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October 18, 2017

PUMPKIN FLAN CAKE WITH MAPLE BROWN BUTTER GLAZE

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Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze is composed of a tender pumpkin cake layer, a custardy flan layer, and a sweet-nutty-buttery glaze. A garnish of salted pecans provides a deliciously unexpected contrast to the sweetness of the cake.

Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze
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The way my husband and our neighbor went at the glaze on this cake was like a scene from National Geographic. You'd think that they haven't eaten in a week and couldn't get nourishment into their bodies fast enough. 

I'll back up a bit for you. I was sharing some of this cake with my husband and our two next door neighbors. When I proceeded to remove and box up the uneaten portion, my husband and our female friend swooped in on the layer of glaze remaining on the cake stand with lightning speed. I mean fingers swirling, double dipping, the whole messy scene. They did not stop until the whole cake stand was clean. It was quite bizarre and pretty comical at the same time. Now, if you watch Friends, this would be something befitting of a never before seen clip. (Remember the episode when Rachel and Chandler ate the cheesecake off the floor?) Ewww! but you get why they couldn't resist!

Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze

Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze

I don't mean to gross you out, but that was how much my husband and friend LOVED the glaze! These are two normal, well mannered, and well adjusted adults who had a sudden attack of brown-butter-maple-syrup-glazitis. They could not help themselves! It was quite a Kodak moment.

Our neighbors ranted and rave about how good the cake was. The husband is lactose intolerant and usually monitors is diary intake. He was not watching his intake of THIS cake! And his wife asked me to make one for her for Thanksgiving. So this little creation already has some diehard fans!

Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze

I took inspiration from the Mexican Chocoflan for this killer creation. Chocoflan is also known as Impossible Cake. It is two-tiered, with a layer of chocolate cake and a layer of flan. What makes Chocoflan unique is the magic that happens during baking—when the cake pan is filled, the batter is poured in first then the custardy flan layer is poured over the batter. During baking, the flan seeps through the batter. When the cake is baked, the cake batter has risen to the top while the flan layer settled at the bottom. How cool is that? To sum it up, the two layers do the old switheroo during the baking process!


The cake is baked, covered in a steam bath. The result is a tender pumpkin cake with a silky smooth flan. It is delightfully complimented with a sweet, slightly nutty maple syrup and brown butter glaze. To provide an unexpected contrast to the sweetness of the cake, toasted and salted pecans are added as a garnish. DELISH!

If you'e looking for a dessert to wow your guests this fall and holiday season, this cake is going to knock their socks off! And if you like this, check out my Chocoflan Tunnel Cake. It is a winner too!


Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze


 
PUMPKIN FLAN CAKE WITH MAPLE BROWN BUTTER GLAZE

 Pumpkin Flan Cake with Maple Brown Butter Glaze


INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or corn oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup half and half (or whole milk)
1 lightly packed cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
enough hot water to add to the steam bath

For the flan layer:
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup half and half (or whole milk)

For the Maple Brown Butter Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the Salted Pecans:
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 rounded tsp. Kosher salt



INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

Beat sugar, oil, and eggs on medium high in a large bowl for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Add half of the half & half. Blend. Continue adding another 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat until just incorporated. Add the remaining half & half. Beat in the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add the pumpkin puree, beating until well blended.

Generously coat a 10-inch bundt pan with baking spray. Pour cake batter into pan. Set aside.

To make the flan: beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, beating until well blended. Add sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and vanilla, beating for 1 minute. Pour over the cake layer. Cover tightly with a greased aluminum foil.

Place bundt cake pan in a larger pan. Place into oven. Pour enough water into the larger pan to fill the bundt cake pan half way up. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few dry crumbs attached.

Cool on a rack for 1 hour. Invert bundt pan onto a cake platter. Unmold by giving it one vertical shake to loosen the cake. Remove bundt pan. Chill cake.

To make the glaze: melt butter on a saucepan on medium heat. Allow butter to become bubbly then foamy and develop a nutty smell, in about 3-4 minutes. Stir gently and watch butter carefully once it begins to foam as it could burn quickly. Check for milk solids that deposit at the bottom of the pan. Once the milk solids turn golden brown, remove from heat. The butter will darken as it sits.

