deep-dish apple pie pizza

Deep-dish apple pie pizza. Nothing’s really that simple.

On this blog, I often worry that I am compelled to portray myself as this
teenage Martha Stewart-wannabe, but that’s not reality.

If I were Lauren Conrad or Martha Stewart, this would be different.  It is their job to look super fabulous and manicured for their readers — exhibiting guru-like knowledge on flower arrangements and sock buns that don’t look stupid.

For me, this whole blogging thing is a little different.  I don’t have endless funds to spend on peonies, my hair will never look good in a sock bun, and I have no authority to tell you all how to mix a pink mimosa.

my beautiful, blank pizza canvas

My goal is to get closer to you all as readers and tell it like it is.  I
want you to be able to read my blog posts and be all like “whoa, she
gets it!,” or “omg me too.” Definitely not a “my life is in shambles,
how can I be more like her” (because believe me, my life is in shambles
sometimes too).

Yes, I have a collection of vintage mason jars and milk bottles, I have a bin dedicated to washi tape, and I make my own granola.  But that is just one side of me.

The part that you don’t see as much is the fact that I am a worrier, I
enjoy a little bit (lot a bit) of mess in my room, and I am often very
stubborn. Thus, along with the baker’s twine, DSLR shots, and
confectioners sugar comes real feelings, real mistakes, and the real joy beyond making a photogenic batch of cupcakes.  Also, I often eat things straight out of the fridge (i.e. not plated with perfect lighting and garnishes).

One of my favorite things to eat standing up at the fridge is apple pie.
My dad used to always buy those grocery store apple pies, and I’d always
keep standing up, sneaking over to the fridge and eating just a little
sliver (by the end of the hour the pie was usually half eaten).  That
apple pie tasted so much better than warm apple pie all served up with
ice cream and whipped cream and a mint spring (mint does not belong on
apple pie).  Something about the cold, gooey, finger-food nature of it
made it just that amazing.

Pizza is another classic “fridge food,”  cold pizza straight from the fridge is a delicacy of its own.  It tastes nothing like pizza, but it tastes pretty good!

look at that big, fat crust!

Enough chit-chat.  Let’s talk about this pizza. This is a real life recipe.

Ain’t nobody got time to make real apple pie on a school night.  But we’ve got time for pizza pie. This pizza version of apple pie is all of the cinnamon-y apple goodness without the opressive pastry/pie crust rolling! (especially if you usestore-bought pizza dough… that’s real life)

The thing is, real life often tastes better than “ideal life” (a life in
which I made a mile-high apple pie with a rum syrup reduction with
apples that I picked from my garden). This strange amalgamation of the
classy, the trashy, and the unique creates something truly spectacular.
This pizza is a wonderful hybrid between you’re grandmother’s apple pie
(classy), Domino’s Cinnastix (trashy), and a cream cheese frosting
drizzled cinnamon buns (unique?).

The end result? Something perfect to eat standing up at the fridge.

If you’re looking for more easy-peasy pizza recipes to eat standing up at the fridge, you’re in luck. It’s Pizza Week on NoshOn.It! Checkout the hashtag #PizzaWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or check out the Pizza Week Pinterest Board.  The inspiration is endless!

Some favorites are:
Gerry’s Prosciutto, Pistachio, and Burrata Pizza  
Amy’s Kimchi Pizza
Shanna’s Grilled Pineapple, Crispy Pork Belly, Burrata and Arugula Pizza

With love,
Erica

it’s so gooey I’m gonna die!!!!!

Ingredients

for the dough:

  • 2 packets of active dry yeast 1/4 oz. each
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour plus more for surface
  • alternatively, you could use store-bought dough

for the filling:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese softened

for the topping:

  • one small apple thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  1. First, make the pizza dough.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups of warm water into a large bowl, stir in yeast, and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy.
  3. Whisk
  4. in the sugar, oil, and salt.  Add flour and stir until the mixture
  5. forms a sticky dough.  Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl and cover with
  6. plastic wrap.  Set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

  7. Preheat the oven to 460 degrees F.
  8. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll the ball of dough out into a big circle.
  9. Now, make the filling.  Beat together the sugar and cream cheese until it becomes a uniform mixture.  Spoon this mixture evenly around the crust, about an inch from the edge.  Fold the edges over the cream cheese to seal it inside the crust.

