Usually, I make birthday cakes for all my friends on their birthdays. I try to take things they like and incorporate them into the cake or include something that fits their personalities. For example, for my friend Josh's birthday last year, I made this pie-in-a-cake thing. I have some really supportive friends, who I honestly don't know what I would do without, and Josh is one of them. Josh always comes up with these crazy things for me to bake, so I made him a crazy cake that was actually one of his ideas.
I didn't know how I was going to top the Pie-ception cake this year. What kind of cake do you make someone who has already had a pie-cake? So I went to talk to him about it, and instead of a cake, he actually requested a homemade apple pie with a lattice crust on top.
Unfortunately the whole thing isn't homemade. Last week happened to also be one of the busiest weeks for me so far this semester, and I didn't want to make something for the first time, screw it up, and not have enough time to make it over. Because secretly that happens to me a lot. And I really wanted this pie to turn out well. And it did!
Also, I didn't want this to be just a regular apple pie. I wanted it to be a birthday apple pie. So I used some little alphabet cookie cutters and cut "Happy 21st Birthday Josh!" in some of the left over pie crust. I thought the letters would kind of "attach" to the other pie crust in the oven, but they didn't. I just had to move the pie carefully so the letters didn't move too much.
And to make it an official birthday pie, it had to have candles.
HOMEMADE APPLE PIE
I made the apple pie filling from scratch, but used a store bought pie crust.
The recipe I used was from Cannella Vita and includes a link to this pie crust from Smitten Kitchen.
I've never made an apple pie before, but this one was pretty much perfect. It's probably even better with the homemade pie crust, which is described as "all butter, really flaky pie dough". So I'll definitely be making that the next time I need to make a crust.
The only thing I would change from Cannella Vita's recipe is the number apples you need to buy. She says to get 8 granny smith apples, which I did, and I had more than enough apple pieces after chopping up 6 apples. And they were really tiny apples too. You can still get 8 if you want though. I'm kind of glad I had some extras because I decided to make bite-sized apple pies!
I guess they're really not 100% homemade, but YOU can make them completely homemade and they'll probably be much better than these. And these were soo good. I personally really like the taste of pie crusts, so to me, these were the perfect combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, apple, and pie crust.
BITE-SIZED APPLE PIES
To make these, I used the same recipe, but made a half recipe of the cinnamon syrup for the filling. Spray a mini cupcake pan with non-stick spray, cut out circles about 2 inches wide, fill them with some chopped up apples, and pour some of the cinnamon mixture on them. You can made the lattice pattern on them if you want, but it took awhile and it didn't even look that good. So you can omit that if you want.
I baked them on 425 for about 5 minutes, and then on 350 for 10-15 minutes. Just bake them until they're slightly golden-brown.