Apple Cheddar Sandwich Bread

I’d like to file this one in the better late than never category, with apologies to Laura, Barb, and Jamie, of the Twelve Loaves baking challenge. The ladies of the Twelve Loaves post a new theme every month, and the challenge is to bake a bread, any kind of bread, that fits the theme. September’s challenge was bread with cheese, and I swear, I did make this in September, honest.


Back before my children were born I made bread regularly, all kinds of bread: Sourdough, rye, brioche, baguette, pizza dough, fancy European peasant loaves that required three-day ferments. I even made my own tortillas.

Then, when they were infants and toddlers, came a period of store-bought bread. It was a sad, dark time. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive to get a decent loaf. Most of the time we made due with cheap supermarket bread. I did not eat much bread.

A few years ago I hauled out the yeast and made a couple of loaves of white sandwich bread. My children went wild, especially the youngest, who declared that he never wanted to eat store-bought bread again. With this goal in mind I began baking bread more regularly again, mostly sandwich bread, alternating between white and whole wheat.

The day I baked my September loaves I was making white bread. I used my standard go to recipe, Craig Kominiak’s from Baking with Julia, which is the best I have ever found. After the first rise, I rolled the dough out into two rectangles, sprinkled it liberally with 1/2 inch cubes of apples from my back yard and aged cheddar cheese, rolled it up into loaves, and set it in the prepared pans for the second rise. All in all I used about 4 cups of diced apples and a pound of cheese.

I’m not sure I ever actually made any sandwiches with this bread. I think we wound up eating all of it straight up, slice by slice.

Here’s the recipe.

Apple Cheddar Sandwich Bread (adapted from Baking with Julia)

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 T. instant yeast
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 7 cups white bread flour
  • 1 T. salt
  • 2 oz. butter, room temperature
  • 1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 cups peeled and cored apples, 1/2 inch dice
  1. Add the first four ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hook and mix, on low speed, until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium, and continue kneading in the mixer for about 10 minutes. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Add flour or water as necessary.
  3. With the mixer still running, toss in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and continue kneading until it is incorporated. The dough may look like it is falling apart at first. Keep going. It will come back together.
  4. Roll the dough into a ball. Place it back in the bowl, cover it, and set it in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until it doubles in bulk.
  5. Divide the dough in two and roll it out into rectangles, about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Scatter the cheese and apples over the two rectangles. It will seem like far too  much to ever fit. Don’t worry, it will.
  7. Roll each rectangle up and place it in a buttered, 8-inch bread pan.
  8. Let the loaves rise for 45 minutes, until they double in size again and have grown over the tops of the pans.
  9. About 30 minutes into the rise, preheat the oven to 375.
  10. Bake the loaves for 45 minutes, or until they are a dark honey brown on top.
  11. Remove the pans from the oven, remove the bread from the pans, and let the loaves cool before slicing.

Skeleton Bones

Family tradition dictates that we have a major Halloween celebration every October during which 30 or 40 costumed children run screaming through my house, playing games, making crafts, and loading up on candy and other snacks.

The other snacks traditionally include hot dogs, chili, squash soup, hard boiled spider eggs, salsa, guacamole, kale chips, a poppy seed encrusted cheese ball, black Kool-Aid, a chocolate fountain, a Jell-O gummy worm pie…

… various cupcakes and cookies, like these floating eyeball cauldrons…… and my personal favourite it-wouldn’t-be-a-party-without-them skeleton bones.I love them so much I’m going to show you two pictures. Here is what they look like all piled up in a bowl.Every year the party is wild, every year it is fun, and every year something else unexpected happens. For example, this year we discovered what happens when you jam a toothpick into the intake valve of the chocolate fountain. It explodes. It becomes volcanic. It spews melted chocolate everywhere.

Skeleton bones are very simple to make. Too simple for a formal recipe, really. You need three ingredients: miniature marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and white chocolate. I will leave you to figure out the rest from the photos, while I head back to the kitchen to continue scrubbing bits of chocolate off my appliances.


Perfect Autumn Cake

Welcome to the Canadian Thanksgiving edition of Abby Made Me Do It, in which I share with you my favourite cake of all time. Really. I’ve made a lot of cakes in my life, and I’ve sampled many more, but this one is the best, absolutely the best. It is also the perfect Thanksgiving dessert for those who are tired of the ubiquitous pumpkin pie.
It looks like this:It is, admittedly, not the simplest cake to make. There are multiple steps, and you need to start a day ahead, but trust me, the results are worth it.

This cake has four components. It consists of a hot milk sponge cake, filled with pumpkin cheesecake, frosted with sweetened whipped cream, and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds. It is a divine combination. If you want to be really decadent you can brush the sponge cake with a bit of bourbon before assembly.

Perfect Autumn Cake

Step 1: Make the cheesecake.

Do  this at least a day before you plan to assemble the cake.

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 200.
  2. Line a 9-inch round pan with foil.
  3. Beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Beat in the sugar, spices and flour. Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the pumpkin, vanilla, and sour cream.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake until only a golf ball sized circle in the center jiggles when you shake the pan. Start testing at 50 minutes (I didn’t time this, so it may take a while longer).
  5. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least overnight before proceeding.

Step 2: make the hot milk cake

This recipe is adapted from the Miette cookbook. The original recipe makes two 6-inch cakes. It makes slightly more batter than is ideal for a single 9-inch round pan. Feel free to use any extra to make a cupcake or two.

  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Put the eggs, in their shells, in a pan of very hot tap water.
  4. Melt the butter together with the milk in a pot or in the microwave. Whisk them together vigorously to form an emulsion. Set aside to cool while you work on the eggs and sugar.
  5. Remove the eggs, which should now be warm but not cooked, and crack them into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, then beat on high speed for 6 to 8 minutes (with a whisk attachment if using a stand mixer) until the eggs are extremely light and pale in color. The volume should at least triple and it will look like a soft meringue.
  6. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the eggs. Fold them in.
  7. Give the butter/milk mixture another good whisking to blend them and pour over the batter. Fold the ingredients together until smooth.
  8. Pour into the prepared pan until it is 2/3 full and bake until the center is firm and springs back lightly when touched. I didn’t time this, but expect it to take maybe 35 to 45 minutes. NOTE: there will be leftover batter. Use it to make cupcakes or something.
  9. When the cake is completely cool, you are ready to start assembling it. Move on to step 3.

Step 3: Assembling the cake

  1. Let the cheesecake warm to room temperature.
  2. Using a serrated knife, carefully split the sponge cake into two separate layers. Place one on the serving plate. With a knife or metal spatula, scoop up the pumpkin cheesecake and spread it over the bottom layer of cake as though it were frosting. Use all of the cheesecake.
  3. Top with the remaining sponge cake layer.
  4. Put the whole thing in the fridge while you make the whipped cream frosting.

Step 4: Frosting the cake

  • 1/2 pint whipping cream
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  1. Combine all ingredients except pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and beat until the cream is stiff and spreadable.
  2. Spread whipped cream on cake.
  3. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
  4. Devour cake. I dare you to eat only one piece. Go ahead. Try.