Apple spice cake, a winter wonderland food
Special to the Tribune
Say goodbye to January, a month of spring-like days at Lake Tahoe and eye-catching snowstorms around the globe. It makes me want to eat hot and cold foods because the nights are chilly, the days are sunny and mild. This wacky warming cycle brings back vivid memories of my first snowstorm I experienced at Lake Tahoe.
I was doing part-time copywriting work in Zephyr Cove. After a staff meeting, driving home with a co-worker in a whiteout was an experience to remember. The blizzard-type weather was exciting and a bit spooky like a sci-fi film. Visibility was zero. Once home, I was in awe by large snowflakes falling down for hours. On the telephone with an editor in Chicago I recall saying, “I’m scared!” while looking outside my living room window. The Midwest local laughed and said, “There’s no reason to be afraid.”
As a California native who is used to a Mediterranean type climate, I munched on crunchy apples (like anxious people do with peanuts when on a flight ready to ascend) and for hours viewed the snowfall. I envisioned a Donner Party type of worst-case scenario. No such luck. Lots of shoveling, hours of moving the powder off the deck and making trails in the front and backyard for my Brittany duo kept me busy. It would have been perfect if I had a winter wonderland food like a slice of homemade old-fashioned apple spice cake dusted with powdered sugar.
3 cups all natural whole wheat flour
1⁄4 cup European style butter
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 brown eggs
11⁄2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon buckwheat honey
1⁄4 cup all natural apple juice
11⁄2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, chopped
1⁄2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, peel, core, and chop apples, and saute in butter for a couple of minutes until tender. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. In a small bowl cream butter and sugar; add flour, soda, and spices. Fold in apples and raisins. Pour batter into a lightly olive oiled 8″x 8″ baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes till knife comes out clean when inserted in middle of cake. Cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut in squares. Serves 9 to 12.
A square of this plain breakfast apple cake paired with a cup of hot java, cold apple juice, and scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and tomatoes is a light but satisfying meal. But don’t stop there. Apple spice cake drizzled with caramel sauce and a scoop of French vanilla ice cream makes a scrumptious dessert with its layers of flavors and textures – and it’s got the cold and hot temperatures going on. It’s pretty enough to serve a crowd, fit for two, or a treat for one.
Motto: When fresh snow isn’t falling, it’s time to feed your body, mind, and spirit. You’ll reap the rewards of Mother Nature on her time table, not yours – simply chill.
– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.