W is currently hooked on In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak. As such all he ever wants to do is bake “a delicious Mickey cake”, marching around the house singing “milk! milk! milk for the morning cake!”, and “milk in the batter! milk in the batter! we! bake! cake! and nothing’s the matter!”
So rather than turn to the internet or my usual stash, I pulled one of the thousand or so cookbooks off my shelf – Everyday Favourites put out by Canadian Living – and flipped to the first simple cake recipe. One that called for apples, which we have a surplus of. The recipe is called Butterscotch Apple Spice Cake, but I made a few adjustments, and like the idea of caramel apples in cake form.
And have I ever told you about Elizabeth Baird, and how much I adore her? I have since I was a kid and told my grade 3 class I wanted to be the food editor of Canadian Living magazine when I grew up. (When I told her this a couple years ago, she replied “well, I’m not getting any younger.”) As a teenager I wanted to dye my hair that silvery white, like hers. My mom wouldn’t let me.
I don’t often get starstruck. When we ran into Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn at Shrek 2 in Vancouver (literally – their car pulled in beside ours in the parkade, and Mike held the door open for them – it wasn’t until they passed through, in the extreme close quarters of a parkade stairwell with us, that he realized who they were. He had a look of blushed surprise on his face as if something sensitive was stuck in his fly) it was cool, but really no biggie. Same thing with John Cleese (from Monty Python), whom I ran into at the Banff Springs hotel – I had come from doing a cooking demo and was en route to the washroom and ran into him waiting for the elevator. John actually recoiled in horror when he saw me, and I understood why when I got to the washroom and noticed I had chocolate smeared up the side of my face. And a bloody eye. Don’t ask. He probably isn’t going to call me.
Now John Cusack I might get a little flustered over. I could possibly faint.
And Elizabeth Baird. I’ve known her for years now, and I still get all fluttery when I’m around her. A true Canadian food icon, she is. When I grow up, I want to be Elizabeth.
Anyway – the cake:
Caramel Apple Coffee Cake
1/4 cup butter, softened, or canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, or some all-purpose, some whole wheat
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 apples, unpeeled and sliced
1/2 cup caramel sauce, or 3/4 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 10″ tube pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars until sandy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add about a third to the butter mixture and beat on low just until blended. Add half the sour cream, another third of the dry ingredients, the rest of the sour cream, and the rest of the dry ingredients, stirring by hand or beating on low just until combined. Scrape the batter into the pan.
Slice the apples onto the surface, arranging them however you like – they will shrink as they cook, so feel free to place them tightly together. Drizzle with caramel sauce. If you’re using the sugar and butter, bring it to a simmer in a small saucepan, then drizzle it overtop.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the cake is springy to the touch.
March 13 2009 08:06 pm | cake