It is really hard for me to get into the mood to put up the Christmas tree with 75 degree weather outside. But it is now December 18th and I had to get it up or................ there would not have been a tree for this year. I dug out last years sale ornaments and went to work with a couple of friends. We spent the day constantly turning the air conditioning off and on as it would get too hot or too cold.
Every year after Christmas, for years, I have gone to the 50% off or 75% off after Christmas sales and purchased ornaments. Last year was no exception. When I arrived at the stores, they had ALL for some crazy reason purchased brown ornaments and NO ONE in Latin America buys brown ornaments. Latinos buy bright stuff! Red, orange, purple, green, yellow, but brown??? NO WAY! So here I am looking at stacks and stacks of brown ornaments AND CHEAP!
My mind got busy and I started thinking, what could I do with these ornaments? Brown? and Orange? and Copper? and Lime Green. I had it! The perfect weird combination and all of the ornaments were on sale. The hard part, I thought would be the ribbon. I love ribbon draped on trees! So I filled my cart full, spent my $35, had 3 hours of fun choosing all that I needed and then I went home. I dutifully packed my ornaments in a box and waited until "next year", which is "this year".
In the photos, the orange looks really orange, but in real life, with the lighting I have, it looks more copper color and is really pretty.
Since I had never used these ornaments before and had never seen the tree completed, I was not sure how it would look, but I started in on it. I didn't have orange or green lights, so I decided to do the tree without lights. This year I will try to buy the green lights on sale after Christmas!
To get into the mood, you must have the smell of fresh baked something wafting through the house, so this seemed like the perfect cake to bake. The fragrance of cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg baking did the trick! My friend Erlinda even made some cinnamon tea.
Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Carrie Floyd, from the Culinate Kitchen collection Serves 1 Total Time 1½ hours
Chock-full of apples, this is a favorite fall cake. Though I’m sure it would be good without it, the frosting — reminiscent of maple-bar icing — is awesome.
2⅓ cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. almond flavoring
1 tsp. Maple Syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
4 cups apples (about 3 large apples),peeled & chopped
¾ cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
⅓ cup unsalted butter
~ Pinch of salt
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 Tbsp. milk
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla or maple syrup
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan.
2.Make the cake: In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and ground spices.
3.In a mixer bowl, or with an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix for another minute, until the eggs are blended into the butter and sugar.
4.Reduce the speed to low and add flour mixture, a third at a time, just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be very thick and stiff.
5.Fold in the apples and nuts and stir just enough to evenly distribute the apples and nuts through the batter.
6.Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula, pushing the batter into the corners of the pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. When the top of the cake is firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool on a wire rack.
7.Make the frosting: In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the salt and brown sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar melts. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil.
8.Remove pan from heat and pour contents into a medium bowl. Cool for 10 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla or maple syrup and stir until well blended.
9.Spread frosting on cooled apple cake. Cut into squares to serve.