Apple Pie in a Cake – Caramel Apple Cake

The timeless smell and tangy taste of apple pie. You know fall has arrived when apple treats begin to spawn all around; candied apples, caramel apples, apple pie, apple turnover and of course apple cider. An apple treat that I stumbled across in my cookbooks over the summer resulted in a crowd pleasing favorite. Imagine apple pie made into a cake. Whimsy prompted me to choose this recipe for which I had never tried prior to the Fourth of July holiday and has since become the most requested meal of a dessert.

Not only was this apple pie in a cake, but this beauty is also gluten and dairy free. One of the many recipes I have modified for my best friend if we are to partake in gluttonous activities together.

If you are a fan of crumb cake, coffee cake, apple pie and or all of the above then this recipe is for you and surely to become a hit for whatever event you plan to cater. Most recently I was called upon by my husband and son to subject a gaggle of six and seven year old boy scouts (and their dads) to my creation. Wanting to exceed their wildest expectations I modified the recipe even further.

apple cake, apple pie, apple pie in a cakeWhile the recipe calls for 3 peeled and cored apples I went a step further, as I did in my original rendering, and used 4-5 medium-large apples. The more sour the more sweet the cake is as well, so I chose some of the finest organic granny smith’s this go around. Doing so results in a mouth orgasm of epic proportions as the moisture of the apples wicks into the batter for a moderately viscous, tender cake treat. Pretty much the cake melts in your mouth for anyone lacking imagination.

Choosing not to peel my apples as well because I think the skin adds a natural beauty, crunch if exposed just right at the crust while baking, plus I would rather not waste some of the best parts of the apple. I also did not core my apples but opted to chop and then clean up the flesh housing the seeds, again not wanting to waste precious apple.

Prep your pans by misting with non-stick spray and dusting lightly with flour. Again, I modified this from the original recipe as I was catering to a citizenry of boy scouts and their fathers (my husband and son included) so we opted for cupcakes. The original will call for a tube pan.

apples, granny smith apples, chopped applesDuring my chopping session which yields a great amount of pleasure and stress relief, our oven is becoming moderately warm (325*F). Prepping two bowls, one for mixing and one for the apples I start to combine some of our ingredients.

Entertaining two bowls in the baking process is helpful if you will be looking to sift flour, as you are combining and allowing certain ingredients to mix; the sifting can be performed during this time to maximize aeration of your dry ingredients. In my first bowl I have three (3) eggs that have been resting at room temperature, I can achieve a great amount of whip and volume in our cake using this logic. At this point I have only added half of the called for granulated sugar, three quarters of one cup (total recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of sugar), to our eggs. The other half has been sprinkled and tossed about in our apples. Why? You ask. The sugar will coat our apples and wick out the juices creating a wonderful glaze and aqueous rendering.

Continuing to beat our eggs…at a medium pace…add in 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil, I opt for 1 cup of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of olive oil for the moisture. You may do as you wish and choose the full amount of either. Still mixing, fold in a half cup of packed, light brown sugar. When the mixture is smooth and creamy pour in the vanilla extract one teaspoon at a time for a total of two. Your wet ingredients should resemble a caramel color and be ready for the apple infusion; slowly add the apples to your partially completed batter, the chunks will cause bumps in the blending process however they will begin to coalesce.

apple cupcakes, crumb cakeLastly our dry components to our apple masterpiece. I mentioned gluten free so hold onto your shorts before they get into a bunch. Gluten free doesn’t always have to taste like cardboard and in fact you could use standard flour, again, I like to not eat alone just as alcoholics like to drink with a crowd. Using your finest sieve filter together two (2) teaspoons of cinnamon, one half (1/2) teaspoon of nutmeg, one (1) teaspoon of baking soda and three (3) cups of flour. I modified mine, using 1c coconut flour and 2c Pamela’s Artisan flour.

Slowly fold in these final elements until well blended. Your mixture should be a bit sticky, partially lumpy with your apples, yet exuding an awesomeness in aroma before even hitting the oven.

Using cupcake pans cut my cook time in almost half, bake these beauties until the top springs back when lightly pressed with your finger. Please do so with caution…I would rather not be held liable for your burns and shortcomings. If using a tube pan, prepare for 75-80 minutes if you would like to use a traditional timer, if going for cupcakes, allow at least 30-35 minutes. Cool for 25 minutes (for tube pan) and 5-10 minutes for cupcakes and transfer to a wire rack.

Finishing touches should be a caramel glaze:

3 T: butter, granulated (or turbinado) sugar, brown sugar, heavy (whipping) cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Boil for a minute and remove from heat and spoon over the cake.

My finishing touch, again…modified was a cream cheese caramel glaze. Using the caramel glaze above, substituting milk for the cream and blending while still hot with two (2) ounces of cream cheese and one cup of powdered sugar.

Most excellent with coffee. ENJOY!

