Spiced Apple Cider Cake

This September marks 7 years for kelliericecakes.com! It is hard to believe how much time has passed! To celebrate I made a spiced apple cider cake with thick cream cheese espresso frosting, apple butter layers, and candied pecans.

I know these layers look extra thick, but the frosting is more cream cheese and not as sweet. I wanted to have an extra creamy no bake cheese cake vibe.

I bought a roll of cake collars online. It is hard for me to decorate any other way because this is so simple and easy! I froze the cake layers, then as I built I sprinkled them with apple cider, a layer of apple butter, hearty layer of frosting and repeat. When you peel the plastic back you have a rustic mess free layer cake!

This is the PERFECT fall cake! All of the sweet spiced bites remind me of everything I love during the fall season.

Ingredients

For the cake-

1 box of spice cake

3 room temperature eggs plus 1 yolk

1 cup of apple sauce unsweet

1 cup of apple cider plus more for sprinkling on the cakes

1 tbsp of Rodelle Vanilla Paste or vanilla extract

For the frosting-

16 oz room temp cream cheese

1 stock of salted butter

1 tbsp Rodelle Vanilla Paste or vanilla extract

2 tbsp instant espresso

2 cups of powdered sugar

1/4 cup of heavy cream

2 tbsp of shortening or coconut oil

Apple butter

Candied pecans

(I found both at my local grocery store)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees

Prepare three 6 inch cake pans

Mix the cake mix, eggs, apple sauce, vanilla paste, and apple cider

Pour evenly into cake pans and bake for 20 minutes or until the middles are set

* I prefer to freeze my layers for easier building, but you are welcome to let them cool and use right away.

Beat the cream cheese, shortening, butter, espresso and vanilla paste. Slowly add the powered sugar.

I go back and forth with the cream and sugar until the frosting is thick and creamy. You just don’t want it to be too sweet.

Take one cake layer on a flat surface and wrap with a cake collar. I find them on Amazon for $10 a roll.

Use a piece of tape to secure.

Sprinkle a tsp of apple cider over the layer. Spread a layer of apple butter, top with cream cheese mix, add your next cake layer and repeat. Finish with frosting and pecan pieces.

Happy fall baking!

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Baked Apple Cider Donuts

Fall is finally here! I go back and forth between pumpkin and apples. Honestly, I would have been baking with both way sooner if my family had let me 😂. These very easy baked apple cider donuts are a perfect way to dip into the season!

I bought my donut pan at Target for $10! You can use a muffin tin as well. The easiest way to fill the donut tin is to fill a ziplock with batter and snip the corner. It makes things way less messy.

These last up to 4 days in a sealed container or ziplock. I actually prefer them the day after so all the sugar soaks into the outside.

Ingredients

2 cups of apple cider

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

3 tbsp of browned butter

2 tbsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp of nutmeg

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups of AP flour

Topping

1/2 granulated sugar

3 tbsps of cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Heat apple cider to a simmer. Let reduce to half.

Mix your sugars and cooled butter. (You can also just melt the butter, but browning it gives a little extra something)

Add in the egg and vanilla

Once your apple cider has reduced let cool and add to your wet ingredients

Mix in the dry ingredients- flour, spices, baking soda and powder.

Mix until everything is just combined. Don’t overmix it’s ok if it is a little lumpy

Grease or spray your pan

Pour batter into a ziplock. Cut the corner and fill pan 3/4 of the way

Bake for ten minutes or until golden

Mix your remaining sugar and cinnamon, dip donuts while still warm

These donuts are delicious alone or with a hot cup of espresso!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake

This is such a fun way to make chocolate cake. Deep chocolate fudge cake topped with the crackled meringue and fresh whipped cream. It is a cross between a brownie and macaron.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I wanted to try something a little different. When Patrick and I first started dating I would make a dark chocolate cake for two. This reminds me a lot of that flavor profile, but instead of icing a nice crispy meringue topper.

We used strawberries, but raspberries would be equally delicious. Between the fudge cake and meringue I drizzled hazelnut spread for a little extra richness.

