Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Finding That Memory in Your Recipe Box

I'm not sharing a recipe so much as I'm sharing a piece of personal history.

It was about ten years ago and my family was having The Mister over for dinner so he could meet my grandmother. Of course, he wasn't actually The Mister yet. I remember it was a cold evening, so sometime in winter. My mother made an extra special meal. I decided to bake the dessert. There was a delicious sounding apple cake recipe I saw in, of all places, The Budget. That's the Amish/Mennonite newspaper, for my readers who don't know about it. It has a small recipe section. Those recipes are a real shot in the dark, sometimes with scant directions or misprints. A complete gamble.

The cake was a big hit, especially served warm with the caramel topping. When I told my grandmother that I had never made it before and I was glad that it turned out so well, she was aghast. She told me never to make an untested recipe for a special meal. Too risky, she said. Something might not turn out. 

I still do it all the time. I'm a risk taker. 

I never made that delicious apple cake again because for some reason, I recalled it as being a pain in the neck. Maybe it was the boredom of unwrapping all the caramels for the sauce. Anyway, when I found it recently it in my recipe box, all I could think now is that it sure looks easy.

It uses one box of cake mix, and if you don't feel like unwrapping caramels you can dab on a little of any caramel sauce from a jar. I'll provide a work around if you don't have a box of cake mix.

This makes a very moist and flavorful bundt cake. You don't have to believe me, read the reaction of The Mister at the end. 

1 package yellow cake mix*
1 cup water
4 eggs
1 package (serves 4) instant vanilla pudding
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large apples, peeled and chopped

20 caramel candies
1/4 cup milk

Grease and flour a 12 cup fluted bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, eggs, and oil in a large bowl. Gently stir in apples. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt caramels and milk. When cake is cooled, drizzle over cake. (I actually put the sauce on when the cake was still a tiny bit warm and let it melt into the cake.)

*Cake mix recipe: 2 and 1/4 cup sifted flour
                           1 and 1/4 cup sugar
                           2 tsp. baking powder
                           1/2 tsp. salt
                           Cut in 1/3 cup shortening until finely crumbled. This is a basic cake mix.

Review from The Mister: You made this before? It's good. Why did it take ten years to make this again? It should have been in rotation. Can I have another piece?  

I would love to hear some of the good luck stories from your kitchen, and the bad, too. Please share!


  1. Kraft now has small bags of "caramel bits" which would be perfect for this recipe. They are like miniature carmels--no wrappings to fiddle with. You'll have to look for them. Your cake sounds delicious!

  2. Thanks for the tip, Becka! What a handy idea.

  3. This sounds like me all around... even down to the risk taker part. :) I do it ALL of the time. Because if it was a hit - you'll know it. And, if it wasn't ... everyone has taken a "thank-you" bit and there are not a lot of leftovers to dread the next day (or two). LOL.

    I love memories.. especially found in a recipe box. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. I love your attitude and strategy! I never thought of it that way before, but you're right. I've had more hits than misses in the past so it's generally worth it.

  4. Oh, this does sound good.

    Funny story: We had been married for a few years - had two daughters. We had built a new house and the great grandmothers were getting up in age. I decided that for Thanksgiving Dinner, I would host the event. So, the two great grandmothers attended as well as other family members. My grandmother was an avid coffee drinker - she did not like tea. So, I made her a cup of coffee to go with her meal. I asked her if everything was OK and she replied that everything was good except the the coffee was a little salty! Mistakenly, I grabbed the salt container instead of the sugar and had put two good teaspoons of salt in her coffee!

    1. Ha ha, Kris! Oh how awful! What a funny memory, though. That seems like it could have happened to anyone, especially on a busy day like Thanksgiving. That was really nice of you to host the special day and I'm sure they enjoyed your hospitality anyway.

  5. Love this story! I can just hear your Mister saying that! "It should have been in rotation."

  6. The cake itself sounds fab, but caramel sauce on top just puts it over the top. I wish I could put sauce on everything. I love the caramel bits idea for the sauce, I'd be less tempted to pop one in my mouth every 3 seconds. I Pinned the recipe - thank you!!

    1. Popping caramels in your mouth, what?! I'm sure that's never happened over here. ;) Let me know what you think of it when you make it.


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