Chicken Chorizo Recipe

spices, seasonings

Many of you may have read my post about Sweet Potato Hash and Scrambled Eggs. Inside that post I boasted about some amazing chicken chorizo I have picked up from my local butcher at Sprouts market. I love chicken chorizo. Heck I tend to favor all chorizo. As a native to Arizona and the southwest if I did not have an affection for spicy culinary dishes I might begin to question my authenticity. For those of you who love the taste of the southwest like I do, but may not have the resources at your local butcher to obtain these goods I am going to assist you in your culinary quest to obtain the needed ingredients to make your very own chicken chorizo recipe, a deliciously authentic version of a famed spicy, southwest sausage.

ground meat, ground chicken, kitchen aid grinderWhat you will need to start with is chicken. As little as one pound of chicken should do it and you can have it as a mixture of ground chicken breast and chicken thighs. Call me sexist but I love some really good thighs; tender, juicy, and full of amazing flavor. Your local butcher can also assist you in this as he might be doing the majority of the work for you. However, if you happen to have a meat grinder at home, voila, you can accomplish this at home on your own. The butcher will be more than happy to grind this for you upon your request, they are one of the least utilized experts in stores. If you can wrangle a butcher they will share with you a great deal of secrets, if you befriend one, well then you have additional added benefits.

One you have your ground chicken this is where the fun begins, we will begin to season said chicken with the chorizo mixture. You see chorizo is just the smorgasbord of spices used to season the meat, think adobo. Here are the warm spices that will really kick up your chorizo and provide an amazing flavor. I prefer organic, but the list is all the same:

Chorizo Seasoning Recipe Ingredients List


1 tsp Ancho chili
3/4 tsp sweet paprikaspices, seasonings, Chorizo spices, chorizo recipe
1/2 tsp coriander or cumin
4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 clove
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
(you can use Sea Salt, I love pink salt for all the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and the taste is very mild and adds a sumthin-sumthin to your cooking)
1 tsp garlic
(you can opt for fresh diced 3 cloves if you like, this really deepens the flavor)

Now that you have all these fabulous ingredients you will need to mix them altogether. Again, I am a bit old fashioned and I buy some of my seasons whole, a mortar and pestle will be your greatest ally to grind these amazing flavors together. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, reach for your food processor to grind away. Be sure not to heat these up or you will lose integrity with the flavor. Once all of your seasonings are fully blended together we will add to the meat. Again if you are grinding at home with a meat grinder lets go ahead and grind, while the rest of us who have opted for the butcher to do our dirty work, we will be elbow deep in meat. If you have an aversion to touching raw meat please grab some marigolds.

chicken chorizo, chicken, chorizoLightly sprinkle the seasonings across the top of the meat, leave some aside as you will begin to turn the meat and sprinkle alternately so that all of your chicken is evenly coated. Continue to do this until all of your meat is thoroughly covered and mixed together. Feel free to continue to mix if need be to ensure all of your chicken is clad in these warm spices. Once you have encased all of the meat in the chorizo seasoning mix, place in a separate container to be refrigerated overnight. Your seasonings will begin to soak in and enhance the chicken for that authentic chorizo taste. You can roll into a ball and wrap with saran wrap, butcher paper, freezer paper, or place in Tupperware. After sitting at least overnight, we prefer a solid 24 hours, your chicken chorizo is ready to serve up.

Cook the chicken as you would any other normal ground meat product. Be sure to apply traditional food safety so that the chicken is cooked thoroughly or at least 165 degrees.

Sweet Potato Hash and Scrambled Eggs

Sprouts, Sprouts Farmers Market

Breakfast is by far my most favorite meal of the day. I wake up starving. Sounds completely foreign to most, but honestly I have trained my body to eat within the first hour of waking. For you fitness guru’s – fist and chest bump. Carbs are also a devilish delight, but when you are eating clean certain carbohydrates are totally off limits and not friendly to your food regimen. I personally love me some beak filling carbohydrates. Toast…bane of my breakfast existence. Roasted potatoes and eggs…a close second for some fabulous food to nosh on with my coffee. Best of both worlds is sweet potato hash and scrambled egg whites, coupled with chicken chorizo.

So last night while contemplating what to whip up for dinner I opted for brinner (breakfast+dinner). I knew I had a tough crowd to serve, The Chad and my four footers. Each of the four foot people provided little feedback as to my culinary adventure for menu options of the evening. Being the head of household, or I’m delusional enough to believe so, I opted for brinner. Luckily I had all my ingredients ready. A trip to my local Sprouts just a few days prior proved fruitful as I picked up a fresh batch of chicken chorizo. If you have yet to try some, please do so. Rivaling the traditional pork and beef chorizo the chicken has amazing flavor and leaner. Great for those calorie counters and clean eaters like myself, no added sugars or fats.

sweet potato, yam, yam sweet potato differenceFrying up my chorizo and scrambling some egg whites I wanted a carb. Knowing full well I was headed tot he gym for some weights and cardio I wanted to prep my body for the nutrients needed to sustain 90 minutes of intense exercise. I opted for some sweet potatoes. None like the sweet potatoes we have all been accustomed to at Thanksgiving dinners. You see those are called a yam, we however, interchangeably use the term sweet potatoes because they taste sweet. Sweet potatoes can have a hannah white, pale flesh and are loaded in vitamin A, biotin, vitamin C, they help regulate your blood sugar and are a healthy carbohydrate because of the amount of fiber and your body will thank you for all the anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal properties. I digress on the health aspect. The sweet potatoes and chorizo might be a meal to scoff, but please leave the guffaws until after you whet your palette with this sweet and spicy fall dish. Better yet, have it any time of the year if you happen to have a local butcher who would be kind enough to whip up a batch of chicken chorizo for you.