Ingredients-

2 cups of dark chocolate

3/4 stick of salted butter

1/4 cup AP flour

3/4 cup of almond flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar divided

1 vanilla bean scraped or tbsp vanilla bean paste

6 eggs, 4 separated

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

Whipped cream and berries for topping

Directions-

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melted butter and chocolate together. In sauce pan or microwave for one minute on high. Add 1/4 cup sugar and brown sugar.

Let cool slightly and whisk in two eggs plus 4 egg yolks. Add in your vanilla bean/ paste. Mix in the salt, AP flour, and almond flour.

Pour into a lined spring form pan. I used an 8in pan for height and put parchment paper down to prevent leaking.

Bake for 25 minutes or until just set enough to hold the meringue.

Warm your hazelnut spread and drizzle over the cake. This does not need to be perfect.

Whip the remaining egg whites and sugar together. Add in the cream of tartar as it whips.

Once the egg whites are glossy and slightly stiff, slowly fold in the cocoa powder. Do not mix, whip, or go to fast. This will deflate your eggs to crumbles.

Spoon over the cake and slightly spread.

Bake for another 20 minutes or until the meringue is set. It will have a slight crust to it.

Let cool and top with whipped cream and berries!

My favorite Cocoa Power is from Rodelle. You can get a giant bag that lasts forever and adds the perfect dark chocolate richness.

Sprinkles I found at Homegoods!

If you want an even more dramatic top just add two more egg whites to the meringue mix.

Enjoy!

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Easy Empanadas with Jalapeño Dip

There is a Cuban restaurant around the corner that makes super simple delicious empanadas. Beef or chicken, crunchy with an amazing dip.

I do not know anything about an authentic empanada, but I do know what would go well with a similar dip.

My version has roasted onion, potatoes, butternut squash, ground beef, and mozzarella. I used frozen empanada dough from my local grocery store. These seem to be pretty accessible. I found them at Walmart, Kroger, and Publix.

Best part is how easy it is to make these! I froze the filling and was able to make them in minutes.

Ingredients

For the empanada

Ground beef cooked and drained

2 cups of butternut squash and gold potatoes cubed

1 small yellow onion chopped

Mozzarella cheese (I like fresh grated for extra melt)

Empanada dough ( I’ve found this in the frozen section at Walmart, Kroger, and Publix)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt and pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic

For the dip

1 cup sour cream

1 small ripe avocado

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 fresh jalapeño seeds removed

Juice from 1 lime

Directions

Let your empanada dough defrost.

Roast your squash, potatoes and onion until fork tender.

Add to your beef.

Season and mix.

Take a dough circle and fill it with the beef fixture leaving room to fold over.

Top with cheese.

Fold the circle in half.

I dip a fork into water and push the ends together. Just make sure it is nice and sealed.

You can bake or air fry at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (or until golden)

You can also deep fry at 350 degrees for 1-2 minutes per side.

For the dip

I dump everything into my blender and blend until creamy. Season with salt and pepper. This keeps fresh for up to 5 days in a sealed refrigerated container.

You can also freeze the empanadas. They reheat beautifully! I hope you try these out. Definitely experiment with your fillings! I want to try a breakfast version soon!

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Arancini – Fried Risotto

What is it about the cool weather that makes you crave all the comfort foods? With the temperature dropping we have been eating a lot of risotto. Usually we have so much left over and I don’t know what to do with it. So I was thinking why not fry it?

I used our favorite classic parmesan risotto and made a light crispy crust. Serve with your favorite marinara and extra cheese!

Best part is stuffing them with fresh mozzarella. You end up with a yummy bite reminiscent of mozzarella sticks.

Even picky eaters with love these!