  10. Lay the sliced apples out on the dough.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
  11. Now, prepare the streusel.  Crumble together the 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, white sugar, brown sugar and butter until the butter is the size of pebbles.  Sprinkle this mixture generously all over the pizza.

  12.  Give the pizza another nice sprinkling of cinnamon.

  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, and enjoy while warm!

 

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please
do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella
Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this
post.

tres leches cake!

NOBODY IS LISTENING TO YOU!

And I’m not saying that in a mean way.

When I was in elementary school, my teachers pegged me as “a shy kid.”  Thing is, I was never shy — actually I’ve always been a performer and a little crazypants.  In those elementary school days, I’d often be prancing around the supermarket in a crop top and cat ears proclaiming that I was Josie from Josie and the Pussycats, putting glitter glue on my eyelids (not smart if you ever plan on blinking), or singing Disney princess songs into my mom’s camcorder.  Definitely not a quivering daisy.

I guess this whole predicament started out when one day, I had my head in the clouds and didn’t find it necessary to say stuff.  At the beginning it was fine, I wasn’t lonely or surly.  I was just rolling around the sandbox by myself thinking about things.

But then it got awkward.

People love labeling people.  Oh! You’re the funny kid! Oh, you must be the precocious little genius kid!  Oh hey there, you must be the shy kid.  I learned that once you’re labeled the “shy kid,”  people have all sorts of expectations of you…

People would get this surprised look on their faces whenever I said things, and when people started giving me that look, I stopped saying things.  As you can imaging, this became a vicious cycle.  My teachers didn’t always help.  Teachers seem to like shy kids.  Shy kids don’t break eardrums or break bookcases.  Thus, my teachers would often make an example of me — telling the class to “stop shouting and be more like Erica.”  I would smile, but this was always super awkward.  First, because kids don’t like the kid who they’re told to be like, and second, there was this little girl inside of me who liked to wear purple leopard print and sing “Under the Sea” really loudly in a Jamaican accent who just wasn’t allowed to come out.  Imagine how awkward it would have been if one day I came out of the reading corner singing “Under the Sea” in my Jamaican accent?! I was pretty sure the ceiling would have fallen down. Once people had this expectation of me to be the “quiet” and “behaved” Erica, I stuck to it.

There were times when I thought that I lost that purple leopard print little girl.  I truly believed that I was shy…  and I hated it.  Especially as I got up in elementary school and wanted to be like Sharpay from High School Musical and I wanted boys to like me. In 5th grade, boys don’t like shy girls.  And I believed that I was a shy girl.  I wished I could be like those bubbly girls who crimped their hair and wore glittery nail polish.  Nonetheless, I kept on being the nice little shy girl at school, and then when I got home, I dressed up like a mime and rapped Snoop Dogg while I rode around the house on my Waveboard (did you ever have a Waveboard?).

One day, I was dozing off during assembly.  The assembly was the drama acting out the book Hungry Hungry Caterpillar (who came up with those assemblies?!).  When I came back to my senses, I noticed that the kid who was dressed up as a watermelon slice who just recited his line looked like he was about to puke.  No, he looked worse.  He looked like he was about to get publicly executed.  And you know what I noticed? That I couldn’t have told you what he said if I was offered a million bucks.  That kid was about to poop his pants over something that nobody was listening to at all.

That’s right, I was not paying attention at all, and neither was half of the audience.  It was this realization that helped me “shed my shy kid image.” I realized that every sentence isn’t a matter of life and death, because no one’s really listening anyways.  I realized that the ceiling wouldn’t fall down if I emerged from the reading nook and played dress up.  I realized that no one would care if I pronounced the “g” in “trough” when we read aloud in English class.  I realized that regretting not saying something is much worse than saying something awkward.

