January. The word seems so distant when it rolls off my tongue, even though I'm living through it right now. The last few months have been tough and rewarding, sad and fleeting. I'm living a fast paced life, each day seeming shorter than the last.
I baked a bit over the holiday break. A banana bread to use some molting fruit. A mediocre sour cream coffee cake to satisfy my cinnamon sugar craving. Mini gâteaux au chocolat fondant de Nathalie. Matcha macarons with cringe worthy cream cheese filling. Lemon macarons with tart lemon curd. My admiration for these treats were fleeting. They were sweet treats, a moment of "oh, that's good" but the "good" wasn't sustained. I'd forget about the bite just moments after. Nothing wooed me over until I baked this apple cake.
I thank procrastination and Jess from Sweet Amandine for bestowing this warm cinnamon specked, hearty cake with softened bits of apples, bursts of raisins, and crunchy walnuts upon me. Though it is January, I lean to this autumn cake. It is just that good. It wraps you up, keeps you warm and fed.
After school, my backpack bursting at its seams, my to do list growing longer and longer, I'd take handfuls of fruit (blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, green grapes) and a thick wedge of this cake to my living room. Sitting in an arm chair, my feet kicked up on a window sill, I looked outside through my bay window, into the backyard. Greenery rarely impresses me. I was looking at trees but seeing the cake. It was a temporary remedy, at most, but a remedy nonetheless. For that moment, those ten minutes in that chair, I was safe and warm.
The bits of anxiety and the patters of panic would bite me once the work was started.
No one said high school was easy.
Click to get the recipe.
Adapted (yet again) from the New York Times
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 t. cinnamon
pinch of ginger
1 lightly packed c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
a little over 2 c. of peeled, cored, and sliced apples (1 Granny Smith, 2 smaller sweet and slightly tart blush colored apples)
1/2 c. raisins, soaked in water for a little bit
1/2 c. toasted walnuts
Oil the sides of a nine inch cake pan (I used springform) and lay parchment paper on the bottom. Preheat to 350 degrees.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
Add sugar and oil to a stand mixer. Moisten the sugar with the oil and beat them together for a few minutes. Add the sour cream. Beat those three for several more minutes. Add the eggs, one at time, and vanilla.
Add in the dry ingredients to the wet. Do not use the stand mixer. Fold together with spatula just until combined. Add in the apples, raisins, and walnuts.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Check on the cake often.
Cool before turning out. (Though I took steaming bites straight from the pan ten minutes after I took it out.)
It is delicious warm or room temperature, hearty but light enough to be a filling breakfast, sweet and interesting enough to be a 4 o'clock snack.