25 February 2012

Apple Cake

A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I bought a bushel of winter apples, which I must say is a fair few apples. However, being not in the mood for apple pie or crisp (sacrilegious, isn't it?) and having accidently made up too much of the dries for a carrot cake a week or so before I thought, why not?

And so I made an apple cake. The wet ingredients are a bit made up (though I did reference a couple of actual apple cake recipes: 1 & 2, neither of which upon baking them I like quite so much as the cobbled together recipe I first made) so the apple sauce and egg amounts are adjustable to your preferred batter consistency (read: I don't remember how much I added as I didn't measure and it was awhile ago).

Apple Cake
makes 1 single-layer cake

Apple Mix:
4 medium apples
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Dry ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup sugar

Wet ingredients:
1/4 to 1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup brandy or rum
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
2 to 3 medium eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, grease a 9" cake pan and dust the cake pan with flour

2. Peel and core apples, then cut them into chunks

3. Toss the apples with 1/4 cup sugar and 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon and let sit for 15 minutes

4. Mix all the dry ingredients together

5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all wet ingredients except eggs (starting with 1/4 cup apple sauce)

6. Stir that together, adding first two eggs one at a time, and the extra apple sauce and egg as necessary to make a pourable but somewhat thick batter

7. Pour half the batter into the cake pan and smooth to cover the entire bottom

8. Distribute half the apple chunks over the batter, then do a second layer of batter and apples, pouring the juice from the apples over the top layer

9. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean from the middle of the cake

06 February 2012

Cakes of the Pan, using a variety of flours

This past Christmas, Chris and I received a wonderful, beautiful grain mill. It is a hand-crank grain mill, and I know they're not for everyone as they can be perceived as slow, tedious, and uneven. But I'm in love with mine, so there! But seriously, as long as you're not milling more than a pound of fine flour or a couple pounds of cracked groats, sitting there for a few minutes and reading a magazine while you turn the crank is simple as anything. And freshly milled flour is completely worth it. Period. Full stop. Worth it.

That said, some flours are more worth it than others. Oat flour has had me in raptures, and I've just this morning milled my first batch of buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is such a smooth milling flour, I hardly felt the exertion of turning the crank! It was so beautiful, I knew I had to write about it, though I don't know quite what to say to people that don't know the beauty of a softly simmering cauld--...oh wait, wrong line...a softly turning mill crank. But I think it's totally magical.

Anyway, the pancake recipe, is of course, very typical except for substituting in the different flours. What you will want to do, however, is to reserve half the milk (or buttermilk or yogurt) and add it slowly until you reach your desired consistency.

    Buckwheat Pancakes
makes 12 4-inch cakes

3-1/2 ounces (~3/4 cup) buckwheat flour
3-1/2 ounces (~3/4 cup) ap flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
8 oz (1 cup) yogurt
4 oz (1/2 cup) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat your griddle to 350°F or medium high

2. Mix the flours, sugar, salt and baking soda (mind, this is soda in this recipe because the yogurt is acidic) together

3. Thin your yogurt with the milk, and reserve half

4. Mix the egg with one half the liquid

5. Pour the melted butter over the flour mixture and start stirring

6. Stir in the egg mixture, then slowly add the rest of your milk and yogurt, as well as the vanilla

7. Cook as you would any other pancake, i.e. pour 1/4 cup (or more for fewer, larger pancakes) of batter over the griddle, wait 'til you can see that the edges are done, flip and let cook for another couple of minutes

    Oat Pancakes
makes 12 4-inch cakes

3-3/4 ounces (~7/8 cup) oat flour
3-3/4 ounces (~7/8 cup) ap flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
12 ounces (1-1/2 cups) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Work as above, making sure to note that it is baking powder (not soda) in this recipe because the milk is not acidic. (Also, you can obviously skip the first half of direction 3 as there is nothing to thin.)