Country Apple Cake with Praline Topping and a Little Forest of Pine Trees


The recipe for this Country Apple Cake actually came in with the mail–it was on the back of a realtor’s postcard. I didn’t feel compelled to respond to the realtor, but did feel compelled to try the recipe, which has an interesting twist–a praline sauce is poured over the hot cake, and cools to crunchiness. And it’s made in a pie plate, so it’s sort of a cake/pie. The cake is moist with apples. This would be the perfect desert for a Sunday supper, and serving it with vanilla ice cream would probably go over well.

Country Apple Cake

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

pecan halves for garnish

Beat together eggs, vanilla and oil until well combined. Stir in half of the following: sugar, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix remaining half with the apples and chopped nuts. Combine the two mixtures by hand until well mixed. Grease a 9″ pie plate and spread mixture into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Topping: Combine brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Drizzle topping over warm cake. There will seem to be too much, but it will sink into the cake. Garnish with pecan halves.


I feel little tingles of Christmas in the air–can’t help it. And I felt like knitting or crocheting something the other day, and at first tried to knit a bird, except that it turned out looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy–back to square one! Will have to work on it. So I looked for something simpler, and found it–a simple pine tree knitted in rough grey wool. Something about it appealed to me–it is for a quiet Christmas, a Christmas of softly falling snow. You will find a picture of it here (scroll down). I also loved the beautiful Norwegian farm house where it was photographed! I was able to find instructions for it. These are excellent, step-by-step instructions, but be careful–they are from Australia, and their treble crochet is our double crochet and their double crochet is our single crochet. They show the American stitches in parentheses. Other than that, these little trees are easy and fun to crochet with scraps of wool. They do seem to call for real wool, not acrylic–it adds to their charm. These can be used to decorate packages or hung in windows and, of course, on a Christmas tree. I used a size F crochet hook with odds and ends of yarn. The grey wool is knitting worsted weight, the white wool is crewel yarn, and the beige is Shetland wool.



Winter light can be quite beautiful. (I know it’s not winter yet, but it’s been cold, and feels like winter!)


This magnificent woodpecker shows up every day for some suet. He’s a red-bellied woodpecker. I always wondered why he was called this, but apparently he has a reddish patch on his belly–I will take the experts’ word for it!


You can see the reddish patch on his belly in this photo.

IMG_2242And, lastly, here’s Moose, our new cat, who is settling in nicely. He is much friendlier than he looks here! Peace to you. Fran




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