Thursday, September 29, 2022

Rustic Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake

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This is by Far the most SCRUMPTIOUS Fall dessert I have ever made!


Our family is definitely into Fall cakes, muffins, and breads. I roast our own homegrown pumpkins, puree the squash(yes, pumpkin is a squash) and freeze in 2 or 3 cup bags. Thaw out the pumpkin in a strainer and you have delicious fresh pumpkin for your recipes.  

Roasting pumpkins can be found in this post: Delicious Homemade Pumpkin Puree


Makings for your cake.


I use bagged apples for baking, these are Galas.


Rustic Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake                Oven 350 degrees
Serves 8-10                                                          45-50 min


2 cups of Flour (I use 1 cup of unbleached and 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cardamom (optional)
½ tsp cloves
¼ tsp of ginger
10 Tbsp. of salted butter softened (1 ¼ sticks)
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup of pumpkin puree (canned or I use fresh baked pumpkin drained and pureed
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 cups of diced apples (approximately 2 large or 3 medium) with peels.
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 cup of raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Measure dry ingredients into a sifter. (I sift twice since I use heavier flours.) Sift and put in a bowl. The green handled sifter is an antique---very useful. It has two lids so you can sift, flip and then sift again...VERY convenient and throughly mixes spices into the flour! It was my grandmother's. 

In mixer, cream softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg at a time, combining completely.

 Add the pumpkin and vanilla and blend well. Add flour 1/3 at a time until totally combined. 


Dough will be stiff, add chopped apples.


The apples will loosen up the dough. 


Dust your raisins with some of the sifted dry ingredients.


Fold in raisins and chopped nuts=(or substitute something else)


Generously spray or grease your Bundt pan. Spread batter evenly and bake for 45-50 min or until cake turns golden brown and tester comes clean. Remove and wait 5 mins. Run a knife carefully along the edge to make the cake easier to remove after the waiting time. 
Invert on a plate and sift powder sugar over---OR----do NUTS as shown.

Nut Syrup:
I make a simple syrup of 2 Tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Lightly brown nuts in butter in sauce pan, add brown sugar and stir until smooth. Add 2 Tbsp of water, cook on low to make a thick syrup. (I cook this until the syrup doesn't roll off the spoon quickly but in slow drops, and then pour over the warm cake slowly.)  


Enjoy! I’ve taken this cake to so many parties/meetings and it always disappears. No leftovers, sigh!

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Midwest Gardening 2022: Vegetables Success or Fail

Our NE Illinois USA,Vegetable garden is quite big, plus we plant in pots all over the place.



 WINNERS THIS YEAR in the Vegetable Garden

Lettuces in planters were successful. I like the rail or porch planters, which keep lettuce clean and cuts down on pests mixed in with them.

Green Pole beans, we had just enough to eat fresh twice a week and still going strong. Picked two quarts this week.


Oodles of magnificent Tomatoes. Despite only planting twelve plants this year, we had excellent size and growth, and less disease and failure being spread out. But, two Cherry Tomatoes in pots are not enough...! They  were super sweet this year.


Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash were great, we only planted two of each---and I still have some 'baker submarines' in the fridge, but the plants finally gave up three weeks ago. 


Green and Carnival Peppers have been small but thick, and pretty constant in our pots, and still producing. I will try moving the pots into the greenhouse for an extended crop.

Hot Peppers were super producers in pots on the east side. Next year more dirt though in LARGER pots, so we don't have to water twice a day. We don't need anymore, lol.

Swiss Chard (ruby) is excellent and still growing. Fordhook (white) has had a resurgence this last week, I will get some for freezing.

Best year in the last 10 for Broccoli, and we will be picking from 6 plants until heavy frost. I planted it in an area that gets afternoon shade which I think helped.


We have FIVE large Pumpkins making it hanging on the fence and on the neighbors shed roof, but we lost any on the ground to Scavengers/Bugs/Critters. 

Parsnips are looking good---and we are still waiting on Carrots for maximum size also.


Green onions (this is the last) in box planters on the front porch and around the garden rail were successful.   


Red Potatoes were small but successful. We grew them in a black garbage can and they were a nice batch, and sooooo sweet.while green onions were in box planters. Garden red onions---were so-so---our cold late Spring really hampered some stuff in getting started.

Butternut Squash so far looks fabulous and we have seven of different sizes, very happy hanging on the fence and growing golden. 


Herbs are all doing very well. I will make pesto of all the Basil with wine vinegar and oil and keep in fridge for fresh flavor. My Rosemary hasn't grown much, I hope it will make it in the house.

I have a bumper crop of Sage--enough to purify the entire neighborhood. Parsley, Marjoram, Thyme, all look great.

Total Failures--some!

Cucumbers/Pickles---too hot and they dried up early in July. We had a few pickings enough for one bowl of fridge pickles with fresh Dill (*poor crop) and a bit of sugar. I bought a half bushel to make pickle relish, (we did use our own peppers and ground up zucchini, though).

Spinach, we had one spare picking and then it bolted in the heat. Planted in the shadiest part of the garden. I had planted 2 types.

Sugar Snap Peas....2 packages and only 2 pods...that's $2.79 a peapod???? Too cold and wet to start, then too hot and dry. Dang!

Beets (2 pkg) were big, but every single one was eaten below the ground by bugs or critters---we will try some in a raised bed next year, maybe lined with fabric and use compost dirt. It's been years since we planted Beets, now I remember why...sigh.

So, Gardening 2022

was a bit of a tough year! 

Our kids came on weekends and picked 'Mom's Grocery Store' pretty much clean, which was a big help in dealing with it all. I made canned sauce from the excess tomatoes or made spaghetti meat sauce for dinners and froze those. We ate our way through fresh tomatoes in salads and tomato sandwiches...and warm right off the vine---just one of the benefits of organic gardening.

Now in Late September---I'm a dusk gardener---allergic to bees and wasps which are rampant in the garden this time of year. I have to be extra careful---many things are being neglected now until we get a break and get some cooler weather, which started yesterday. I've been bitten three times this last month...and maybe I will have to be midnight gardener.

How Did Your CROPS GROW?

Please share in comments and what part of the world you are? 

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