Akram's Ideas
Apple Desserts

Apple Desserts

Pittsburg State University celebrates “Apple Day” every year as part of a historical tradition dating back to the early days of the University.

As part of the “Apple Day” festivities, there is an apple dessert contest. 

Last year on a whim I thought I’d enter my Apple Cheese Cake recipe, and ended up wining first place.

This year I thought I’d better put some thought into what dessert I’d enter. So I searched the Internet for delicious apple recipes, saving them to my Yumprint cookbook.

Yumprint Apple Cookbook
My Yumprint Apple Cookbook

I collected quite a few recipes but decided to try out the following four:

  • Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
  • Caramel Apple Mouse Cake
  • Crumb-Topped Apple & Pumpkin pie
  • Fresh Apple Cake

Apple Filling and Apple Sauce

Fresh Apple Filling
Fresh Apple Filling

Each of the apple recipes I tested called for an apple filling. Instead of using something in a can, I made my own fresh apple pie filling. I usually make this filling with Splenda ®, but since I wasn’t making it specifically for my hubby, I thought what the heck, use real sugar. (Besides Splenda ® is kind of pricey, so I’d rather save that for cooking for my hubby).

Sugar-Free Apple Pie Filling
Fresh apple pie filling
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 small/medium chopped apples
  2. 1 tbs butter
  3. 1/4 cup of Sugar or Splenda
  4. 1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Chop apples into cubes.
  2. On medium heat melt butter in sauce pan.
  3. Add apples to butter.
  4. Stir in sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Reduce heat and cook apples until golden brown, string in to prevent burning.
Notes
  1. More or less cinnamon can be added at you discretion.
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A few of the desserts also called for apple sauce, which again I decided to make my own. In the case of the apple sauce, I opted to simply blend my apple filling with about 1 to 2 table spoons of apple cider.

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

The first cake that I tried was the “Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake” whose recipe came from MyRecipes.com.

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
This is how the Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake was supposed to look like.

The recipe was pretty simple, though I did have one concern. I was worried that the cream cheese filling would sink to the bottom, but the cake batter was thick enough that the filling set nicely on the top, as I poured the top layer of batter into the pan.

My Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake,
My Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake, stuck to the pan

As you can see from the picture above, my version of the cake didn’t exactly come out picture perfect.

The main reason, I suppose I didn’t get the bundt pan sprayed enough with the cooking spray. Thus the cake stuck horribly and all just fell apart when I removed it from the pan.

Despite it’s crumbled look, the cake was pretty good. Somewhere in the mess of the cake ( I know it’s hard to see in the picture) there is a cream cheese filling that also came out really good.

One thing I would note is that the outer cake seemed a little crunchier than the moist inside, maybe just the way this particular bundt cake is meant to be, or maybe, next time I might get it out of the oven sooner.

Fresh Apple Cake

Let’s move on to the Fresh Apple Cake. This recipe comes from MidwestLiving.com, this was another cake baked from scratch and I must say came our pretty much like the picture. 

Fresh Apple Cake by MidwestLiving.com
Fresh Apple Cake by MidwestLiving.com
My Fresh Apple Cake
My Fresh Apple Cake

Despite my slightly blurred picture, the cake really did look like the picture on MidwestLiving.com website. 

This cake was also a favorite by many of my co-workers who I used as taste testers. All of them agreed that they loved the texture and the fresh apples. 

Personally I liked how easy the cake was to make, and will probably have to make a sugar-free version for my hubby, sooner or latter. 

Crumb-Topped Apple & Pumpkin pie

The next dessert on the list to try was an Apple & Pumpkin pie. My hubby was the one that suggested I try mixing apple and pumpkin in a pie. I was leery of the thought, but then I came across such a recipe on the Taste of Home website. 

As mentioned earlier, I made my own apple filling, as opposed to using the one in the recipe. Then as directed I placed the apple filling in the pie crust and topped with the pumpkin filling.

Taste of Home's Crumb-Topped Apple & Pumpkin Pie
Taste of Home’s Crumb-Topped Apple & Pumpkin Pie

Originally the recipe was meant to be all fat-free and the like, but I didn’t have fat-free evaporated milk or egg substitute. Thus, I opted to go with he real thing, real eggs and the fatty evaporated milk.

I’m also not too fond of a crumble topping on pies, besides at this point it was after midnight and I just wanted to get the pie in the oven. So I decided to leave out the crumble topping.

The prettiest pie I've ever baked
The prettiest pie I’ve ever baked

Once I took the pie out of the oven It must have been the prettiest pie I ever baked. The curst was golden and the pumpkin was just right.

Although the pie looked great, I would have to say it tasted more like a pumpkin pie, that just happened to have apples at the bottom. 

My Pumpkin Apple Pie
My Pumpkin Apple Pie

I’d have to call this pie instead, my Pumpkin Apple pie. Perhaps I just didn’t have enough apple filling, or something.

Another complaint I have with this pie, is that I think the crust was way under done. Though it did come out pretty and all, but the crust on bottom I feel it could have been cooked longer. 

The pie was good, but not worthy of being in an apple contest. 

Caramel Apple Mouse Cake

Our last test recipe was the Caramel Apple Mouse Cake, a recipe I found on The Gunny Sack  website. The recipe was actually adapted from one on  the Taste of Home website.

I was eager to make this dessert because from the pictures it looked so creamy and delicious.

The Caramel Apple Mousse Cake
The Caramel Apple Mousse Cake from the Gunny Sack

The recipe called for a spice cake mix. I am not often fond of boxed spice cake mixes because I think they are over spiced, too much cloves or something.

Thus, I decided to make my own spice cake, by buying a yellow cake mix and adding in some spices.

Yellow Box Cake to Spice Cake
Turn a regular yellow cake mix into a spice cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pkg. yellow cake mix
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1/3 cup oil
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pie spice (apple or pumpkin)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven as directed on cake mix box.
  2. Mix spices with cake mix.
  3. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients.
  4. Bake as directed on cake box.
Notes
  1. You could probably add more spices to alter the spice taste of the cake.
Adapted from Pillsbury
Adapted from Pillsbury
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Once I made the cake I worked on the filling. I opted to wait until I got to work to assemble the cake.

This might have been a mistake. If I had assembled the cake ahead of time, it may have stiffened up in the fridge, but I don’t think it would have.

My cake was just too soft to hold the weight of the filling. and in the end it looked like a collapsed mess. I was so disheartened that I didn’t even feel like garnishing the top of the cake.

My Caramel Apple Mousse Cake, which collapsed
My Caramel Apple Mousse Cake, which collapsed

Yep, it doesn’t look anything like the picture.

This probably was that my cakes were just too thin and soft to hold up the amount of filling I had. If I make this again I’m definitely going to make two cakes, this way when I split them they won’t be so thin.

The Results

After bringing in these tasty desserts to work, I had everyone vote on which one I should enter in the Apple Day contest.

While the Fresh Apple Cake was a favorite, it was the Caramel Apple Mousse Cake, that got the most votes.

This just goes to prove that taste out weighs looks.

Anyways, I hope to enter a non-collapsed version of my Caramel Apple Mousse Cake in the Apple Day dessert contest on Wednesday. The winner will be announced on Thursday, during the Apple Day convocation. 

I will let you know how I do, wish me luck!

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Akram Taghavi-Burris

designer, writer, educator, tech nerd, crafter, baker, sewer and vintage collector, who Brings Creative & Crazy Ides to Life.

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