Taking these blond beauties I merely shredded them on a cheese grater. Some of you may opt for a food processor, I like the extra workout you get in shredding these bad boys by hand as I am reminded of cooking in the kitchen with my mother. Feeding a crowd like mine for brinner, breakfast or to make some tasty latkes I would suggest at least 5-6 medium sized potatoes. My kids love sweet potatoes so I had to use more, you be the judge based on your families appetite.sweet potato hash, sweet potatoes, latkes After shredding I tossed them into a large frying pan that had been coated with coconut oil. Another super food I absolutely adore that you can use for anything and everything. Smoothies, baking, frying, or if you are like me a shot all by itself, but I am a fan of coconut so I don’t mind the taste or the smell I have found it to really accentuate my cooking on all levels when used properly.

Moving past the wonders of coconut oil as I can digress again, we have shredded the potatoes, they are in the pan that is coated with coconut oil, just make sure that your potatoes are evenly spread out across the pan for even cooking. This will ensure every inch of your potatoes become a hash as they brown and crisp. I cooked mine over medium-low heat for about 20-30 minutes to guarantee they were nice and crispy all the way around but still had enough sweet, soft, fleshy bites in the middle. Toss those into a serving dish or right onto your plates, sided with scrambled egg whites and chicken chorizo and you have yourself a sweet and spicy meal that is out of this world. Enjoy!

Utensils Needed:

2, 10-12 inch skillets (one for potatoes, other for chorizo and eggs)

cheese grater or food processor

whisk for beating eggs and egg whites


Ingredient List:

1 pound ground chicken chorizo ( or make your own chicken chorizo recipe)

5-6 hannah, or white, sweet potatoes

1 TBSP coconut oil

3 eggs and 1 + 2/3 c. egg whites

Lots of love and patience.

P Allen Smiths Radish Top Pasta Recipe

So I love to share my food and what I make. Great pride is taken in what my family eats as far as food and if you want to know or catch a glimpse of your diet snap photos. If you are ashamed to show the final result, chances are you should be ashamed to put that into your body. The other night I shared my version of P. Allen Smith’s Radish Top Pasta. Who you might ask is P. Allen Smith? Well spend a Saturday morning perusing public television and you might have the gifted opportunity to watch from Garden to Table where Mr. Smith shares some real delicacies from his garden for meals. My family was in heaven when we saw this dish so I knew I had to make it. Continue reading “P Allen Smiths Radish Top Pasta Recipe”

Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

Fall is most definitely one of my favorite seasons of the year. The weather is fantastic. The mornings are rich with a cool bite of the season, the smell is unmistakable from summer into fall. You can almost compare the scent of fall to that first bite into an apple; crisp, juicy from the dew of the morning, bitter and then sweet with a smoothing you can feel all over your body. Continue reading “Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe”

Egg Nog French Toast and Pancakes Recipe

I decided I needed to get all of these fabulous homemade recipes out of me brain and ready to share with you all and ’tis the season for some FABULOUS cooking and recipes. However, I will never share my secret to the perfect pecan pie….that recipe will probably die with me, I know MANY gluttons who would kill for the recipe.

But for the gluttons in all of us and especially those who pine over the great beverage that is egg nog, this recipe is for you and is a GREAT and easy recipe to be enjoyed by the entire family, especially on Christmas morning.

eggnog pancakes, egg nog
Egg Nog Pancakes & Egg Nog French Toast

For pancakes:

2c. Bisquick or my organic recipe
1 1/2 c. Egg nog
1 egg
1T milk
3t. cinnamon or nutmeg (for extra kick and the taste is DIVINE!)

Lightly beat egg, add eggnog and slowly add and stir in the Bisquick and spice. Mix until a creamy batter is reached. Pour onto medium heat griddle. Recipe should yield 18 pancakes

French Toast:

2 eggs whipped
1/2c Egg Nog
2T milk
2T Cinnamon
1T Splenda or 1.5 tsp Stevia (since the egg nog is rather sweet)
10 slices of bread

Mix together all wet and dry ingredients in bowl. Slowly dip in bread as to coat each side with egg and cinnamon mix, cook over medium heat in pan until a golden brown. Serve with powdered sugar or with butter and syrup. The taste is truly rich and the spices are enhanced by the egg nog.