Tag Archives: apples

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake

I hate recipes. Did you see my tagline? “…rarely follows a recipe…” This is another one of my Let’s See if This Works recipes. I had two apples that were starting to get a little wrinkly on the outside. Not really crisp enough to serve in my husband’s lunch but not soft enough to toss in the woods for a critter to enjoy. So I thought I’d try a caramel apple upside down cake. But being lazy and not wanting to follow a recipe I looked in the cupboard and had a little box of corn bread mix. Voila!

I mean... come on. SO YUMMY.

I mean… come on. SO YUMMY.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake

Preheat oven to 350F and find a nice heavy 1 quart casserole dish or do like me and use your Pampered Chef 1 quart stone that you never used before and cross your fingers that it will come out.


2 large apples, peeled (if you don’t like the peels), cut in half, cored and sliced semi-thinly (in other words, don’t use that apple slicer thingy that gives you 8 perfect pieces. It will not work here.)

4-6 tablespoons of light brown sugar – you’ll use one heaping tablespoon at a time.

2 tablespoons of room temperature butter, to be used to butter your dish and to dollop over the last layer of apples

lemon zest from a whole lemon

lemon juice from half a lemon

one box of Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 tablespoons of brown sugar


Place the apple slices, lemon zest and lemon in a bowl and toss to coat the apples

Butter the bottom of a 1 quart baking stone or casserole dish

Place 1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar in bottom, sprinkled over top of the butter

place the apples in a pretty design (this will be the top once you remove it from the pan)

top the apples with a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar.

place another layer of apples and top with another heaping tablespoon of brown sugar. Keep doing this until you run out of apples. I think I got three or four layers of apples.

Top with brown sugar again and about one tablespoon of room temp butter, just pinched with your fingers and dolloped around the top.

Place apples in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes to help soften them a bit. This step isn’t really necessary if you like a firmer apple. I’m feeding the Queen of Picky-land so I have to soften them a bit more than usual.

Prepare the cornbread batter by mixing the egg, milk, vanilla, cornbread mix, 2 tbsp brown sugar in a bowl.

Remove the apples from the oven and top with the cornbread muffin mix. Shake the dish a little to allow the batter to run down through the crevices.

Bake again for 30 minutes or until cake is done. (toothpick comes out clean)

caramel apple upside down cornbread cake RIGHT-SIDE UP! It's still pretty this way, too.

caramel apple upside down cornbread cake RIGHT-SIDE UP! It’s still pretty this way, too.

Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before sliding a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Then  flip the cake onto a serving platter. If your cake doesn’t come out cleanly just don’t serve it to your guests on the platter. Excuse yourself to the kitchen to plop big portions of it into bowls and top with whipped cream or powdered sugar or ice cream, etc. etc. No one will ever know it wasn’t perfect. Heck, I think it looks pretty right-side up or upside down! Oh and p.s. You can leave this cake on the counter for a few hours but it’s best to refrigerate leftovers.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cornbread Cake


French Toast Bread Pudding

BRINNER!!! One of my favorite go-tos when I’m menu-planning.

Breakfast for Dinner! Yes. Such a simple meal. No brainer!

But my husband makes pancakes with the kids every weekend so I wanted something different. Sausage patties, dippy eggs (I’m from South-Central Pennsylvania. Dippy eggs = over-easy eggs. I’m tired of pretending I’m sophisticated. I’m calling them dippy eggs.)

But what can I do instead of pancakes?

I have a loaf of French bread that I got at the grocery store in the bakery for NOTHING. Literally. It was on sale for $ .97 and it had a one dollar off coupon on it because it was baked yesterday. So I got it for NOTHING. Yeay me!

My mind starts racing. French toast? Ehh, that takes a lot of focus and attention. Baked French toast? Hmm… maybe. Bread pudding? Hmm…. maybe. Both? Hmm…. absolutely.

French Toast Bread Pudding

French Toast Bread Pudding

French Toast Bread Pudding

Requires 4 hours to overnight to soak so plan accordingly.


  • 4-5 cups torn pieces of French bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 C maple syrup (you may use any syrup you have but I highly recommend some HIGH QUALITY maple syrup.)
  • 1 C milk – I used vanilla almond milk which is sweetened so if you use whole milk, you might want to add a tablespoon of sugar to the milk.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 C chopped apple – I used Gala just because I had it. It was approximately half the apple. You can add more apple if you want. Or use another fruit. Blueberries would be good.
  • 2 ounces cold cream cheese
  • sprinkle of cinnamon


Crack and whisk 4 eggs in large bowl. Pour in the maple syrup, milk, vanilla and pinch of salt. Stir well to combine. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish by spraying it with non-stick spray or slather it up with butter. I won’t tell. Now place chopped apple (or whatever fruit you choose) in the bottom of the pan. Top the fruit with the torn bread and then pour the egg/milk mixture over the bread. Press the bread down into the egg/milk mixture. Now take the two ounces of cold cream cheese and just tear it apart with your fingers and dollop it over the top of the bread and egg/milk mixture. Sprinkle it all with cinnamon. Place foil on the pan and place in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to bake it, bring it out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter while the oven preheats to 350F. Bake 30 minutes with the foil on and then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes. Allow it to rest 15 minutes before serving.

