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Monday, September 20, 2010

Let Us Eat Mouth Fulls of Cake

I've long held that I am not much of a baker. Baking is science, where cooking is art. I have thrown together all sorts of powders and goos and liquids and out of the oven came salty cookies, rock hard bread, runny gratin, popovers that didn't pop anywhere... just to name a few. It's the measuring of just the right ingredients that held me up.

I've been persevering though and I've had some successes. The main reasons for my success is I've slowed down and I've had faith in my books. I know if I read the instructions, and take my time following them, something magical happens.
I like sweets. I believe sweets should be beautiful. Receiving them and eating them should be precious, like a little gift. I really romanticize baked goods. Pie fresh from the oven! Scones filling the morning with there salty sweet aroma! Hardly being able to wait until the dish has cooled before you burn your tongue on... whatever it is, it's worth it!

I wanted to make something simple, and suitable for dessert or breakfast. I also didn't want to go to the market (baking usually requires a trip, as we are often fresh out of butter or cocoa or milk). I picked up "How to Be a Domestic Goddess" turned to the index and saw Apple Walnut Cake. Without even flipping to the recipe I had made up my mind, I had apples and I had walnuts, it was settled, my mouth began to water. 
When I turned to the recipe I realized I did not have many of the ingredients needed, and without batting an eye I went to pealing apples. I knew that I could make some very simple substitutions without compromising the integrity of the final product. When did this happen?! When did I learn enough about the ingredients in my pantry to know how to use what, when? And to make a cake! I felt creative, clever, artistic! I have to say I impressed even myself. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did.

My Apple Walnut Cake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's "How to Be a Domestic Goddess"
1/2 cup raisins
4 T hot water
4 T port
1/2 plus 2 T canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tea cinnamon
1 1/2 tea baking soda
1 tea baking powder
1/2 tea salt
1 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Put raisins in a bowl with port and hot water
Preheat oven to 350
Beat the oil and sugar, add eggs one at a time, beat until mixture looks like mayonnaise. Add the dry ingredients, until combined. Add apples, walnuts, and drained raisins. Put the cake mix (which will be fairly stiff, almost like a cookie dough) into a buttered 8-inch spring-form pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cake stand for 10 minuets, then turn it out and let it cool completely (yeah... good luck).

It turned out delicious! It was nice with a pad of butter fresh from the oven, and the next morning with coffee, or on it's own, by the mouthful as I was passing through the kitchen.

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