Friday, October 10, 2008

My First Apple Cake!

It's beautiful at this time of year. This is the the time during the fall season that I like. It's still warm (in the 80s here for the past few days), the sun is shining, I've come to terms with the end of summer, the trees that haven't been ravaged by the Asian Longhorn beetle are bright yellow and orange, leaves are blowing on the ground... I just wish it could last.

The other thing I love about this time of year is the abundance of fruits and vegis that are ready to be harvested. My co-workers have been brining in bushels of big juicy apples. So the other day, I grabbed a few with the idea of baking an apple cake. But I didn't really have a recipe for apple cake just yet. I had plenty of apples so it was time to experiment. (You're shaking your head and rolling your eyes already.)

In my last post, I mentioned that I the first apple cake experiment was in the oven, filling the house with the most incredible aroma. Well here's the result.

My first apple cake.

This one is an Apple-Cranberry Nut Cake. It really wasn't a bad first attempt. Not great, but not bad. The recipe needed a little tweeking, which I have done already(see recipe below).

I had tried to make it a bit on the healthy side. I also have been experimenting with different flours so, in this one, I used a bit of quinoa flour. You'll notice that I left the quinoa flour out of the recipe below. Frankly, I didn't care for the taste that the quinoa flour left. The cake was moist, but there was hint of a dry, bland, sawdust quality to the taste. Part of the problem was that I had originally put a little too much nutmeg in the batter, so that had to be adjusted. But overall, it was the quinoa flour that had to go, I don't think it added anything to the recipe at all. I used agave nectar again, which I really like using in my baking in place of sugar. And I used applesauce in place of any oil. The adjusted recipe is really good.

And I never did figure out what type of icing to use (other than my favorite cream cheese icing) so I just dusted the cake slice with powdered sugar and cinnamon. I also tried it with a bit of mulberry preserves, which was yummy! But actually, the best way so far is with a bit of butter spread on the cake slice and I popped it in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Mmmmmmmmm! Perfect for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee!

Apple-Cranberry Nut Cake

(To prevent over-browning due to the agave nectar, try baking at a lower temperature for a bit longer time.)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/2 cup light agave nectar

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 cup finely chopped apple

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries (soaked in juice of 1 lemon)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare pan (I used a bundt pan) with non-stick cooking spray and lighlty dust with flour. In a medium bowl, sift in and mix first 6 ingredients. In a separate large bowl, mix agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each egg. Add flour mixture little by little and beat until smooth. Gently mix in the apples, cranberries, and walnuts until well incorporated. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until a skewer stuck into the cake comes out clean.

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