Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

It’s officially been fall for over a week so I’m not sure why I’ve waited so long to share this amazing recipe.

Fall is my favorite. Why? Well, there are a few things that I love about it…

Corn Harvest 2013

Corn Harvest 2013

  • Beautiful weather-I could live in a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans
  • Harvest-the fields look absolutely beautiful and it smells amazing!
  • Canning and freezing-tomatoes, salsa, spaghetti sauce, apple sauce, jalapeno pepper jelly, corn, beans, and carrots (ok some of those happen in summer, but still…)
  • and APPLES!! (which I love to eat with peanut butter!)

So here is the deal, I have an incredible recipe for you, and by incredible I mean divinely scrumptious. Trust me, you are going to want to make this one and then keep the recipe close by. I made this less then 6 hours ago and there are 3 pieces left out of a 9×13 pan. Did I mention it is EASY to make.

Apple Cake

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

  • 4 cups diced apples
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place diced apples in a large bowl and stir in eggs.

Add sugar, oil, cinnamon and nuts.

Apple Cake

Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to apple mixture. Stir well.

Apple Cake

Bake in a 9×13 pan for 45 minutes.

Apple Cake

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cream or half & half
  • 1 heaping Tbls flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients, except vanilla.

Caramel Sauce

Caramel Sauce

Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds, until thickened, stirring constantly.

Caramel Sauce

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm over cake. Refrigerate leftovers.

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

 

I hope you enjoy the cake, please leave a comment and tell me how it was! 

August: Fairs and 4-H

I’m not sure where August went but it is officially September. I didn’t mean to take an entire month off from blogging but it has been a crazy month; sorry for leaving you all hanging.

August is a busy month for my husband and I with many visits to county fairs and then the Great Minnesota Get Together (or Sweat Together as we like to call it).  Check out the photos below for an idea of what we’ve been up to.

Both my husband and I were 4-H members and believe the 4-H program teaches a multitude of skills and facilitates life long friendships.

Here is a partial list of the things that 4-H taught or provided us:

  • work hard/play hard
  • how to loose gracefully and win humbly
  • sportsmanship
  • how to ask for help and give help to others
  • responsibility
  • about life and death
  • camaraderie
  • social skills
  • life skills (i.e. interviewing, public speaking, record keeping)
  • develop hobbies by learning what you like and dislike
  • meet life long friends
  • ability to make quick decisions and defend your decisions
  • passion for bettering yourself, 4-H, and your community
  • pride in your self and your projects

There are so many other things that I could put on this list but it might take me a long time to finish.  If you are interested in finding out more about 4-H in your state check out the 4-H website or if you are interested in volunteering.  4-H isn’t just for farm kids either, there are a large number of projects that are not livestock related that any kid can participate in like photography, cooking, clothing, woods, and gardening.

Here are a few photos of what we have been up to this past month:

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Its zucchini season, in case you missed it, and here is another one of my favorite zucchini recipes. Not just one of my favorites, but one of my husbands too!

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Caution: this cake is addicting and requires a glass a milk.

Zucchini Chocolate Cake:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and oil until creamy. Add dry mixture to creamy mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Add zucchini. Bake at 325° for 45-55 minutes in a 9×13 greased pan.

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Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add cocoa and vanilla. Beat in 2 cups powdered sugar adding 2 Tbs milk. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

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What are some of your favorite zucchini recipes? Please share!

Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Its zucchini season. Full blown zucchini season. In the last week and a half I’ve picked 6 of them. As my husband likes to say, “we have zucchini coming out of place zucchini shouldn’t be coming out of.”

I’m a big fan of desserts and I try hard to eat them in moderation which is why my desserts are usually made in the evening and sent with the hubby to the farm or they go to work with me for my co-workers to eat up.

With a couple of my zucchini picked last week I made Zucchini Barns with Cream Cheese Frosting. I took these to work with me and the 11×17 pan didn’t last long! These bars are extremely easy to make and always turn out! They are moist and the frosting is so creamy and scrumptious!

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Zucchini Bars:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup oil (or 1/2 cup apple sauce and 1/2 cup oil)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Mix eggs, oil, and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder and soda. Stir in zucchini. Pour into a greased 11″x17″ jelly roll pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes; top should be brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tbs milk
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients with a mixer until well combined.

(I usually double the frosting for this recipe, because I LOVE cream cheese frosting!)

Enjoy and leave a note on what you thought of them!

Garden: Prep Work

The weather this weekend was BEAUTIFUL! Finally. We have been waiting a long time for it to warm up some and it looks like the warm weather was just a teaser with the possibility of snow on Thursday. Regardless of what the weatherman is forecasting  I wanted to get out and start some prep work on my garden.

When we bought our house there was already a garden in the back yard. It was overgrown and full of weeds; this will be the 3rd year we will have a garden at our house and it has taken of bit of work to get it going.

The first year our garden did not produce well, so farmer husband and I decided to do a soil test. We took our soil sample after harvest that fall and sent it off to the test lab. Results indicated our soil type was high in clay, which we figured, and low in nitrogen.

The next spring we were able to get soil off of peat ground. This soil has a lot of organic material and is a light soil type; we determined this would help the soil mixture in our garden and provide a better seed bed and growing condition for our crops. In addition to the peat ground, my husband also brought home some rabbit manure from the farm for fertilizer. If I would have said yes, my husband would have brought home liquid hog manure to fertilize the garden with but I was more then happy with the rabbit manure. Our harvest that year was much better then the prior year and we got the weeds under control using corn gluten meal.

Garden Pre Tillage

Garden Pre Tillage

This year we are repeating our fertilizer plan and applied a 5 gallon pail of manure to the garden and worked it in. I’ve bought all my seeds and purchased tomato and pepper plants. I tried starting my tomato plants from seed the first two years and it just didn’t work out well so I pay a bit extra to get plants that have been started so I know they will produce.

The garden is only 11.5′ x 14′ so its not tremendously large but it is adequate for Kyle and I.

Garden Post Tillage

Garden Post Tillage

This year we plan on planting:

  • 4 tomato plants
  • 2 green pepper plants
  • 2 jalapeno plants
  • carrots
  • green beans, bush
  • beets
  • spinach
  • Mesclun salad mix
  • 1 mound of zucchini
  • potatoes, above ground

Additionally, we have raspberries planted in the garden and a small patch of rhubarb in the corner of our yard.

Yes, this is a fair amount of stuff to plant in our small garden  but it works out quite well. The distance between rows is minimal but it cuts down on weeding, one of my least favorite jobs. Hopefully it will warm up soon so I can plant my garden!

The best part is eating the produce year round, we freeze a lot of carrots and beans and can salsa and tomatoes for year round feasting.  Another great part of having my garden is being able to share produce with others. The neighbor lady has a daycare and I am affectionately know as “Garden Lady” to some of the daycare kids, they enjoy coming over to see what I’m doing and even eat some of the veggies!

Do you have a garden, what are you planting this year and what is your favorite part of having a garden?