Cranberry Upside Down Cake

We had a wonderful Christmas this year, it was especially nice to have a baby in the house.  She was more interested in the wrapping paper and boxes that the presents but I am sure that won’t last too long!

Our Christmas dinner was a very local affair, my parents and grandparents ate chicken from a local farmer, we had potatoes, beets, carrots and cranberries from our land and squash, onions, and apples from other local farms.  I even picked the lemons we used on our recent trip to Arizona!  It was a wonderful meal and this cake was the perfect way to finish it off.  It is a pretty dense cake, I got the recipe from my husbands grandmother, and it pairs really well with the cranberry.  It is lightly lemon flavored and just sweet enough.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Adapted from a recipe by Mary Bates

2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

1 1/2 cups agave, divided

2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 aseptic container of silken firm tofu

1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

In a medium saucepan combined the cranberries and 3/4 cups agave.  Cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens.  Pour in to greased 9 inch springform pan, spread evenly over the bottom and let cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place on the middle shelf of the oven.  In a medium bowl combined the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a blender or food processor, blend the remaining 3/4 cup agave, tofu, extracts and lemon zest.  Blend until smooth.  Gently combined the wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.  The batter will be thick so spoon it over the cool cranberry sauce and spread out gently with a spatula.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove the ring of the springform pan and turn the cake out on to a platter to cool completely.  Serves 8 generously.

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Pumpkin Pie

My husband David LOVES pumpkin pie and only his mother’s pumpkin pie.  Our biggest food related fight was about pumpkin pie and how I couldn’t make it as good as his mother.  Luckily, Cathy was willing to share the recipe with me (THANK YOU!) and after making it for the last eight years or so I have managed to satisfy David with a pie as good as his mothers.  This is a great pumpkin pie, it firms up wonderfully and you don’t miss the eggs at all.  The key is not to skimp on the pumpkin, one can has a cup and three-quarters but you need a full two cups.  I usually double this recipe to get two pies, then David can have one and the rest of us can share.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups milk

1 Tbsp white flour

1 unbaked 9″ pie shell

Preheat the oven to 450*F.  In a saucepan mix together the pumpkin, spices, salt, butter, sugar and vanilla.  In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with the milk.  Heat the pumpkin mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until hot.  Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Sprinkle in the flour and cook for two more minutes, stirring contantly.  Cool slightly and pour into pie shell.  Bake at 450*F for 15 minutes and then lower the heat to 350*F and continue baking for another 30 minutes.  The center will be set but slightly jiggly and the pie will have puffed up.  Let cool completely before cutting.  Make one 9″ pie.

Orange Cranberry Pecans

Make this…really, you need to make this.  I can’t send it to all of you and you need to taste these pecans, they are wonderful, amazing and very addictive.  I don’t know why you are still sitting there, go out and buy the ingredients…right now…go!

Orange Cranberry Pecans

Juice and zest of one orange

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

4 cups toasted pecans (toast at 350*F for six minutes)

1 pkg Craisins

In a medium saucepan combined the orange juice, zest, sugars, salt and pepper.  Bring to a rolling boil and add the pecans a handful at a time.  When all the nuts are added continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed.  Take the pan off the heat and add the Craisins and then stir until the nuts are dry.  Spread on wax paper and let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Note:  I have made this a few more time now and I think there are too many cranberries…so I would advise cutting the amount of cranberries called for in the recipe in half.

A little present for you…

Sorry I have not posted much lately.  My family traveled to Arizona last week to visit my husbands parents.  It was my daughter’s first plane trip and she did great.  She loved waving at all the passengers around us and checking out the view.

Now I am home and working on some new recipes, one especially good one for chocolate coconut cookies!  In the meantime I wanted to share some of my new favorite blogs, consider it my Christmas present to you.  Enjoy!

(never home)maker – A beautiful blog with some great recipes, I want to try the Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

Tongue-N-Cheeky – This is such a fun blog, I love her design and cheeky attitude.  Plus you have to check out the Autumn Sack Lunch, what an amazing post.

Dolce Dente – This site has some great eggless dessert recipes, the eggless Tiramisu sounds amazing!

Ginger Pumpkin Sconelets

Ginger Pumpkin Sconelets

Ginger Pumpkin Sconelets

Adapted from the King Arther recipe

2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp powdered ginger

1/2 cup cold butter

1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and ginger.  Cut in the butter until it is crumbly.  Add the candied ginger and mix.  Whisk together the pumpkin, vanilla and milk.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, don’t over mix or you will have tough scones.  Dump the dough on to the lined cookie sheet and from a 8″x8″ square about 3/4 of an inch thick.  Place in freezer for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Using a pizza cutter cut the dough into sixteen squares and then cut each square into two triangles.  You should have 32 small triangles now.  Spread them out on the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for five minutes and then move to cooling rack and cool completely.  Make 32 scones.

Vanilla Glaze

1 cup sifted confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 Tbsp milk

Mix all ingredients together until it forms a thin glaze.  Drizzle the glaze over the scones to coat the top of each one.

Prizewinning!!! Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Our local paper the Concord Monitor held a Thanksgiving pie contest last week.  The results came out earlier this week and I placed fifth!  I was so excited!  You can see the top five recipes here.

The pie I made was my favorite Peanut Butter Cup Pie.  It is so quick and easy, especially if you use a ready made graham cracker crust.  It is even vegan.  Don’t be scared of the tofu, I swear you can’t taste it.  I like to feed it to people who don’t eat tofu and not tell them until after they eat the pie.  I know it is a little evil but they are always pleasantly surprised.  This picture are not the greatest but really how do you make brown pie look beautiful?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Prizewinning Peanut Butter Cup Pie

14 oz silken tofu

1/2 cup maple syrup or agave

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup chocolate chips

1 prepared graham cracker crust

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tofu and maple syrup. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir and microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. With the blade running, slowly pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture into the food processor. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and process until smooth. Pour into graham cracker crust and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Serves 12.

Cupcake Hero

Head over to I heart cuppycakes to see this months entries for the pumpkin Cupcake Hero.  My entry was my Pumpkin Nutella Cupcakes, you can vote for me while you are over there 🙂