When Friday, December 22nd hit last week, I let out one great big sigh of relief. I had made it.
This year has felt like an exceptionally rough one, adhering to the demands of work and school, trompsing around the country in support of the Weelicious book, and keeping up with everyone's busy schedules. However, for the first time in 13 years our family is not getting on a plane during the holidays and, for better or worse, it feels like this year's break will feature just a bit more of that all too rare freedom I vaguely remember having before I had kids.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is my favorite time of year. Everything moves a bit slower and there seems to be more hours in the day to relax and actually enjoy making meals. Instead of chopping and stirring as fast as possible to get a meal done as I normally do, I try to be mindful and appreciate all the many pleasures of cooking.
This past Sunday I bought a variety of apples at the farmers' market to bake a simple apple cake. Nothing fancy, just a heartwarming cake to make the house smell of fragrant apples, spicy cinnamon and toasty almonds. It's a treat everyone can enjoy during this peaceful time of year when we can all reflect on those things we are thankful for and take advantage of the fact that, at least for one week, things finally move...just...a bit...slower.
Apple Almond Cake (serves 8-10)
- 2 medium Gala, Pink Lady or Fuji apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Milk*
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Preparation1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss the sliced apples with the 2 teaspoons cinnamon and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add in half the flour, then the milk, then the remaining flour.
5. Butter and flour a springform pan. Pour half the batter in the prepared pan, layer all the apples evenly over the batter, and top with the remaining batter.
6. In a small bowl, combine the slivered almonds and the remaining ground cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the cake.
7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.