It’s a bit past apple season (usually fall/autumn), but 16-29: Heavenly Apple Cake uses applesauce instead of fresh fruit, so you can make it anytime you’ve got a hankering for apples. Or cake. Cake is always good.
They (Simply Delicious) are trying REALLY hard to make you believe there are actual apple pieces in this cake. I mean, the picture and the description would lead you to think that this thing is just chock full of fresh apples.
I hate to break it to you, but this is gonna be one heck of a bamboozle.
I had a goal to finish all the ones I cooked in 2019 by the end of 2020…not sure if I’ll meet that goal (EDIT: I did!), but here’s one more from last year: 16-49: Chocolate-Glazed Raspberry Tart. Not only is this from last Thanksgiving (along with 6-42: Turkey Pot Roast and 17-15: Cream Puffs), but I also made a version of it as part of a fancy Christmas dinner 12 years ago (XMAS 08) as well. Since today is Christmas Eve, I think it’s a good day to tell you about it.
When I made this back in ’08, I made 6 individual tarts instead of one big one–I was afraid it would look weird once I cut it, so I thought individual servings would look better. I had been watching a LOT of Top Chef at that point (and still do, but that’s the ONLY cooking show I’ll watch).
Since I had a few of the same guests attending as that Christmas dinner back in ’08 (and the same number), I decided to make the same modification this time. Usually I will reverse modifications when I recook recipes I’ve already done to try to honor the “original” recipe, but this time I decided to stick with it.
Today is Independence Day here in the U.S., so let’s do one of my favorite desserts and recipes from this book, 14-8: Baked Alaska. Obviously Simply Delicious didn’t invent this dish–it’s an American dessert that’s existed since Civil War times and is so well known you can even make it as a Sim.
I have a history with this particular version of the dish, however. I first made it as my “showstopper” dessert for a big family dinner I cooked as a teenager (along with a similarly-aged family friend) many years ago.
I also taught about 200 K-8 kids (ages 5-13ish) how to make this recipe and several others as part of an after-school cooking class program that was one of my first teaching-related jobs. I’ve been waiting YEARS to write this one, so now it’s your turn with it.
I made 16-33: Crispy Almond Cake last September to pair with 16-26: Elegant Almond Cake as a breakfast treat for my work colleagues. This one was the less fancy of the two, but still went extremely well with some coffee on a Wednesday morning.
This title card blurb mentions that versions of this almond cake can be found all over the United States–Google doesn’t seem to want to confirm that claim for me. Searching almond cake results in severaliterations of a Spanishflourlessalmond cake influenced by the Jewish tradition of Passover. Interesting, but none of them look like this recipe.
A few months ago, I made two Simply Delicious almond cakes for work: this one, 16-26: Elegant Almond Cake and 16-33: Crispy Almond Cake. I think this one came out prettier, but they were both delicious.
Simply Delicious doesn’t mention this in their blurb, but it’s also great for accompanying coffee or tea on a Wednesday morning at the office. They also refer to this dish as a cake, but it’s very clearly a tart. To confirm, here’s a recipe from King Arthur Flour that is essentially this exact same dish (referred to a tart) but with raspberries instead of Maraschino cherries.
I had mentioned in a recent entry (16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie) that when I make baked goods for sharing with my work colleagues, I try to make them gluten-free if possible. Not only do I have a good friend at work that eats gluten-free, it offers one more option for the other people there who may want to make a gluten-free choice as well. 17-62: Scandinavian Coffee Cake was the first Simply Delicious recipe that I adapted for this particular purpose, and it turned out really well.
In the other recipe I cited above (16-11: Meringue-Topped Chocolate Pie), I mentioned that I didn’t have the pictures for this recipe, even though I did cook it. Well, turns out I found the pictures…so here it is, over a year after I made it in reality. ⏳
This project is coming up on 4 years old, and I’m a handful of recipes away from finishing the Baked Goods chapter–at least, according to the collection that I have. There’s definitely some out there that I don’t have the card for, but here’s one of the last uncovered few (#50!) that I do have: 17-2: English Rusks. 🇬🇧☕
According to Wikipedia, English rusks are hard, dry biscuits given to babies for teething or crumbled up and used as filler for ground meat. It’s actually the US version of rusks that are more familiar–they list Melba toast and biscotti as examples.
Scones have a lot of different methods of preparation, usually depending on varying geographical interpretations. There’s even different pronunciations of the word “scone”–some rhyme it with “tone”, while others rhyme it with “gone.”
Simply Delicious‘ take, 17-11: Scones, seems to most closely adhere to the British version of scones in that they make theirs into round cakes, score them, and then break them apart into triangle shapes after baking. The North American versions tend to be individually-sized, round, and more often than not closely resemble what we refer to as biscuits.
One of my first memorable experiences with scones were at an 18th birthday tea party I attended in the last few months of senior year of high school–we had just come back from a Spring Break trip to England & Ireland, and I came to the tea party prepared with white gloves and pinkies up. They had scones with clotted cream & jam, finger sandwiches, and lots of flowery, delicate pots of tea. ☕️
Wouldn’t have been my choice for an 18th birthday party (I spent a good portion of mine in my freshman dorm room hungover from the Halloween extravaganza the night before), but it was definitely unique.
I recently attended a baby shower for a former co-worker and took it as an opportunity to knock out two more Simply Delicious desserts: 16-39: Apricot Tart and this one, 16-24: French Chocolate Cake. I wanted to bring something fruit/nut and something just plain chocolate, since some people there had nut allergies and others might just want something simple and chocolate.
This was a combination birthday party/baby shower (same person being honored for both), which will hopefully explain the odd decorations on my version of the cake. I’ve spared you pictures of the worst of my decoration choices, but let’s just say I made liberal use of all 4colors of a grocery store icing kit. I kept meaning to hit a craft store for better cake decorations (or even Amazon), but time got away from me. ⏳