Pour brown butter into a small mixing bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, beat in powdered sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Chill for about 15  minutes before glazing cake.

To make the salted pecans: Melt butter in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add pecans. Cook, stirring frequently until pecans  become fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt. Transfer to a plate. Allow to cool.

To finish cake, use a spoon to drizzle glaze over cooled cake. Sprinkle with salted pecans. Makes 10 servings. Keep refrigerated.



Recipe Notes:
  • If you are using 1 pint of half and half, you will be a little short on the 3/4 cup needed for the flan layer. Add enough milk to make up the difference.
  • My cake is done in 80 minutes in my oven. Check your cake early if your oven tends to cook fast.
  • If using regular cooking spray or oil to grease the bundt pan, dust the pan with a light coating of flour to prevent sticking.





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October 11, 2017

APPLE SALSA

26 Comments
This Apple Salsa is perfect for fall or any time of year. It is sweet, tart, fruity, light, and refreshing. Served with crunchy cinnamon sugar pita chips, it is a mouthful of delectability. You will want to come back for more!

Apple Salsa
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You know what I think the world could use right now?...another apple recipe!  :)

I hope you agree because, I have a simple but very tasty one for you today.

This is one of my favorite salsa recipes. I have made many batches over the years. No matter the season or the occasion, it is always a hit. People are consistently surprised at how much they enjoy this fruity concoction.

At first glance, this salsa looks unassuming—just a bowl of finely chopped apples with some color speckled throughout. But when you scoop it onto cinnamon pita chips and pop it into your mouth, it becomes a refreshing flavor blast. It's apple-ie, fruity, sweet, tart, cinnamon-y, light, refreshing, and crunchy. Once you start, it is hard to stop.

October 04, 2017

BEEF AND GNOCCHI STEW

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Hearty and comforting beef stew gets a makeover with gnocchi. When you smell this simmering on the stovetop, you know there is good eating to be had!

Beef and Gnocchi Stew
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One of the best jobs I have ever had was as an usher at a concert arena after I graduated from high school. I continued to work there every summer while attending college. It was a fun job with lasting memories.

Needless to say, I have been to many concerts. There are a few performers I have seen about a dozen times. Tom Petty was one of them. He performed multiple shows when he was in town. From what I remember, all his concerts started with the same song, "Breakdown". It had such a beautiful melodic guitar intro that resonated throughout the arena. When you hear that riff, you knew that a Tom Petty concert has just begun.

September 26, 2017

FRIED BANANAS WITH CINNAMON WHISKEY CREAM CHEESE DIP

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Lightly battered and deep fried bananas are always a delight. Served with cinnamon whiskey infused cream cheese dip, they are tasty little treats that will leave you wanting more. 

Fried Bananas with Fireball Cinnamon Cream Cheese Dip
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What can I say about bananas? They are a staple at my house. They are one of the most versatile fruits there is. Among other things, they can be used to make banana-based ice cream, to add to smoothies, and to add to all sorts of baked goods. Of course, you can eat them straight up, which is what I usually do. 

As they say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away"! (Apple, banana...potāto, potäto)—You know what I mean, right?)

September 17, 2017

APPLE PIE FRIED DOUGH

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Enjoy the best of both worlds...apple pie and fried dough in one with this Apple Pie Fried dough. Brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and covered with apple pie filling, fried dough doesn't get any better! 

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Guys! I have a bit of a teaser for you—I just made the most brilliant discovery. It is so earth shattering that I have to share it with everyone!! You're going to want to know about it because it might change your world too! Keep reading, and I'll clue you in. Promise. It's worth the wait, but I need to cover some things first.

One of the best parts of any amusement park, town fair, food festival, or beach boardwalk is the fried dough booth. The delightful sugar coated bread is one of my favorite sweet treats. And what's not to love?...the crispy golden brown exterior, the light and tender interior, the generous dusting of powdered sugar...it's a magical combination made in dessert bread heaven.