I couldn’t pass this one up, despite the fact that we just got back from vacation (very late Saturday night) and that we don’t eat carbs anymore. I mean, apple cake? Double apple cake? No chance.
So while I was at the grocery store Monday (yes, that’s yesterday) afternoon, I looked for apple butter. I have one small, precious jar of my homemade apple butter left, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice it to a cake. But all the apple butter in the store had both sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in it. That is so wrong. I make apple butter by cooking homemade apple sauce down, and I make apple sauce by cooking apples with a little apple juice until they’re soft and then mashing them. No sugar in sight.
Don’t get me wrong: I love sugar. I eat sugar by the bucketful (or would if I didn’t want to keep losing weight). But apple sauce and apple butter just don’t need it, and I prefer to save the sugar for where it’s needed.
So, back to the grocery store: No natural apple butter in sight, and despair set in. I considered buying enough apples to make apple sauce, but the hour was growing late. And then inspiration struck! I make apple butter by cooking apple sauce down, right? Who says it has to be my own apple sauce? It’s easy enough to find natural apple sauce in any grocery store, so I did. Brought it home, poured it into a pot, turned on the fire very low, added some cinnamon, and stirred it occasionally for an hour or so. Voilà!
Sometimes I think there just might be hope for me.
So dinner tonight (also on the spur of the moment, and with nowhere near enough time to do it right) was a delicious tart you can read about here in French Fridays With Dorie (on, of course, Friday), which means I didn’t start — start! — making the cake till 7:30. Unlike some people of my acquaintance, I am not a night person. This was not a good time to start making a cake.
Nonetheless, I had to have my cake. And I had to have it in time to post on Tuesday.
So I played it straight, no messing around with the recipe or trying to be cute. I left out the raisins, of course, and it turned out I didn’t have any nuts. No pecans, no walnuts — just whole, unblanched almonds. Did that stop me? Nope — I found tiny bags that I’d packed as snacks, one walnuts and one pecans, which together filled half a cup, and I used almonds for the other half. Creativity!
Sadly, this post is incomplete, as of 10 a.m. Tuesday. I haven’t cut the cake, so I can’t tell you how it tastes. (The batter was pretty fantastic, though.) I am going to make a caramel sauce to go with it tonight, and we have some lovely organic raw whipped cream and homemade applesauce. I will update with opinions and more photos this evening.
So thank you to Lynne of Honey Muffin, who chose this recipe for us this month. It was a perfect way to kick off the fall, which is my favorite season by far. She’ll have the recipe for you, or you could go buy Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, which is well worth the investment. And go look at all the other TWD bakers’ blogs, because I’m sure many of them will have done very creative things with this recipe.
Update, 8:17 p.m. Tuesday: Oh. My. God. Seriously, one of the best ever. Moist and dense without being heavy, incredibly flavorful without being too rich, just sweet enough to eat plain but not too sweet to stand up to caramel sauce. Go make this cake. Now.
That’s crème fraîche on top, as it turns out, not raw organic whipped cream, and we skipped the applesauce. Totally didn’t need it.
(By the way, the caramel sauce was both extremely easy and marvelously caramelly, and it came courtesy of The Pioneer Woman. If you have not seen her blog, stop wasting your time here and go read hers. It’s way better.)
See you Friday!