Monday, November 19, 2012

Bunny Bunny Who Has the Bunny ~ and ~ Skillet Cake Recipe

This is the well-dressed bunny and it's going to the first child of Steve's second cousin.  He happens to be a favorite of ours and it's been a pleasure watching him mature into a wonderful young man and meet and marry the woman of his dreams.  What a lucky baby this is.

It's not often that I have the occasion to knit for a baby and after giving it some thought I decided on knitting a baby blanket.  I reasoned what better way to wrap a baby in love and warmth and start them off early on the path to enjoying being wrapped in wool and wearing shawls?

But when I told Steve of my plans to make a blanket he asked me instead to make a toy.  Why a toy I wanted to know?  And he told me because he remembers from his childhood that he had a small toy he loved and a handknit Christmas stocking that a neighbor made for him and his sister.  And he wanted this child to have a special toy too.  It's funny how small acts of kindness can have such a lasting impact on someone.  After all these years Steve still remembers that neighbor, the toy, and the stocking.  And so together we chose this bunny pattern ~

Particulars:  Well-Dressed Bunny designed by Fuzzy Mitten; 1 skein Lush yarn by Classic Elite Yarns (50% angora 50% wool); US 6 needles.  This toy is knit flat and a very easy pattern to follow.  It's not as big as some toys I've knit but is the perfect size for a baby.  One of the advantages of knitting a toy flat is that the pieces can be washed and blocked prior to assembly.  To get my bunny's ears to lay flat and have a softened texture I partially felted the ears using hot water, soap and vigorous agitation before attaching them.  I knit this pattern as written but did add a bunny tail with angora yarn and the dress is slightly modified and also embellished with embroidered flowers (I made the petals with a detached chain stitch with a french knot for the center).  The hat is a simple rolled brim design.  For those interested I'll put my pattern notes for making the bunny tail and hat on my Ravelry notebook page.   Other toys I've knit are a mouse, a bear, an elephantmonster, owl, and a rabbit.

Apple Skillet Cake ~ or ~ Cherry Skillet Cake

I don't know if I should be flattered or offended.  Steve raved so much about this cake you would think he never had a nice piece of cake before.  This is the King Arthur Flour Apple Skillet Cake but with a number of modifications so rather than confuse you I've written it out below with my changes.  The original recipe is very highly rated and you might want to just use that.  But mine is a smidgen healthier (e.g. substituting canola oil for butter) and paradoxically a little less healthy (e.g. substituting brandy for apple cider) and has a few other small changes and it came out beautifully.

Apple Skillet Cake (or Cherry Skillet Cake)

Apple Mixture
4 or 5 apples (3 granny smith apples and 2 golden delicious) pealed and thinly sliced
1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons brandy
1/4  teaspoon nutmeg
1/4  teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 (scant) salt

Cherry Mixture
4 cups tart pitted cherries (I use 2 large jars of Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries in light syrup - drained)
1 1/3 cups sugar (if using unsweetened tart cherries) or 1/2 cup sugar if using drained sweetened cherries
2 1/2 Tablespoons tapioca
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tablespoon sweet butter (crumbled over the top of cherries - just before putting into the oven).

Cake Batter (use the same cake batter regardless which topping you use)
1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm milk (whole milk)
1 large egg
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Prepare 9" x 4" cast-iron skillet (butter and flour (or use granulated sugar))
3.  Combine apple mixture and set aside.
4.  Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Mix wet ingredients and then stir (using wooden spoon) into dry ingredients until combined.  Pour into prepared skillet.
5.  Spoon the apple mixture (or cherry mixture) over the batter distributing the apples a little more heavily toward the edge of the pan and add all the liquid (brandy, etc.) as that will settle into the bottom of the pan and caramelize.  If using the cherry mixture dot the top with 1/2 Tablespoon sweet butter.
6.  Bake 1 hour or until apples are browned and cake tester come away clean.  I baked my cake an extra 10 minute (a total of 70 minutes).

Garnish cake with powdered sugar and serve slightly warm with ice cream or yogurt ~

The MisAdventures of Simcha  ~

G that went better than expected.  I kinda thought he might ask for a paternity test.

Until next time be well and love well and may you enjoy this holiday season with friends and family ~ and good cheer!  We'll be away a lot over the holidays but I hope to have some time for knitting.


SissySees said...

I don't know what's sweeter... Steve's memory and desire to repeat history, Simcha's photo with the bunny or the cake!

Bridget said...

This is an awesome post! First the bunny is so cute, and such sweetness in the story. Then that apple cake, and them Simcha with the bunny! I love it all.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Kristen Rettig said...

What a nice story, very adorable bunny, but how are your going to convince Simcha it's not his?

KnittySue said...

Cutest bunny,very handsome Simcha and yummy cake...awesome post.

Rachel said...

Very cute bunny (and Simcha!). I love apple cake and this one looks like one to try. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

diabollicalknits said...

I really enjoy reading your posts with Simcha :)I like the Bunny frock even better than the bunny itself!!!! Hehe, no I come to think of it, it's a Blue she bunny - Cute :P

gMarie said...

What a fun post! So glad Simcha just accepted the wee bunny and didn't ask for a paternity test. Sweet boy!

I love the Steve asked you to make a toy and told you why it was important. Next up - you'll be making stockings.

Happy Holidays to the 3 of you. May they bring all you desire. g

Hilary said...

Oh my goodness, what a sweet little bunny! I love the backstory, too. How could Simcha *not* accept her?

Anita said...

Ohhh!! Looks like someone else is liking that toy too.
Cheers, Anita.

Tracy said...

Oh, how sweet is that bunny! And looks like Simcha wants one too! Will you be making one for his Christmas stocking? ;o) Congrats to Steve's cousin and the baby on the way--what a great thing to celebrate! Wishing you & yours a wonderful holiday season now, Claudia! Lovely to catch up with you after returning from some travels and Thanksgiving break! :o) ((HUGS))

Renee said...

What an adorable bunny and sentiment, Steve is so right on that choice. Don loves apple cakes, I'm going to try your Apple cake as soon as I can with your mods. Thank you for sharing!

knittingdragonflies said...

The little bunny is so sweet! I couldn't get her that close to my dogs!
Take care
Great post