We are concluding the year on a sweet note. Next year will return with more delicious recipes. No self – introspection and retrospection for the year that is going to be history soon. Sometimes it is better to look forward only. Do not forget to check our Christmas roundup on our Facebook page.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2014 !
Seasonal cleaning always unearthed some hidden forgotten secret things from my closet, like this decades old recipe diary written by my Ma.
Like an excited child who suddenly found some new treasure, my curiosity and happiness shot up when I found one recipe called apple toffee and a cake. I remembered she made it once when she joined some cooking classes in neighbourhood local club. After that I never heard about the dish later. On the adjoining page there were few cake recipes scribbled too. I do not know how and when she learned to bake her first cake. All I remember she used to bake a simple vanilla pound cake that shot her to stardom in our local neighbourhood. Soon, all the kids in the locality wanted to have a cake for their birthday. Given that birthday cake is not fashionable in Indian culture, as we prefer a bowl of sweet kheer to a cake that has eggs in it. That instant fame opened up new scope of learning for her, she started making cookies, nankhatais and biscuits, cakes with yogurt and condensed milk, once that old curious piece of round shape electric oven came to live with us in our home.
That was a very different era, 70’s was the time when people started to adapt new culture , be it in fashion or food. I love that period for being so inventive, fashionable and progressive. She baked her first cake, first salted muffins, stirred up her first hakka noodle dish and started adapting the western recipes for Indian palate. That was pre-internet pre-computer era, terms like knowledge sharing did not exist then, yet she managed to learn so many alien things. More I think about it, more I got fascinated toward her sheer ingenuity and proficiency. Her cakes were essentially simple, one bowl method (well she never used such term ever), just mix and stir, no fancy kitchen aid mixer to ease her job. At times she stir in some fruit candies (remember those colorful papaya candies) that we used to call tutti-frutti to give a colorful look to her cakes.
Simple and beautiful. Like this apple tea cake. This cake reminds me of old world charms, when life was so easy-going. Just mix everything in a bowl and bake it. This tea cake recipe is simple and easy enough for even a first timers. I prefer to grate the apples, but if you want you can chop it too. I don’t have to tell you how much apples love cinnamon, but if you want to be little more adventurous in your attempt, you can try other spices too like pumpkin spice or nutmeg. Another good thing about this cake is that it is made with brown sugar that adds extra flavour to the cake. Few spoon full of extra brown sugar on top gives such a delicious crunch and believe me you will never ever want to bake your apple cakes without it.
Fall is the time for apple harvest. There were number of apple farms and orchards in New Hampshire region (US) which regularly host “pick your own” event. I find this very therapeutic and being close to nature can make you feel alive. We picked two bags of Macintosh and Honeycrisp apples and a bottle of apple cider . And if you are left with a bag full of apples with no takers, make some homemade apple sauces. Not just in baking, you can use applesauce in cooking too, like in your favourite chicken recipe.
- All purpose flour : 2 cups
- Butter (unsalted) : ⅓ cup or 75 gm softened
- Eggs (large) : 2
- Brown sugar for cake : 1 cup firmly packed
- Apple (red delicious / macintosh / gala) : 3 cups grated around 2 apples medium size
- Spice (ginger / clove / nutmeg use anyone or all ) : 1 tsp
- Cinnamon powder : 1 tsp + more
- Baking powder : 1 tsp
- Vanilla extract : 1 tsp
- Salt : ¼ tsp
- Brown sugar for topping : ½ cup
- Honey : 1 tbsp
- Wash, peel, core and grate the apples.
- Line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, spices, salt, cinnamon powder and baking powder.
- In a seperate bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I use my hand mixer to do this job and it takes around 10 minutes.
- Slowly add the beaten eggs, honey and vanilla, beating after each addition.
- Now fold in the dry ingredients alternating with the grated apples.
- Combine it very well with the help of a spatula.
- Batter will be thick with flowing consistency and not sticky.
- Fill the prepared loaf tin with the batter .
- Mix cinnamon powder with brown sugar and sprinkle over the top of the cake.
- Bake for 50 minute until the cake is ready and springy to touch.
I find grated apples make this cake more soft and moist. Else you can add chopped apples too.
You can substitute eggs with applesauce too.
This is Holiday season and best part is that you can gift this kind of tea cakes to your loved ones too. Whether you go out for your skiing adventures or expecting a family reunion , tea cakes are perfect companions for the long road trips.
God bless the tea cakes !
Will see you in 2014
Happy New Year !!!