Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake

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I’ve been thinking about this cake for over 3 months, ever since Thanksgiving. I had a large bounty of apples that I’d picked up from the Farmer’s Market and was looking for desserts to make. And Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect opportunity because I can usually make a few different desserts!

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For the last few years, the boyfriend and I have been hosting a left-behind Thanksgiving dinner, but since we had plans with his family last year, we hosted a Secondsgiving over the following weekend. Usually, I take care of the turkey and the desserts, which are my two favourite parts. But last year, other friends who host a left-behind dinner bought over all their leftover dessert… So I didn’t need to bake anything!

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While I had mixed feelings about not being able to make all the desserts, it was a nice change of pace to be able to focus on savories and sides. But then I never got the chance to make the Caramel Apple Upside-down Cake! After 3 months, I finally found the right time!

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The cake starts with a layer of sliced apples coated in a quick caramel sauce. A fluffy cinnamon cake is baked on top of the apples, and the whole thing is inverted onto a serving platter. The caramel cooks the apples and creates a gooey layer on top of the cake, with a light caramel taste. To boost the caramel flavor, serve the cake with extra caramel sauce!

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One thing to note when baking this cake is to use extra-wide aluminum foil to cover the bottom of your springform pan, and place a large cookie sheet on the rack below the cake. Springform pans have a tendency to leak slightly, so you’ll want the pan there to catch any drippings! Otherwise, you’ll panic when smoke starts pouring out of your oven, like I did… 😛

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

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Banana-Blueberry Muffins

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It’s kind of serendipitous that I’m posting a banana recipe today. Yesterday, I submitted my recipe for Banana Blondies to Serious Eats’ “Share Your Sweets” weekly column. And since looking back on that recipe, I can’t get those Blondies out of my head! (Mostly because they would be so perfect right now to invoke the feeling of Spring and shake off this cold and dreary winter.)

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As I’d confessed in my Blondies post, I’m a banana hoarder. I love bananas, but there’s a small window in which I’ll eat them before they end up in the “banana wasteland”. Then I save them for baking. Because of my banana surplus, I’ve come up with a few really good recipes over last few years. And now I have one more to add to the list!

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I threw together these muffins on a whim last week, when I had a jar of mashed banana and a quart of blueberries in the fridge and a hankering for blueberry muffins. And they turned out okay… The flavor was there, but they were dense and chewy. So I went back to the recipe I scribbled out and tweaked a few things.

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And the result was a perfect muffin: not too sweet, fluffy but substantial, and loaded with blueberries. They’re also pretty low in fat (with only a small amount coming from sour cream) and egg-free. You can also make them dairy-free by using vegan sour cream (made with tofu) or soy yoghurt!

Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂

Download the recipe!

Banana Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

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I know I’ve mentioned it a few times now, but I always over-buy bananas. I forget to eat them, and they start to brown up on top of my fridge. But I hate to throw them away, so I’m always looking for new and creative ways to use up the overripe bananas! This time, in comes the Banana Bundt Cake!

This cake is dense like a proper Bundt cake but still moist and delicious from all of the banana puree. This cake is very simple, so I decided to spice it up a bit with a cinnamon glaze, which pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the cake.

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One quick thing to note: make sure you grease your Bundt pan REALLY well! The first time I tried making this cake, I only used a little bit of butter to grease my “non-stick” Bundt pan, and the top of the cake stuck to the pan and was sadly ruined… So coat your Bundt pan with a good amount of baking spray, making sure to get in any nooks and crevices! 

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Banana Blondies

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As most of my friends know, I am a banana hoarder. I buy bananas every week at the grocery store but frequently forget to eat them. This “problem” has been somewhat solved since the boyfriend and I moved in together because he’ll eat the yellow bananas that I won’t touch. (Like my grandfather, I need some green on my bananas!) But even he has limits…

I hate throwing away perfectly good food, so I keep bananas around long past their prime. I hide them above the fridge until the brown spots take over and stash them in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to turn them in to, usually, Banana Bread. But, this time, I wanted to do something different!

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So I tweaked a normal Blondie recipe to include a hearty amount of banana! I replaced the normal chocolate chips with white chocolate and added some toasted macadamia nuts. And the result is absolutely magical!

I’ve made this recipe twice now, and my Banana Blondies have been devoured both times. Even the boyfriend loves them, and he doesn’t even like white chocolate!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂 Continue reading

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Banana Chocolate-Chip Cookies

To preface this post, I am not vegan. I do this in case it’s not obvious in some of my earlier posts about foods that are definitely NOT-vegan… But I do have several friends who are vegan, and I like to cook/bake for them when I can. (I do the same for my friends who are gluten-intolerant, so I promise that some gluten-free recipes will be coming too!)

I first made these cookies to hand out at my first regional Burn. I’d made about 500 cookies to gift over the weekend, and I wanted to make sure my vegan friends didn’t feel left out. After that, these cookies became my go-to vegan recipe because they are amazing, whether you are vegan or not! They are like little banana bread cookies: crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and loaded with chocolate chips!

It’s been over two years since I first made these cookies, based on a recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Since then, the recipe has evolved, as has my education on cooking and baking vegan. Personally, I sometimes gravitate towards vegan foods because I’m severely lactose intolerant, and vegan foods are frequently the only way I can ensure no tummy troubles later in the day…

A few important things to remember about this recipe:

  • The more disgusting your bananas look, the tastier they are! I like to let my bananas turn mostly black, and then I stick them in the fridge until I’m ready to use them. It looks and feels gross, but the extra kick of banana flavor is totally worth it!
  • Make sure you use quick-cooking oats or rolled oats and not instant/minute oatmeal.
  • Vegan chocolate chips are getting easier to find. Personally, I use this variety from Enjoy Life, which I first found at Whole Foods. (They’re now also carried by my local Target!) I’ve tried a few other brands of vegan chocolate and carob chips, and these are my favorite!
  • If you’re not concerned about making the cookies totally vegan, you can use white sugar and regular miniature chocolate chips. Vegan or not, they’re super-tasty!

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Banana Bread

Banana bread has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. As a kid, I remember my mom always keeping a bread basket of over-ripe bananas above the fridge to use for banana bread or banana chocolate chip muffins. As an adult, I got in to the bad habit of buying bananas, and then forgetting to eat them. And that’s when banana bread became one of my favorite go-to recipes. (Although now I buy slightly splotchy bananas on purpose and save them for banana bread…)

I love bringing banana bread to work or an early morning get-together with friends. It’s moist and delicious, with a strong banana flavor. And as the boyfriend’s former roommate once told me after she went to put cream cheese on a slice for breakfast, “this is Emily’s banana bread, it doesn’t need any stinking cream cheese!” (Which, by the way, was one of my favorite compliments to date!)

The secret to this recipe is to keep bananas long past the point of wanting to throw them away. The best flavor comes when the bananas are so brown that they’re almost black. If they’re squishy on the inside (not bruised), that’s even better. Just don’t let them grow mold, and watch for signs that they have cuts in the peel because you don’t want to attract fruit flies.

Banana bread is best served the day after you bake it and will last in a sealed container for about a week. If you have extra bananas on hand, the recipe doubles beautifully. Just be sure to space them at least 6 inches apart to allow heat to circulate in your oven. And if you don’t like pecans, you can substitute walnuts or even chocolate chips! 😀

Click below for the recipe. Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! 🙂

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