Tuesday, October 11, 2016

When Chaos Reigns, Let Them Eat Cake

Last week I complained about the chaos in my house due to painting. Boy, was I wrong. The professional painters arrived yesterday to start on all the trim in the house. This is what things look like now.

In every room of the house, things are shoved to the middle. Sanding has left a film of dust EVERYWHERE!

So what's a writer to do when her world is in chaos?
Tackle the boxes and boxes of photos from her mother, aunt and grandmother.

But let me tell you, doing this from noon to six can be pretty draining. Who are these people in this photo from 1920? Oy!

Note to self: Make notations on every photo.

You know what all this means. Stress. And pizza delivery. Either that or a campout in the backyard.

So while I savor my thin crust from Dominos, I'm going to reflect on a favorite recipe I shared a couple years ago. One that's perfect for fall. Apples, a little heat... Perfect for a cool autumn night.

This is called Chipotle Apple Pecan Cake. Now before all you folks north of Oklahoma get to hollerin', let me just say IT AIN'T THAT HOT. Really. I promise. Would I steer you wrong?

Okay, don't answer that last one.

This cake just screams autumn with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Not to mention apples. But unlike your average apple cake, this one will warm you up on the inside. Again, it's not hot.

So here we go.

Your list of ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (feel free to cut back 1/2 tsp)
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 cup cooking oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 large sweet-tart apples, peeled, cored, and diced (about 3 cups) **I used Honeycrisp apples
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
Spicy Caramel Glaze (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10 inch bundt pan and set aside.

In a bowl, combine 3 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, chipotle, ginger, white pepper, salt, and cloves. Set aside. (Time for author intrusion. I see you, staring at the chipotle and white pepper. I know what you're thinking. First, let me just say that I am not a fan of spicy-hot foods. Yes, these ingredients lend a little warmth, but not a real heat. It's the kind you feel in the back of your throat a minute or two after you swallow. Just a nice warming sensation. However, if you want to be a total weenie, I will let you omit the chipotle. I do recommend, however, that you at least try it once. If the whole teaspoon scares you, try a half a teaspoon.)

In a mixing bowl, beat oil and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in vanilla and as much flour mixture as you can. (The mixture is thick, but I managed to get all of mine in with out burning up the motor on my mixer)
Stir in remaining flour mixture, apples, and pecans.
The mixture will be very thick. As evidenced by the wooden spoon stuck in the middle.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. (mine was finished in about 60-65 minutes)

AS SOON AS YOU PUT CAKE IN OVEN (I'm being very emphatic so you won't miss this part), prepare Spicy Caramel Glaze.

Okay, gang, I'll be honest with you, this glaze is where the heat is. The first time I made it, I thought my lips might burn off. But I ate it anyway. It was kind of addicting. In subsequent times, though, I've cut back on the amount of chipotle pepper the recipe calls for.
In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup whipping cream, and 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (that's the red stuff you see - I cut that 1/2 tsp. back to about 1/8-1/4 tsp and it was perfect - my lips were happy)

Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil gently 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla. Let stand until slightly thickened. (Okay, I failed to read all of the instructions the first time I made this and waited until the cake was about due out of the oven. Then I saw it was supposed to cool. Yikes! So, I put the hot mixture into a bowl then placed that over some ice water and whisked it. Voila! In just a couple of minutes it was the perfect consistency)

When cake is done, cool in pan for 10 minutes. See my little contraption, there? Baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then the cooling rack on that. You'll see why in just a sec.
Invert cake on rack and drizzle warm cake with Spicy Caramel Glaze, respooning glaze that drips on the baking sheet over the cake.
Cool completely before serving.

Look at those chunks of apple and pecan. I love pecans. This cake is very moist with all the right flavors. Like I said, the perfect fall cake.
I sure wish I had a plate like this in front of me right now. I mean, what a perfect replacement for pizza. Fruit, nuts, wheat... A well balanced meal, if you ask me.

Alas, the painting will not last forever. Though it does make me consider the renovations we will be doing when we take over my MIL's house next year. At least we won't be living there. I can only pray they won't take too long. Because, let's face it, eating cake for too long is not good for the waistline. And if that reno grows lengthy, I could be in trouble.


  1. I am totally making this... only keeping the glaze unspiced. I discovered a couple of years ago that black pepper and ginger work well together... How do I know this? Well, my little ones were making "soup" and it was all pretend until the little beggars got the tops off of the small ginger jar... and the black pepper... So I thought Wow.... Toss it... then I thought..."Wait a minute. Ginger has bite. So does pepper. How bad can it be???" and it was MARVELOUS....

    I'm still using the last little bit of that jar, and when I buy more ginger, I'll mix it with pepper again because it works so well together!!!

    Now, Chipotle Pepper is DIFFERENT... so I'll put a little in the cake, but none in the frosting because my New England/Middle Atlantic gut is such a baby about things... but it loves caramelly-nutty-goodness and this is wonderful!!!

    And I'm cringing at your boxes and stuff, and knowing it will be all better soon.... but your life always looks so organized and together, which makes this look almost PAINFUL my friend!!!


    1. So basically what you're saying, Ruthy, is that the little beggars are geniuses, right?

      It really does seem like a weird combo, but, like you said, it works.

      Me, organized? Ha! I wish I were. I try to be, just never quite succeed. And going through these old photos is about to do me in. I have put together several boxes to send to family members, though, so that's progress.

  2. At one time I though I would never try jalapeno jelly...and then I fell in love with it! I love that sweet/hot combo!

    So yes, I'm totally trying this!

    I'll have to order the Chipotle pepper on-line, though. Can't find it on the shelves up here.

    And I'm with Ruthy - cringing at the boxes and chaos! But when it's all done, it will be good.

    Just keep telling yourself that. ;)

    1. Jan, what is it about sweet and heat that works so well? I have a raspberry chipotle jelly that I love. Always keep it on hand to pour over cream cheese if I need a quick appetizer.

      As for the chaos, it will get put back together until the house sells, then we'll be at it again. And who knows how many times after that, between the camphouse, storage and then the ultimate move after the renovations are done to my MIL'S hose. I guess dreams are never easy, though, are they?

  3. Oh, I was looking for an apple cake recipe...but I'm going to make this one without the kick. LOL Boring old Irish tastebuds are holding me back from embracing the heat. LOL

    Oy to your upside down house...it's as bad as if you're moving. I guess the flipside is at least you don't have to actually move the boxes. You still have to unpack them though. :-(

    1. So glad I could be of assistance, Kav. I will allow you to skip the chipotle.

      You should have seen us trying to get to bed last night. Beds still in the middle of their rooms, covered with stuff we'd tossed atop them. Not sure it'll be any better tonight, but we'll make due.

  4. Would you judge me if my house looks like this and it has nothing to do with painting? It's kind of a permanent revolving door condition. *goes off to quest for chipotle pepper* *because cake*

    1. No judging here, S.R. Only cake. So enjoy!

  5. This sounds so delicious I am now craving cake. wtg Mindy.

    I could also stand to paint some rooms.

    1. I'm only here to help, Mary. With the cake, that is. Not the painting. You're on your own there.

  6. Mindy, that looks as bad as moving!! I'm so sorry! I can totally relate.

    But that cake looks amazing!!

    1. Missy, I wish I had a big slab of this cake in front of me right now. Would make me feel so much better.

  7. Yummy..I will so enjoy making this recipe. Thank you Sweet Lady for sharing

  8. Mindy, all I could think looking at this was that it's not fair you have to wait to move after pulling everything out like that.
    Now I want cake!