Ingredients

2 cups of risotto chilled

1 ball of fresh mozzarella

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 cup of panko or bread crumbs

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Italian seasoning

3 eggs beaten

2 cups of marinara sauce

Canola oil for frying

Fresh Parmesan and parsley for topping

Directions-

Roll risotto into even sized balls

Cut mozzarella into bite size pieces and place inside each risotto ball

Just make sure the cheese is covered

Heat oil to 350 degrees

Season flour with garlic and Italian seasoning

Roll each ball into the flour, dip into eggs and cover with panko

Fry until golden

They will start to float when they are heated through

Season with salt and pepper

Serve with marinara Parmesan and parsley

Enjoy!!!

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Beefy French Onion Soup

My instapot is my favorite kitchen appliance when it starts getting cold out. I love being able to get big flavors in half the time. This soup is easy to make with minimal ingredients, but still delivers hearty bites!

I started by caramelizing two large yellow onions with butter and a spoonful of brown sugar.

This broth takes on the deep onion flavor. When the bread soaks the broth up it is so delicious!

Ingredients

1 pound chuck roast

3 large yellow onions chopped

2 cups of beef bone broth

1 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp of worcestershire

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp dried thyme or one bunch of fresh

1 tsp chopped garlic

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

French bread and smoked Gouda for topping

Directions

In the instapot heat a little oil on the sauté setting and sear each side of the beef

Switch to meat/stew setting

Add the onions, butter, brown sugar, herbs, garlic, and worcestershire

Cook for one hour then add the bone broth.

Stew for another hour until the beef is easy to pull apart

Season with salt and pepper

Top with toasted bread and cheese

I like to broil my cheese bread for a few seconds before topping

Top with fresh herbs and enjoy!

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Smoked Pork Sliders

Do you ever shop the bargain cook book section at Barnes and Nobles? I get suckered in every time! I came home with two cook books the other day that are filled with inspiration. Since I’ve been doing Keto I feel like I was in a cooking rut.

These buns clearly are not low carb, but Patrick is not on the diet so I wanted to surprise him. These are inspired from a couple different recipes I found. Which is usually how the best creations come about!

I don’t have a smoker so I just used my charcoal grill. I tossed in some Jack Daniels wood chips to get the smoked taste. The trick here is to cook the meat for 275 degrees for at least 3 hours.

The charred meat on the sweet roll with sriracha mayo and pickles is spot on! I did pair the meat with a whole thirty bbq sauce, but Patrick hated the sauce haha! Not sweet enough for him.

If you are doing low carb this meat is perfect for you. Low sugar and so tasty! If you aren’t low carb it’s still wonderful!

Ingredients

3 lb pork shoulder/butt

Salt

1/2 cup or sriracha

2 tbsp of garlic powder

2 tbsp of smoked paprika

1 tbsp of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup of melted butter

1/2 cup of mayo

Pickles

Hawaiian rolls

Directions

Heat grill or oven to 400 degrees

Rub the sriracha (leaving 1 tbsp out) over the pork and salt liberally

Let sit in the fridge uncovered while the grill heats up

Wipe the pork down with paper towel to dry it

If using the grill use the top rack or put to the side of the coals

Rotate the meat for an even cook every 15 minutes or so

The grill will cool to 300-275 on its own

Lower the oven temp if roasting

Season with the garlic, paprika, pepper and salt liberally again

Turn every 30-45 minutes

Once the pork hits 160 degrees remove and let rest for 30 minutes

Once cooled shred and pour the melted butter over top

Mix the remaining sriracha with the mayo

Serve on the rolls with pickles

Enjoy!!!!

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Louisiana BBQ Shrimp

We always order Cajun shrimp. In our neighborhood there is always an amazing seafood boil a stone throw away. I wanted to branch out and try something a little different. The flavor of this sauce is unlike anything I’ve ever tried!

I made mountain bread in our cast iron skillet and could not wait to make something for dipping! The sauce is so rich and filled with garlic. I added sausage to add even more flavor.

The first time I made this sauce Patrick immediately came into the kitchen to figure out what I was making. The sautéed garlic and onion with the lemon butter is mouth watering.

