpose flour

    • ts salt

    • ts sugar

    • ts yeast

    • Chicken breasts seasoned with cumin, salt, black pepper and lightly cooked in extra virgin olive oil. Of course, I added cheese ... cream cheese.
    Proof your yeast with warm water and a teaspoon of sugar.

    Add all of your dry ingredients, salt being the last as it kills yeast.

    Slowly incorporate all of the ingredients, I used my mixer, free hands are needed with small children. Then add water slowly until you have the consistency that you desire.

    Coat with oil and let it double in the oven, covered with a kitchen towel.

    Cook your chicken with the spices in olive oil and let it cool off, covered on the counter top or in the fridge.

    After the dough has almost doubled, gently deflate divide. Let rest for ten minute then shape as you like.

    I didn't take any pictures of shaping and rolling up these little treats... Any shape works great.


    Thursday, September 4, 2008