Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Browned Butter Takes the Cake

When the weather dropped alarmingly into the 40s and 50s this week (gasp!), I realized how spoiled I'd become with South Carolina's warm weather.  I closed all the windows, washed a load of thick sweaters and swaddled myself in layers, then cranked the heat up.  I bemoaned my lack of fingerless gloves and wrapped up in a blanket when Todd and I ate supper on the sun porch.  He laughed and then reminded me of many of the things I love about fall.

Like...cozy fires down by the pond.

We love to play Scrabble down there when it starts to get chilly.

The night sky is so beautiful...

Todd won, but only because he had some extra help (ahem):

Another fall favorite:  early morning hikes.  I love to gather little bits of twigs, leaves, and berries for bouquets.

I love to see the leaves starting to change.

Other little reminders, too.

And look at these strange, beautiful flowers I found pushing up through the pine needles!

I don't feel quite so chilly when I'm distracted by these things!

I'm doing quite a bit of fall baking.  I found an amazing apple cake recipe last week and have made it multiple times in various forms.  

Bundt cake.

Mini bundts.


Now, I don't traditionally like apple cake.  I find it disconcerting to bite into a soft bit of cake and come across a chewy - but usually hard - morsel of apple.  I have to admit that I love this recipe, though.  It's become one of my favorites!  The apple slices are incredibly tender and flavorful, the cake is spicy, and the browned butter frosting takes it way, way over the top.  It is best in its traditional bundt or mini bundt form.  The batter is incredibly thick, so the cupcakes didn't rise, but spread, and sank in the center.  I thinned out the frosting a bit and piped a healthy amount on top to hide the sinkhole, but the cupcakes are so dense and sticky...I'm going back to the bundt.  Very soon.   The original recipe is here, at the Cookies and Cups website.  Now, because I can't leave well enough alone, I added a cup of cinnamon chips and additional spices (1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of cardamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg) to the cake batter.  I also decreased the powdered sugar in the frosting by a half cup to let the taste of the browned butter really shine through.  You really, really need to try this recipe.  It's amazing.

I've been knitting, too.  I finished one project...

...and am starting on a pair of those fingerless gloves I've been needing.  I also pulled out an old handknit, the first sweater I ever made for myself.

Here's the detail:

This sweater was a major splurge for me.  I had the yarn custom dyed in England because I wanted a cheerful minty-green and white sweater for winter and early spring.  Sigh...isn't it beautiful?

The sweater itself is very light, with three quarter-length sleeves.  It was an easy stockinette knit and didn't take too long, even with fingering-weight yarn.

I decided to make it a small sweater for my goal weight.  I was sad to fold it up and put it away in 2011, but I was so happy to unwrap it recently and wear it around.  I'm still 15 - 20 pounds away from goal, but I think the sweater will still fit then.  Hooray for handknit sweaters!

Have a great week! 


  1. Hi, Thanks for sharing your life and hobbies. I get inspired by the things you post (like the baking!) and your photography is always beautiful. Keep it up.