Ingredients

1 pound of shrimp

Two links of bratwurst or sausage of your choice

1 tbsp of smoked paprika

1 tsp of garlic powder

3 cloves of chopped garlic

1 small chopped yellow onion

1/2 cup of butter

3 bay leaves

Zest from one lemon

Juice from two lemons

3 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp of olive oil

Directions

In a large sauté pan over medium heat warm the olive oil

Add the onion and chopped garlic

Sauté until onions are translucent

Add the sausage and butter

When the sausage is about half way cooked at the shrimp, paprika, garlic powder,worcestershire sauce, lemon zest and juice

You should have a good amount of sauce simmering at this point, if you need more feel free to add a little water or broth

Top with bay leaves and simmer until sausage is cooked

Shrimp will be pink and curled

Remove bay leaves and season with salt and lots of black pepper

Enjoy with super crusty bread!!!!

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Garlic Parmesan Pretzels

Last weekend we were at the mall and the kids wanted to stop for pretzels. Something about the warm buttery dough sprinkled with salt makes me think of summer. Long pool days and mall shopping with lots of pretzel bites.

I wanted to take our favorite treat up a notch with garlic butter, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese.

Paired with spicy honey mustard and smoked sausage you can have a perfect appetizer board.

You can use any fresh herbs you have available. Parsley, basil, oregano and rosemary would all be great.

Ingredients

2 cups of AP flour

1/4 cup salted butter

2 tbsp of sugar

1/4 cup of butter milk

1 cup of warm water

1 packet of active yeast

1 egg mixed with a tsp of water

1 tsp of baking soda

For the topping

2 tbsp of melted butter

1 tsp of chopped garlic

1 tsp of chopped herbs

1/4 cup of grated Parmesan

For the mustard

1/4 cup of honey

2 tbsp of hot sauce

2 tbsp of Dijon mustard

Pepper

Directions

Heat water to luke warm and pour into a large mixing bowl with the sugar and yeast

Add in the buttermilk, butter and flour

Using a dough hook to mix until everything is combined

Let rise for at least two hours

I like using plastic wrap to cover the bowl to keep air out

In a large pot boil water and sprinkle in the baking soda

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Roll dough into long strips and tie into knots or pretzel shapes

Brush the egg and water mix onto each pretzel

Bake until they start to brown

Mix the melted butter garlic and herbs

Drizzle over all the pretzels and cover in the Parmesan

Continue baking until brown and cooked through

For the sauce mix the mustard honey and hot sauce

Season with pepper

Enjoy!

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Pizza Flatbread

If you live anywhere near a Sprouts farmers market you definitely need to download their app. We discovered recently that you can do all your shopping on the app to make a list or have everything delivered! Since I am currently obsessed with fresh lemon and herbs we have been going to the store every few days. This recipe takes everything I love about summer and pulls it together in this awesome appetizer!

The dough takes about 30 minutes to rise. While that happens you can throw together your sauce! Top with whatever you have available and wow your guests (or family) with this super easy flat bread!

The lemon oil and herbs are what make this recipe stand out about the traditional flatbread. Everything is so fresh.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of AP flour

1 packet of dry active yeast

3/4 cups of warm water

1 tsp of lemon zest

Juice from one lemon

1/2 cup of olive oil

2 tbsp of sugar

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 cup of chopped herbs ( I used oregano and basil)

Pepperoni

Fresh mozzarella

2 tbsp of tomato paste

1 cup of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp of garlic

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Mix yeast, sugar and water and let sit for 5 minutes

Add in the flour, lemon zest and half of the herbs

Mix with a dough hook until smooth ( add more flour if needed)

Drizzle a little oil over the ball cover and let rise

Tip** place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit on top of the oven while it preheats

In a sauce pan heat chopped tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, remaining herbs, crushed red pepper, over medium heat. Add water if you need to as it cooks down. Once it starts to thicken like a paste add 1 tsp of oil or butter.

Pat out the dough on parchment paper and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook for 5 minutes then slather the bread with your tomato mixture. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until the dough starts to look golden brown.

Add your cheese and pepperoni. Broil until cheese melts and pepperonis crisp.

Serve with side of olive oil!

What’s your favor summer appetizer?

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