Easy on the budget and better than packaged, try this easy homemade spice cake from ingredients on your shelf. The rolled oats in this moist single layer cake gives it a great texture.

1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup undiluted evaporated milk
1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ x 9″ baking pan and lightly flour the bottom.

Place the oats in a small pot or metal bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oats and stir in the evaporated milk. Set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves; stir in the raisins and nuts.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, brown sugar and shortening. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir this mixture into the cooled oats and incorporate thoroughly. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well.

Pour your batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Cool on a rack.

To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar or your favorite frosting.

Yield: 9 servings.

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A moist, lightly spiced cake is layered over fresh apples and topped with cream cheese icing. I love easy to bake and take dessert recipes for parties, picnics and socials.

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 cups tart apples

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350° and butter a 9″ x 13″ x 2″ baking pan.

Prepare the cake:
Peel and core the apples; slice thinly and spread into the bottom of your prepared pan. In one bowl, combine the sugar and oil. In another bowl stir together the flour, cinnamon, soda and salt. In a large bowl beat the eggs with a mixer until thick and light. Add the sugar and oil combination to the eggs and continue beating on medium speed until well mixed. Add the flour mixture and beat to mix. Stir in walnuts. Pour the batter over the apples in the pan and spread to cover evenly.

Bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack.

Prepare the icing:
Melt the butter. Place the softened cream cheese into a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Beat in the melted butter; then beat in the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Spread the icing over the cooled cake.

For a pretty presentation just before serving garnish each piece with 2 – 3 pieces of thinly sliced fresh apple. Alternate golden and red apple slices for a Thanksgiving theme or green and red for a Yule theme.

To avoid oxidation of the decorative apple slices which leads to browning, slice the apples just before serving. Alternately, you can prepare the slices a few hours in advance by soaking the slices in lemon juice for a moment; remove and store the in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Store the cake in the refrigerator.

Yield: 12 – 15 servings.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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Rich and creamy, chocolate crème brûlée dessert is the perfect conclusion to a fabulous meal. Add a tiny, perfectly ripe strawberry for a memorable Valentine treat.

5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350°

You will need 4 custard cups and a 2″ high baking pan that will accommodate all of the cups. Chop the chocolate and divide evenly among 4 custard cups.

To make the custard, while you bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy pan, whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl. When the cream is hot, temper the egg yolks by whisking in 2 – 3 tablespoons of hot cream. Slowly add the remaining cream as you continue whisking. Whisk in the vanilla.

Ladle the hot custard over the chocolate in the custard cups. Add enough hot water to the pan to fill halfway up the sides of the custard cups. Place the pan in the center of your preheated oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes. The custards are ready when the centers are just set. Carefully remove the custards from the water; cool on a trivet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 – 24 hours.

To serve, preheat your broiler. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of sugar over each custard. Place the custards on a pan and place the pan under the broiler for approximately 2 minutes, until the sugar caramelizes.

Cool for 3 – 5 minutes before serving.

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Easy to make, this creamy custard with nutmeg comes together quickly from ingredients usually kept on hand. It’s a perfect dessert for the impromptu get together.

1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups milk

Place 1/2 cup sugar in a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet on medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook until golden brown. Pour the syrup into 4 10-ounce custard cups.

In a bowl combine 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla and nutmeg; slowly add the milk and beat well. Pour the mixture over the syrup in the custard cups. Place your cups in a water bath to bake; place cups in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan and pour in 1 inch of hot water. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 45 – 45 minutes. Test by inserting a knife into the center. When done, it will come out clean.

When cooled, serve by running a spatula between the custard and cup to loosen sides; invert onto a pretty dessert plate.

Yield: 4 servings

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