Now that I am in high school, I am glad that I had this realization.  Sure, the “shy kid” image is sticky like condensed milk and takes time to wash off, but there have been many opportunities since I witnessed that quivering watermelon that I have spoken up without regrets — and my life has been so much better/less awkward because of it.

Yay for super awkward transitions!  Condensed milk! It’s in Tres Leches cake!  Which is the recipe I’m sharing with you all today!  This cake is super squidgy and moist because you literally pour milk all over it.  I frosted mine with cream cheese frosting for my friend Veda’s birthday because she likes cream cheese frosting.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
Cake:
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk

Sauce:
1 can condensed milk (1 cup-ish)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Frosting:
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and grease it well.  Beat butter and sugar together in a stand mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides as you go.  Add the vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until just combined.  Add buttermilk and stir slowly.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Take out of the oven, and mix together the three milks.  Cool the cake for five minutes, and then poke holes all over it with a fork.  Pour the milk all over the cake.  Let cool completely in the fridge for at least an hour. 

Beat together the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer.  Beat in the vanilla.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Frost the cake. 

To make the toasted coconut, add the shredded coconut to a frying pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned.  Sprinkle over cake.

Loosely Adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

lemon raspberry cupcakes

Surprises are funny, you either love ’em or you hate ’em.
Scratch that. That’s not true at all.  It just sounded like a good hook for this post.
Personally, I’m in the middle.

Sometimes, I like to be in the know.  For example, I set
different ringtones for different people. It takes the anxiety out of
texting. I know whether to stop and reach into my bag on a crowded
escalator, whether to start whistling and
pretend it never went off, or whether to go into full-on panic mode. Do other
people do this? Discuss.

filled with raspberry jam

Other times,  I love to be surprised — like when I bite into one of these seemingly simple cupcakes and discover that they’re filled with my favorite raspberry jam.
One thing’s for sure, I love to surprise people.  On Friday, I organized a surprise birthday dinner for my friend Erin’s 16th birthday.  I told her I wanted to go shopping with her at Bloomies (I bought a pair of shoes for the cause 😉 — but I had actually invited ten of our closest friends for a big surprise dinner at Maggianos. There were a few times that my plan was almost went awry — like when she suggested we go to the mall instead of Bloomies, when I almost asked her in P.E. class what she was going to wear to her surprise dinner (god Erica…), and when the hostess almost led us to our own table for two at Maggianos.

However in the end, the surprise worked out perfectly, and the look on her face when she saw all of our friends was priceless.

Do you like surprises?
With love,
Erica

Lemon Cupcakes:
Ingredients
1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding
mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and water. Beat
for about two minutes until well combined.
Distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes
spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin
tins for about 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients
2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice of one lemon

Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined.
Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated.
Finally, mix in vanilla and lemon juice.

To Assemble
Ingredients
Your favorite raspberry jam
Fresh raspberries

Once cool, core each cupcake with an apple corer or a pairing knife.  Fill with raspberry jam.  Frost with lemon cream cheese frosting and garnish with a raspberry.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

the perfect lunch (lox and rye and brussel sprouts!)

The perfect lunch is different for everyone.  Some may fall head over heels for a big, juicy cheeseburger and fries.  Others might go crazy for a kale and quinoa salad.

look at those grill marks!!!

For me, the perfect lunch is dark, crusty bread, thinly sliced lox, a big smear of cream cheese, and a few leaves of spinach for color.  I (generously) butter the bread and it gets all crispy and succulent in the panini press.   Heaven.

On the side, I love to have some veggies.  But not just any old veggies — my famous candied Brussels sprouts.  Some of my friends who normally would never touch a vegetable with a hundred yard stick fell head over heels for these Brussels sprouts.  It’s true, and mildly creepy — almost like those Hidden Valley Ranch commercials where the kids choose cauliflower over popcorn.  These sprouts are mind-bogglingly addictive, in a totally good-for-you way. 

What’s your idea of the perfect lunch?
With love,
Erica

Erica’s Famous Candied Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add Brussels sprouts.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Cook until outsides are lightly brown and caramelized (3-5 minutes). Add cranberries and salt and pepper to taste.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.