Saturday, October 17, 2009

My First Blog

The last time I tried to create a blog I was given message that I could not proceed and I couldn’t figure what it was so I thought providence was sending me a sign that I had nothing interesting to write about so it intervened to save me from embarrassment. Well maybe not, but I left it, thinking I would try again sooner or later so here I am with the help of my computer savvy daughter trying once again and keeping my figures crossed that this time my entry will be accepted.

Marie Wolf (breadbasketcase) made The Best and Easiest Home-made Bread recently and I wrote her telling her that I would give this bread a try, so here it is. I started it on Thursday evening and let the sponge sit overnight in our cool kitchen so that it would be ready for the final mixing and rising Friday morning and hopefully ready for lunch. The dough was pretty easy to handle and I let it rise in my banneton, but the kitchen was cool because it is so cold outside and it took a little longer to rise. I inverted the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, slashed the dough and set in the oven to bake. The finished loaf is quite lovely and I was quite excited about it. My son and I had some for lunch and it was good. Thank you Marie for posting the recipe, I’m always happy to try new ones.

My husband and I are joining about 16 friends and acquaintances on a hike tomorrow and then going back to our dear friends Rod and Julie’s home for a pot luck lunch and I offered to bring dessert. I hummed and hawed about what to make and finally decided on a Fresh Apple Cake because apples are in season and thought it to be a fitting dessert for a fall day. The recipe comes from the Fanny Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham. I made this cake years ago and remembered it to be quite good. It is a spicy cake chock full of finely diced apples, raisins and chopped walnuts and perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. Since my husband doesn’t like fruit in desserts I also made a batch of brownies. Hopefully the hike plus the pot luck lunch and good company will become an annual tradition to look forward to.

The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar but I find that it is quite sweet so I've decreased the sugar to 3/4 cup. I doubled the recipe to make a 13 x 9 inch cake.
Fresh Apple Cake
(one 8-inch square cake)
There is no need to peeel the apples for this moist and spicy cake. It is at its best the day it is made and absolutely delicious plain or frosted.
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups finely chopped raw apple
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. In a large mixing bow, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until well blended. Add the eaggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, and sift them together into the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until smooth and well blended: the mixture will be very stiff. Add the chopped apple, rainins and the optional walnuts, and beat well.
Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Serve warm or cool, with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream, if you wish.
Fresh Pear Cake. Substitute 2 cups finely chopped raw pear for the apple.

Well here it is, my first blog and thank you Melinda for giving me the push I needed.


breadbasketcase said...

Your bread looks perfect! I love the way it turned out in the banetton, and I also love that you did a real sand dollar - with five slashes! And the apple cake also looks lovely. I don't know what Melinda said to get you started, but I'm glad she did.

Melinda said...

I am so pleased that you are writing and have a blog now! yipee!
Your bread looks pretty darn good.
Such good slashing. And it does look like a sand dollar.
I have had trouble with my slashes. (stop that background snickering!) I have a proper lame, and it seems to pull the dough rather than cutting it. I must be doing something wrong or I have the dullest lame in the world.
What do you use for the slashes?
The apple cake sounds absolutely delicious with a cup of hot tea after hiking, or even doing nothing, in my case! I was thinking of doing something with apples too. We have a variety called Cox apples. It is a very English apple and there is a large orchard near to my home. If I had the nerve, I would love to try making apple strudel from scratch.
But who am I kidding... I probably will just make a apple crumble!
Have a look over at Kate's blog She has a beautiful post up now and it features a apple recipe too, and an outing to a Devon apple orchard.
I am so happy to see your blog. Many thanks to your daughter for getting the troubles sorted out.
You are welcome to join the Lazy Bakers routinely or whenever you feel like it. That is the lazy part! Cheers.

Doughadear said...

Thank you. I'll be taking my camera today and hopefully take some photos of the pot luck spread. I'm curious to see what everyone else is bringing.

I purchased a lame to slash my bread a while ago but mine also pulls the dough rather than give it a nice cleam slash so I use a very sharp scalloped serrated knife which works best.
Rose has a video on her blog showing how to make strudel and it amazes me how thin it is pulled.
Thank you for inviting me to your Lazy bakers group. It is an honour to be in such fine company.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Gadfry both the bread and the apple cake are works of art! So perfect.