Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Almost Halloween . . .

It's almost Halloween -- for today is Halloween Eve . . .

I love Halloween for I adore the little children all decked out in costumes who come "begging" for candy.   I dress as a witch and sit outside and hand out full size candy bars to the little imps.  

When it comes to Halloween decorations, I'm of the less is more variety and I prefer ours to be outside and out just a day or two before Halloween.     I prefer mine to be jack o lanterns and only jack o lanterns.

I love these two concrete jack o lanterns -- 363 days of the year they are concrete sculpture -- pumpkins but on Halloween Eve and Halloween itself, I turn them around . . . and they are happy jack o lanterns ready to light the night.

And each year, I buy one special pumpkin.    One pumpkin to be turned into the Halloween jack o lantern. To show the entrance to the "witchy lair" . . . A perfect pumpkin . . . which I carve. . .

Into the perfect jack o lantern.

But one of my neighbors, turned this . . .

A big old tree . . .

Into this -- the perfect Halloween/Haunted House tree turned into a pumpkin tree.     A plethora of plastic pumpkins hanging from the bare branches of the tree . . . I am enchanted!

And as our neighbors turned an ordinary  tree into a Halloween tree so I turned . . .

A bowl of apples from Minnesota into . . .

A bowl of applesauce, which I then turned into . . .

A spiced applesauce cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

A perfect fall cake.    A perfect cake to tote to our church's annual Reformation Sunday Potluck.    Luckily, the dessert table was full and so I was able to bring home a couple of pieces for they made a perfect nosh

For a Sunday afternoon tea on the porch.      After church and after a nap and after planting the final two packages of spring bulbs and after carving my Halloween pumpkin into a jack o lantern.

It was peaceful on the porch as I sipped my tea (Harney's Cinnamon which is a perfect fall tea and a perfect compliment to the spiced applesauce cake) because . . .

Someone got left inside!    He waited patiently by the door in case, just in case, I decided to let him join me.   He thought at least one bite of that cake had his name on it!!!!!

It's Monday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday for it is fun to see a tree transform into a Halloween tree and a bowl of apples turn into an afternoon tea nosh!

The cake is from Smitten Kitchen and is a very good cake -- she said it keeps well but since we took it to church, we didn't get to find out -- the two pieces we brought home were for afternoon tea.    It is a good cake, made better, I think, by using my own homemade applesauce.  


2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. walnuts, toasted, cooled and chopped

5 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 T. butter, softened
1/4 t. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.    Butter an 8 or 9 inch square cake pan.   

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.    Beat butter, brown sugar nd vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.    Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce.    At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts.    The batter will look a little curdly and uneven, but don't worry, it will all bake up perfectly in the end.    Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.    Cool in pan 15 minutes.    Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate.    Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely.     

Make frosting:    Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy.   Sift powdered sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.    Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.

It's Halloween -- and the ghosts and goblins have their fingers in my post . . . click on the vertical box and a picture will appear . . . don't ask me why this happened . . . but if it had to happen, a Halloween post seems an appropriate post for a "missing" picture!


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Your concrete jack-o-lanterns are great. The pumpkin tree is fun too. I carved pumpkins today and am currently roasting the seeds. We love them as a snack!

Rebecca said...

I've bee looking for concrete jack-o'-lanterns ever since I saw yours earlier.

That cinnamon cream cheese frosting sounds wonderful! I've never heard of it. I can think of several applications for it!

Martha said...

Rebecca -- out of the bowl is a good application!!!!

my cup of tea said...

Yummy! Can't wait to try your cake!
Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Pondside said...

I wondered what that line was - imagine that....gremlins in your blog post!
The cake looks delicious, the jack o'lanterns are all stunning, and all-in-all this was a really good post!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

the cake looks so yummy!
Have a great Halloween!!

All That Glitters said...

I love those concrete pumpkins! I have 2 pumpkins in my yard that stays out year round!

On Crooked Creek said...

That photo thing...S P O O K Y!!!
Your applesauce cake looks delicious! Enjoy your time with the children on Halloween!

Babs said...

Your applesauce cake looks delish and I'm wishing I had a piece right now with a cup of tea. How fun that you have trick or treaters. Sadly,we rarely get any in the last few years, but I bought candy anyway...just in case.
Happy Halloween,

Anonymous said...

Hello Martha ~
I love your concrete jack-lanterns. I wouldn't want to put them away. :) You reminded me with your post, I must make applesause soon. All of our apples are getting eaten up fairly quickly.
I'm your newest follower!
Hugs Rosemary...

Honey at 2805 said...

Yoyr concrete pumpkins are fabulous. What fun your neighbor's tree is!

Thanks for the cake's so perfect for Fall!

Kerin said...

Looks like you're all ready for the trick-or-treaters.
That cake looks to die for, and I'm certain it was better because of your homemade apple-sauce.
Happy 'Boo' day!

Ann @ makethebestofthings said...

Using just pumpkins and jack o' lanterns is a great idea. Keeps the decor low key and looks wonderful. Those concrete pumpkins are great, I'd love to have them.