The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Tag Archives: caramel

Caramel Apple Bread

My friend, Kim, a first-time baker who wants to learn how to cook, joined me last Wednesday in Apartment #2’s kitchen. We chose to make caramel apple bread instead of the originally-planned pumpkin cinnamon rolls because I forgot to buy any pumpkins. Donna Currie has a lip-smacking recipe in SE’s Bread Baking and it didn’t look too complicated (er… hopefully).

We made a few minor mistakes like peeling and grating the apples before they were supposed to be mixed into the dough, which made them turn brown very fast. The biggest mistake was putting twice the amount of apples into the dough. By the time we realized that half was supposed to go into the filling it was too late. My bad! It was me who was reading the recipe. *headesks*

Me: Um, Kim… @_@ I think half of that was supposed to go into the filling.
Kim: Oh no! ^o^
Me: No wonder it’s so wet.

The wet dough refused to rise. It was just my third try at making bread so I didn’t yet understand the physics between yeast and dough yet so we wasted a lot of fruitless hours waiting for it to rise. In the end, we just added a lot of flour. We even called a friend (Jovett) and asked for more flour.

We didn’t have a fancy stand mixer so we kneaded it pioneer woman style: with our (very clean) hands. By this time, we had enough dough for 3 loaves of bread so I made extra filling. As usual, we had to use a substitute for an ingredient. In this case, we couldn’t find dulce de leche so we used commercial condensed milk instead.

To kill time while the dough was rising, we watched movies in Jovett’s apartment. We might as well since we already stole her flour and some of her apples. But we were nice and helped her cook dinner. 🙂

Kim was afraid that the bread would be a total failure. But after an hour of baking, I took the bread out of the oven, ran back to Jovett’s apartment with one loaf and two oven mitts (ignoring weird looks from the girls at the poolside) and sat down to have a late but very filling dinner with the girls.

It was certainly a nice, quiet night. And, yes, the bread turned out very well. The 6 hours of kneading, waiting, mixing, more waiting and more kneading did pay off! We even had enough to bring to Kim’s mom and my dad.

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Chocolate Moist Cake with Vanilla Icing

Also known as the heart-shaped man-cake. My dad turned 51 today. I promised that I would make something appropriately birthdayish to bring to work. Last night, I conked out while reading at 7:30 pm. I woke up at 4 am the next day, realized that I had made NOTHING and that I had 3 hours to make something great.

I deserted my fiancé on Skype and ran to the kitchen, wondering if I should make something new and unique or just trust older recipes. I did both, sort of. I used my mother’s trusty chocolate moist cake recipe, added a caramel glaze center and marshmallow vanilla icing. Having a n00b kitchen meant that I had to improvise on borrowed portions of the recipe.

By the time my dad woke up, I was assembling the cake. He had my grandparents on Skype. It was noon in the Philippines and we talked as I worked. (Grandma Emma: “It looks too sweet. Aren’t you putting too much almonds?”)

The end result was a pretty, two-layer, heart-shaped cake placed in the tackiest flowered tray I could find. Now I know why this was the only tray that no one bothered to steal or keep from potluck parties: no one wanted it.

Oh yeah, I even had enough to make a little cake just for us here at home.

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