Sunday, October 10, 2010

"my mouth is full"

the food: Apple Pecan Cake
the song: "My Heart Is An Apple" Arcade Fire

Blogging means never having to say you're sorry. So I'll skip the "it's been so long. I've neglected to write because life has been busy." Nevertheless...

I've missed you guys. Sure, it's only been two weeks. Sure, those two weeks flew by and were filled with non-food awesomeness. I just haven't had much to say. In the past 2 weeks I've cooked one dinner for me and the husband. One. And Thursday, after I finished making this cake, I had a bowl of Cheerios for dinner. But I'm not going to apologize. Because even though my food habits have been embarrassing and childlike, this cake makes up for a lot. 

For people that grew up with it, apple cake inspires strong feelings. My dear grandmother (I've told you about her before) makes the best apple cake ever. It goes down in history as my favorite dessert of all time. I have incredibly vivid memories of the cake from my childhood. I've never been a big chocolate fan, so growing up I always requested apple cake on my birthday. Sadly, this apple cake is not my grandmother's recipe. I haven't gotten that one yet. She likes to hold onto a few baking tips so no one can do it quite like her. The number one secret of a good cook: Never reveal all your secrets.

When fall comes around, apple cake starts dancing around my brain, tempting me to scrap the meal and have cake for dinner. I made this late Thursday night for my in-laws visit over the weekend. But by Friday morning, I had already cut off a small moderately sized sliver to test. I wanted to make sure it was worth serving. At least that's my excuse.  

I'm happy to report that yes, this cake holds up to my dessert standards. It is incredibly moist and has just the right amount of spice. The apples and pecans provide a nice texture and leave me full with flavors of fall and home. This cake is a dangerous thing to have around my house. Like all my favorite sweets, it straddles the fence between dessert and breakfast. The rum glaze is optional, but it does help push it into the dessert category. It's also a pretty great afternoon snack. And a good midnight snack. On a related note, the rest of this cake will be going with the husband to his office tomorrow. You're welcome, waist.

Apple Pecan Cake
adapted from NPR's Kitchen Window

3 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups apples
1 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, oil, vanilla). Stir into the dry ingredients. Fold in apples and pecans. The batter will be thick. Add up to 1/4 cup water if necessary.

Spread the batter into an ungreased 9x11x2 baking dish. Bake 40-50 minutes, watching closely at the 40 mark, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Rum Glaze (optional)

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar and rum. Cook the mixture until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is heated but don't let it boil. Poke holes into the cooling cake with a skewer then pour the warm glaze over the cake.


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