Inner Chef

Enjoy your kitchen, your food and your inner chef


Apple Cider Donut Cake

This cake is light and fluffy with a delicate apple cider flavor.

Apple Cider Mixture
1 large or 2 small apples  (Granny Smith is recommended; use anything with a lot of tart flavor)
1 1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup milk
Cake Batter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is best!)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
6 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Apple Cider Mixture
  1. Peel, core, and chop your apples. Combine with apple cider in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 10-12 minutes,  or until apples are tender. The mixture will foam up when it boils. Cool for 5 minutes, then puree, preferably with an immersion blender, although a blender or food processor will do.

  2. Combine 1 cup of apple mixture with milk; this allows the milk to curdle, like buttermilk. (You will have a little apple puree leftover.)

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

  2. Cream butter with sugar and brown sugar in stand mixer on medium speed using the paddle attachment for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one by one. Add oil and vanilla, and mix for another minute, until well incorporated.

  3. Alternate adding the flour and apple mixtures in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to make sure butter and sugar isn’t sticking.  Mix for 10 more seconds to make sure everything is light and airy.

  4. Pour batter into a generously greased Bundt cake pan and bake at 350F for 35-50 minutes. My cake took about 40 minutes.
  5. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto cake platter.

Cinnamon Sugar
  1. Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Coat cake with cinnamon sugar. I used my hand as a cup to help put the cinnamon sugar mixture up the sides of the cake; using a spoon to sprinkle the mixture on top and aiding to put the mixture on the sides.

    Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Use a very sharp knife and even strokes if cutting while still warm.

    Do not cover until completely cooled.


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Product Review: SMASH MALLOWS!

Recently I went to Michigan to visit my family and my sister was nice enough to not only introduce me to an amazing marshmallow, but give them to me as well!

Now, these are not your everyday regular white puffy marshmallow, oh  no! These are marshmallows 2.0!!! These are marshmallows made for people who love flavor, who love marshmallows, who want more than the puffy and sticky substance of those white things from the grocery store.  These are a piece of Heaven!

Smash Mallows come in several flavors and as soon as you open the bag the aroma intoxicating. What you smell is what you will taste! My favorite so far? ALL OF THEM that I tasted. The Root Beer float tastes like a root beer float, the Strawberries and Cream tastes likes fresh strawberries!

I cut up a Mint Chocolate Chip Smash Mallow this morning and tossed it in my hot cocoa. It made my cocoa a bit sweeter and the mint chip flavor was perfect; not over powering.

Smash Mallow has a site online and you can find them in stores (Wal-Mart and even Menard’s). Their website tells you what stores in your area carries them.

Please give these a try. You will not be sorry!!!

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Banana Bread Muffin Cupcakes

Banana Bread Muffin Cupcakes

Makes: 12


2 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

3 ripe bananas

¼ cup sour cream + 1 tsp. white vinegar

¼ cup oil

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

Cream cheese frosting

12 oz. (1 ½ packs) cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar (use more is needed to taste)

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 355°F.

Line muffin pan with cupcake liners and coat with baking spray.

In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on medium speed, beat sugar and eggs about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and vinegar, stir until well combined.

With a fork, mash the bananas. Add bananas, sour cream mixture, oil and vanilla to sugar/egg bowl. Mix until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake cups.

Bake at 355°F for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a bowl, beat cream cheese with butter. Add powdered sugar, lemon, and vanilla; mix until combined. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Cool muffins completely.

Pipe frosting onto muffins.

Store cupcakes in an airtight container.

Chef’s Notes: Don’t expect the icing to be sweet. You may want to taste it and add more sugar to it. I added about 1/8 cup more sugar for my personal use than normal. The lemon really adds such a great flavor to the cupcake and icing!

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Taco Stuffed Baked Potato

I love tacos! I love baked potatoes! Ever find that one day when you don’t have enough leftover taco meat to feed everyone but you have the potatoes? That was me today! So, Don brought up the loaded baked potatoes that we had at the BBQ Fest last fall in Paducah. They were HUGE! I bet they weighed about 3-5 pounds each by the time they were loaded with everything.

