Fall baking; it’s apple time!
Fall and baking just seem to go together. Fall baking is just a tasty way to use our ovens to warm up our homes. Delay turning on that furnace for the first time and allow the aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, apples, pumpkin, and cloves to contribute to the memories of the changing season.
Below is a recipe that can either be an apple cake or, with a few adjustments, pumpkin cake. It started as an old Better Homes and Gardens cookie recipe that has been simplified and adjusted through the years to produce one of the most moist sheet cakes that I’ve tasted. Add cream cheese frosting and it’s heaven!
The instructions will also incorporate a simple caterer’s technique. Preparation of individual dessert bites which will enhance the presentation of your baked goods and simplify serving. You will offer tasting portions for your family and guests and eliminate the need to cut and serve at your next party.
Apple Cake Bites
Preheat 350 degrees
2 cups all purpose flour1-1/2 cups sugar2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon baking soda¼ teaspoon salt2 teaspoons ground cinnamon¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 beaten eggs1 16-18-ounce bottle chunky-home-style applesauce*1 cup cooking oil
Stir all the dry ingredients in one large mixing bowl.
Stir all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl and then add to the dry ingredients. Stir just until everything is combined.
Spread batter into a greased 15 x 10 x 2 inch pan. Cook 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool.
* Make sure it is chunky applesauce. If you prefer to make a pumpkin cake, add a 16-ounce can pumpkin instead of the applesauce.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-oz cream cheese (softened)½ lb butter (softened)2 teaspoons vanilla3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar **
Beat together the softened cream cheese and butter with the vanilla. Once fluffy, gradually add enough powered sugar to taste.
** I like to prepare cream cheese frosting to individual taste - adjust powered sugar accordingly.
Individual Serving Technique
I’m spilling a caterer’s secret! Make individual, small portion servings! These individual servings allow easy display on your serving platters. You could mix and match bites with one of other favorites (i.e., chocolate cake, brownies, miniature tarts) and it allows for easy handling of the treats for your guests. And, most importantly, quick cleaning afterwards!
Invest in nested biscuit cutters (Wilton is a good choice) as you will have several different sizes to work with. Also have several different size paper cupcake holders on hand. Be creative and pipe the frosting on the individual bites.
As far as the leftover scraps - Well now the baker can taste the creation to ensure its culinary worthiness. Once that is ensured, the scraps could be combined with the leftover frosting formed in balls and rolled in your choice (powered chocolate, cinnamon sugar, ground nuts, etc) and placed in the small cupcake holders as cake balls. You just might be surprised at the compliments you get on the cake balls!