The Weekend Gourmet: 1/23/11 - 1/30/11 F

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cookwell & Company Giveaway Winner

Happy promised, it's time to announce the winner in my Cookwell & Company giveaway. I used an online random number generator to select the winning entry, which was #12:

Becky from the blog Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves!! I hope you'll go by and check out her blog. I know you'll find some excellent recipes to try!

Congratulations on winning your customized six-pack of gourmet food products...I'll be in contact to verify your selections and get your shipping information. I'll forward your information to Cookwell & Company on Monday, and they will ship your prize directly to your home. 

Michael's back to work today after a couple of days at home in bed with the flu. I want to have a nice healthy dinner when he gets home tonight, so I'm adapting a Rachael Ray recipe to make Ciao Bella Chicken Cacciatore Pasta Bowls. Come back here tomorrow for the recipe...I think it's going to be a winner!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Comforting Apple Upside-Down Spice Cake

It's hard to believe that it's almost the end of another work week...AND that next week is already February!! It's been a busy week for us...I've finally kicked the cold that I had, and now Michael is feeling under the weather. I left work early today to come home and take care of him. The best way I know how to do that is to cook. I decided to make him a pot of my homemade chicken-noodle soup and bake up something comforting this evening. 

When I think comfort, apple-based desserts always seem to come to mind. I searched online for a good recipe, and Martha Stewart's Everyday Food came to my rescue once again. I enjoyed their cranberry upside-down cake so much, so I was thrilled when I found a similar recipe using apples!! Let me tell you, this cake tastes AMAZING! Not only that, it's very pretty as well. Even a novice baker like me is guaranteed to end up with something that's almost too gorgeous to slice and serve. Almost. 

Comforting Apple Upside-Down Spice Cake
adapted from Everyday Food

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350. In an stand mixer, beat 1 stick softened butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar until fluffy. Add 2 eggs and 1 tbs. vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Add 1.5 cups flour, 1.5 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. allspice. Combine on low until just combined. Add 1/2 cup milk and mix on low until smooth.

Step 2:  Set the cake batter aside. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with 2 tbs. butter. Sprinkle 1 cup packed dark brown sugar in the bottom of the pan. Place 3 peeled and sliced Gala apples on top of the brown sugar. Sprinkle 1 tsp. cinnamon on top of the apples.

Step 3:  Pour the cake batter on top of the apples, and smooth the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool the cake for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4:  To remove from the pan, run a butter knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a serving plate. Cut the cake into 6-8 wedges and serve.

This cake smelled so good that I couldn't resist -- I ate a piece as soon as it had cooled for precisely 30 minutes! The cake is spicy from the cinnamon and allspice, and the apple-caramel mixture is a little sweet and a little tart. Although this cake is fantastic on its own, I think that a scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream would send it into the stratosphere! 

Just a reminder...tomorrow at 11:59PM is the deadline to enter my Cookwell & Company giveaway, so be sure to scroll down and enter. Their gourmet speciality food products are really fantastic! The lucky winner will get a chance to try SIX free items of their choice, so don't miss out on your chance to win!!!

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