We loved this. I especially love the different textures of a good bread pudding. I like the crunchy top layer but LOOOOVE the custard layer on the bottom. And the apples added a nice tart, flavorful, juicy bite. I was so excited about it that we sat there at the table and kept nibbling at it and then I was like, “Oh crudballs! I forgot to take a picture of it!” So this is all you get.

Oops. I ate all of it.

Oops. I ate all of it.

I hope you try it. It was such a great addition to BRINNER!

Blackberry, Apple, Coconut Cake

Blackberry Apple Coconut Cake

Blackberry Apple Coconut Cake

I will mention again that I love to cook. I like to invent new things and create my own recipes. Add a little of this, a little of that… but baking? I’m a mess. I cannot make up my own recipe. I’m not sure how much baking powder or baking soda to use, nor do I understand the difference. And if I use cake flour? Ugh. Then what? What’s in cake flour that’s not in all-purpose flour?

So, my desserts will either be NON-BAKING ones, that I can play around with, like chocolate drizzled over popcorn or graham cracker peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate. That’s what I can make up. The following recipe is not something I can make up. It’s divine though so I thought I’d share it. It’s a great dish to take to a brunch, or give as a gift to a friend that had a baby. If that’s your thing.

While this was baking Adrian, my five-year-old, ran to the kitchen to see if it was ready to eat. I can hope he discovers a new love for blackberries or I can hope he doesn’t like it and I can eat what is left on his plate.

Just kidding.

Not really.

Blackberry, Apple, Coconut Cake

From: http://www.nourishmagazine.co.nz/29/apple-blackberry-coconut-pudding/

(measurements are a bit odd because it’s translated from metric – just go with it.)

  • 2-3 apples, peeled and sliced – I usually make recipes like this when my apples need to be eaten. So I don’t have a recommendation on what kind of apple to use. Just use what you have. A tart apple like Granny Smith would be great but really, whatever you have will work.
  • 1 cup blackberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 & 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 & ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut (I used sweetened)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick, plus 2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 & 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Grease an 8×8 baking dish and spread the sliced apples and blackberries over the base. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together before adding the butter, lightly beaten eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir till well combined and then pour over the fruit.

Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or yogurt. Or in a bowl with milk, which is how I always eat my cakes and bread puddings.

Just to follow up, Adrian poked at it, said it was too hot & then ran away. Later he came back to try it and declared he didn’t like the “stained bread”. I told him he didn’t have to eat the blackberry but the apples and coconut and the rest of it was really yummy. Oh well. I ate it. My wish came true.

Adrian's Empty Plate

Adrian’s Empty Plate.

Leftovers should be refrigerated. Not that you will have any. And if you want to double it and freeze a pan, you can do that, too. It’s a very freezer-friendly cake.

Slow Cooker: chicken and apples

Autumn. I have a love-hate relationship with you. My son and I have birthdays that wrap around the autumnal equinox (9/22 and 9/23). You bring cooler weather — I like wearing jeans after 3 months in bathing suits. I love your warm colors — I enjoy farmers’ markets and picking up pumpkins and mums to decorate my stoop. But I don’t like the dreary stark months that follow you — No matter how much sleep I get I still feel tired waking up when it’s dark.

It’s been raining here for 7 days straight. This Nor’Easter has been sitting over us for a week. But today is football Sunday so I must press on. I got the kids set up with art supplies at the table and Daddy has The Beatles playing until kick-off.

I just got out the crock pot and grabbed some frozen chicken breasts from the freezer. I looked around and my eyes landed on a fruit-bowl full of Red Delicious apples that the kids promised they would eat. Yeah right.

So I think some apples and onions and chicken in the crock pot would be a great fall dish. Alas, no onions. And since I don’t own a kayak I’m not going to the store for an onion. Hmm.. what else can I do? Think Jessie. Think. Here is the dish. It rocked, if I do say so myself.

Slow Cooker: chicken and apples

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken – thighs or breasts (frozen is fine)
  • 1 can French Onion Soup – 18.5 ounce (I used Progressive. If you have an onion and 2 cups of beef stock… by all means… that’s what I would RATHER use. But I don’t have it so a can of French Onion Soup is it.)
  • 3 Red Delicious apples – cored and peeled (I didn’t worry too much about getting ALL the peels off. You’ll learn that I hate peeling things. Apples, potatoes, husking corn… ugh. Someone poke me in the eye.)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 T chipotle pepper sauce (or any hot sauce you like)
  • 1/8 C balsamic vinegar
  • Add salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 C honey bbq sauce (or whatever your favorite bbq sauce is)


Chicken, bbq sauce, spices, apples, soup - because I didn't have fresh onions

Chicken, bbq sauce, spices, apples, soup – (because I didn’t have fresh onions) – not pictured is S&P, chipotle sauce and balsamic vinegar

toss apples and chicken in soup and spices and BBQ sauce

toss apples and chicken to coat

Now, if you use the slow-cooker bags you can twist the top up (tightly!) and toss all the ingredients making sure to coat all the apples. (this helps to keep them from turning brown)

Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours until the chicken is done. You can shred it and eat it over egg noodles or rice*. Or slice it and eat it with a salad and crusty bread.


pulled chicken, on another plate, added 1 cup white rice to broth, put chicken back in and continued to cook until rice was done.

I pulled the chicken on another plate and placed back into the broth.

*I added 2 cups cooked white rice directly to the slow cooker once the chicken was finished cooking and I shred it. But serving the barbecue chicken and apples with the rice as a base would also be very pretty.

Autumn… today, you’re alright.