Monday, June 2, 2014

Paco's Apple Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Icing

Inspired by the strawberry cake I've been making with chunks of sliced strawberries in the batter AND by my friend's love for apples, I've come up with an apple cake. Super easy and fool proof, I had my 11 year old son make the cake part.

Preheat oven: 350°F
Prep time: 10-20 minutes
Baking time: 25-30 minutes


5 Granny Smith apples-peeled, cored, sliced and cut into quarters
1 box of French Vanilla Cake mix
3 eggs
½ c olive oil
¾ c water - if using canned apples, use juice
2 tsp cinnamon

Caramel Cream Cheese Icing:
½ c packed light brown sugar
⅓ c heavy whipping cream
¼ c butter-room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
1 box of cream cheese (8oz)
½ c sliced almonds (optional garnish for icing)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel, core, slice, and quarter apples using an apple/peeler/corer. Place in a bowl with water and a dash of lemon juice to keep from browning.

In a stand mixer with a flat paddle, add cake mix, cinnamon, eggs, oil & water (water from the soaking apples will work). Mix on low-med speed until lump free, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Fold in drained apples using a wooden spoon.

Spray a 9"x13" baking dish or bundt pan with baking spray. Pour cake batter into dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling, dissolve brown sugar, butter and whipping cream in a small sauce pan on low-med heat, stirring constantly. Once sugar and butter is dissolved, continue to cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and let cool to touch.

While caramel is cooling, in a stand mixer using a wire whisk attachment, mix on low-med speed:  powdered sugar and cream cheese, scraping and poking cheese out of the whisk occasionally, about 3-5 minutes. Add slightly cooled caramel to cream cheese/powdered sugar and continue to mix in the stand mixer until blended and no lumps.

Pour icing onto cooled cake and garnish with almonds.

Refrigerate cake. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving.

Summer 1975 Strawberry Cake

Taken from the Imperial 150th Anniversary Cook Book and altered a little bit. All I have of this recipe is a picture taken of a photocopy from a magazine. I have yet to find this recipe in digital form.

1 package of french vanilla OR white cake mix
3 tablespoons of flour
3 eggs
¾ cup cooking oil
¾ cup water
1 (3oz) package of strawberry gelatin
1-2 cup(s) frozen or fresh sliced strawberries

Combine ingredients in stand mixer and mix well using the flat mixer attachment. Pour into bundt pan sprayed with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Strawberry Sauce:
1 pound of frozen or fresh sliced strawberries
⅓ c of water if using fresh
½ c of sugar

Combine in bowl until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whipped Topping:
1 quart of heavy whipping cream
1¼ cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Pour heavy whipping cream into stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until cream becomes stiff (if you stop too soon, whipped cream may become runny after you add sugar and vanilla). Add sugar and vanilla and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Store in a large bowl and can be frozen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paco's Meatloaf

The last time I made meatloaf, it came out really tuff and I was wondering what I had done wrong. My friend told me that I had mixed it too long. Well, that's how I learned... mix the meat and crumbs using my hands as I squeezed it. I looked at some other recipes online and they stated that you should be sure not to squeeze it. So, for this recipe, I thought of my KitchenAid mixer. It worked wonderfully!

1-5oz bag of crushed seasoned croutons~Rothbury Farms
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic salt
½ c green onions
1 c diced mushrooms
1 c sour cream
1 egg
2 lbs lean ground beef
About 1 tbls Worcestershire sauce

About ½ to ¾ c ketchup
Equal amount of granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Smash croutons using a rolling pin. Add croutons, onions, salt, garlic salt, diced mushrooms to stand mixer bowl. Mix using the paddle attachment. Add sour cream & egg. Break up beef into about 1 inch chunks and place onto top of sour cream and egg. Set stand mixer to slowest setting, add Worcestershire sauce around the bowl and mix until evenly mixed; about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stop mixer, flip over meat mixture. If there is still a large concentration of any one ingredient, mix again for anther 30 seconds.

Spread out into a greased 9½" x 7½" x 3" glass casserole dish or a dish you prefer. Bake for 45* minutes. While it is baking, mix the ketchup and sugar and set aside.

Once the loaf has baked for 45* minutes or until internal temp is about 140°F, pour ketchup onto the top of meatloaf and spread it out evenly. Replace pan into oven and bake for an additional 10* minutes or until internal temp is 155°F. For the final caramelising of the glaze, broil the pan for 2 to 3 minutes or until you see a ton of tiny bubbles in the glaze. Let rest for 10 minutes once you remove it from the oven.

*Remember, if you use a larger pan, cooking time would be less or if you use a smaller pan, cooking time is longer.