A Visit To Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Disneyland & California Adventure During Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! Today is the perfect day to give you a tour of my recent trip to Disneyland to see how they celebrate Halloween!

Anaheim Angels


Anaheim Angels

On vacation in California a few weeks ago I got the chance to see a game at Angel Stadium, home of the Anaheim Angels!

Small Bites Baking: Candy Corn Inspired Butterscotch Trifle

candy corn

A sweet and small dessert inspired by a quintessentially fall candy, candy corn! 

The Most Fall-like Sweater, L.L. Bean's Flannel Trimmed Soft Cotton Rugby

fall sweater

Changing leaves, warm sweaters, pumpkins, plaid - these are all signs of fall and I've got them all for you in today's blog post! 

Small Bites Baking: Apple Spice Cake for Four

Small Bites Baking: Apple Spice Cake for Four

With one kid off to college and another about to follow, it was time that I start to adjust how this family eats. 

Turns out The Oldest was the big eater in the house (we had long suspected as such) and I have found that I am making far too much food at meal time. This is especially difficult as now that the weather has turned crisp, I turn to baking! It's my favourite way to spend a weekend afternoon, baking up treats to eat right away or save for dessert. For years we never bothered with dessert, unless it was a special occasion. Lately, I have been finding myself craving a little something sweet as we clear the dishes. 

I've been playing with different desserts and while everyone at work is happy when I bring in the leftovers, I knew there needed to be a better way to make desserts for 2-3 people without having too much waste. Also, we have to watch those calories and I wanted to find a way to have a few sweet bites before a nightly walk with the dogs. Welcome to my new baking series Small Bites Baking! 

celebrating this life


I started by experimenting with some favorite fall flavours in the kitchen. I made a some small batch cookies and a few mousses and puddings in ramekins. They were very well received! I made a simple pudding with fall spiced whipped topping that was about three generous bites. It was AMH, my husband and frequent taste taster who I should add is generally not a fan of sweets, who said this is what we need, just a few small bites of your baking. So there you have it, a new baking series and a name was born just before the Thanksgiving weekend. 

Traditionally, I would have baked a pumpkin or apple pie but I was feeling the need for a cake. And something with apple. The local farm is overrun with McIntosh's and this time of year I could eat the entire farm supply! The idea was to take a simple cake recipe and add a little apple and fall spices. Then instead of heavy calorie icings, use whipped cream for in between layers and as a topping. But how to bake a cake that would be considered small bites?

baking

Buy a small cake pan! I bought two small cake pans with removable bottoms. They're the exact same size and while I would have loved to buy three, there were only two at the second hand shop I found them in. They don't have a brand name on them and they also don't seem the most sturdy and I'm sure I'll be replacing them in the future. But for $2 I was willing to give it a go. When it comes time to replace, I'll just buy a few of the smallest cake pans, Wilton is a brand I've always used and loved. 

small cake pans

So I've got my recipe and my pans and I'm ready to go to make a small three tiered apple spice cake for our Thanksgiving dessert. First things first, I needed to butter and flour the inside of the pans. Because I have only two pans and needed three layers, I would be doubling up on one pan with the batter and just cutting it in half once cooled. I buttered/floured all the way to the top of my small cake pan because I wasn't entirely sure where the batter would end once filed. 

apple cake recipe

Spatula (bought on my trip to Santa Barbara, California!) | Kitchen Aid mixer Loving my new red mixer!

I wanted to keep this simple because I would be baking while cooking a 16 pound turkey and all the fixin's. That meant that instead of making my own apple sauce, I cheated and used good old fashioned unsweetened applesauce from a jar. Whatever. Sometimes busy people need shortcuts! Always remember that it is ok to take shortcuts when needed #lifeadvice 😀 I used to feel quite guilty about things like that and in my head I would think 'well Martha would have done it all from scratch'. Then one day it hit me that Martha doesn't have a full time corporate job and then has to come home to a sink full of dishes with dogs jumping all over her while her kids ask when dinner will be ready and a husband asking if his favourite shirt is washed yet! Life requires shortcuts and I am here for them. 

Alright, you know how baking goes. Put all your dry ingredients into one bowl, your butter and sugar go into the mixer and your wet, the apple sauce, is in a measuring cup. We mix up the butter and sugar, whisk together the dry ingredients and start adding them, alternating with the applesauce, ending with the sauce. I add a 1/4 cup at a time, starting with the dry ingredients. 

Once mixed, add to your buttered/floured pan and bake. When they are done, place on a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then, remove from the pan (turn upside down and they will pop out!) and cool completely and start making the whipped topping. 

apple cake

Then you get to assemble! This is the really fun part. Because I had two pans and needed three layers, I baked more cake in one of the pans. I cut that larger cake in half to give me three. Then I cut the tops off to make sure all three layers were even. 

Place one layer down, add some topping, enough so it will ooze out the sides. Please a cake layer on top and continue. Add a generous topper and you're done! Simple!

As with any baking project, the best part is tasting. And this one is oh-so-delicious! Moist and spicy, it was the perfect ending to a cool, crisp fall day. 

Apple spice cake


Makes enough for three small cake layers or 6 large muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
6 tbsp butter (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large fresh egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce

Butter and flour your cake pans

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and lightly whisk

Beat butter and sugar until mixed. Add egg and vanilla, mix again

Alternate adding dry ingredients and applesauce to the butter mixture, starting with dry and ending with applesauce. 

Bake for 350 degrees for 40 mins, testing doneness with a toothpick after 30 minutes (just to be on the safe side) 

Spiced Whipped topping


2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. confectioners or icing sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Using a mixer, beat the cream, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Do not overmix or you'll end up with spiced butter 😁

Life With Ivy...so far

l.l.bean

Ivy, our Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, is now 4 months old and what an adventure it's been...so far!