So, I made my fresh salsa (cilantro, onions and tomatoes) rounded up the shredded Colby-Jack cheese, sour cream, White Cheddar Mexican cheese dip (served warm of course), the taco meat and the prepared potatoes.

I liked to take a spoon and carefully round out the potato from the skin then fluff it out a bit with a fork before adding all my ingredients; I don’t know why, I am just strange that way. I sprinkled on a layer of Colby-Jack followed by the taco meat, then fresh salsa and drizzled the warm white cheddar over the potato topping it off with a dollop of sour cream.

Who needs a taco shell! We didn’t use as much meat because we were using it as a topping for the potato; so it went farther. The potato gave us more to eat and with a large baked potato; it was not easy to finish this off!

Add whatever ingredients you add to your taco and enjoy!

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Grilled Angel Food Cake

As summer approaches fast, we all desire a summer treat that includes something sweet and fruity. Here is that perfect solution!

This is so easy to make. You can make it on the grill or in the kitchen on a non-stick frying pan.

Slice your Angel Food cake into 1/4 inch slices. LIGHTLY spray or LIGHTLY brush each side of cake with olive oil. You should barely see the oil when it’s applied to the cake. If using a non-stick pan in the kitchen; fry on medium-low heat until golden brown, turn over and cook on other side. If grilling; grill on lowest temperature you can achieve on your grill until golden grill marks appear and turn over for other side.

Top with your favorite fruit and glaze if desired or just eat warm.

The heat caramelizes the sugar in the cake into this amazing crunchy layer that adds that something special to the dessert.

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Steak Carnitas

I love Mexican food, but I do not love the spice! So, Don and I find ways to enjoy the flavors without the faults. This is a great recipe that is so very easy to make. The marinade; we actually found at our local Menard’s store in Indianapolis of all places! The marinade puts this sweet, delectable bark on the steak when it’s grilled.

I found that pairing the marinade with the Chimichurri sauce was the only way to go on this one. There was no need to finish the carnitas with cilantro or onion before serving; but you are welcome to if you desire.

Steak Carnitas


Flat Iron Steak; butterflied

1 Bottle of 7-Up Marinade

6-8 Tbsp. Private Selection Chimichurri Finishing Sauce

First off; you want to butterfly the Flat Iron steak and spread the Chimichurri sauce onto one side. Put the top layer back onto the steak and put into a ziplock bag.

Next, pour a bottle of the 7-Up marinade onto the steak and after letting the air out of the bag; close the bag tightly. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours; 24 hours is best.

Heat your grill to 350 degrees. open the steak and grill both sides until medium well. The marinade will caramelize and give the meat this wonderful bark that isn’t tough; but is just a tad crispy and sweet. It pairs so well with the chimichurri!


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Review: “Eating Well” Frozen Dinners

Review: Eating Well frozen dinners

Today I picked up a frozen dinner from the company Eating Well. It looked tasty. It sounded amazing; French Inspired Chicken! I love French food and I didn’t have time to go through the process of actually cooking it myself so I tossed it in the cart and went home.

As it was cooking in the microwave; the aroma was making my mouth water! It took just under 7 minutes to cook and even though there looked like it wasn’t a lot of food, there was plenty.

The roasted chicken was done to perfection. The haricots verts were perfectly tender-crisp. The many flavors were amazing and each one enhanced the other from the sweet and savory chardonnay sauce to the earthiness of the mushrooms; it all worked together so well.

It wasn’t until I was done eating and I was reading the outer container that I realized what I was eating was actually good for me! Gluten-free, no antibiotics, no preservatives and no artificial colors or flavors.

The only problem I had with this product is that there was not more potatoes. There were plenty; I just love potatoes and the chardonnay sauce went so well with the potatoes; with everything actually.

I give this product 2 spatulas up! I will definitely be getting this one again!

Photo from Eating