Friday, September 30, 2011

Autumn Apple Cake

I didn't bake so much this past summer, but Fall is here and the oven beckons.  A new recipe for apple cake is the one that really called out to me (and my tummy).

The recipe was borrowed from Marcus Samuelsson out of House Beautiful magazine.

Apple Cake
12 servings (really 8 if you like generous slices)

2 Tbls unseasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temp, plus more for greasing the pan
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup half-and-half
2 tsp confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and coat with the bread crumbs.

Toss together the granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Set aside.

Peel and core the apples, then slice one apple into 16 wedges.  Combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup of the sugar mixture in a medium bowl.  Add the apple wedges and toss to coat.  Roughly dice the remaining apple.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and remaining sugar mixture on medium speed until light, fluffy, and lemon-colored, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and mix until combined.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and baking powder.  Slowly add the half-and-half and mix until combined.  Fold the diced apple into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Arrange 14 of the apple wedges fanned along the outer edge and place the two remaining wedges in the center.

Bake 35 - 40 min, or until center is golden brown.  Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely.  Run a small offset spatula around the edges to release the cake from the pan and remove the springform.  Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

*Best things about this cake*
Only 2 apples needed which makes peeling manageable!
All ingredients are standard pantry/kitchen staples.
Delish with tea or coffee.

Happy Autumn baking :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Almost Autumn

Techinically it's still summer, but today's weather hinted at the coming days of Autumn.  Living in a coastal climate, the days start with some morning fog, clearing to an afternoon of glorious sunshine.  Many summer days start this way as well, but there's a distinct coolness in the air that whispers a change in season.

  A new hydrangea flowering bud ready to greet Autumn days.

The same hydrangea plant with a flower that has been in bloom since Spring.  Still going strong. 

Same for my potted rose still a-bloom.  I expect one more burst of buds all around through the Fall.  And a continued battle with the bugs that love my roses just as much!

15 years ago we planted a row of poplar trees.

They now tower about 25 feet tall.  The rustling of the leaves signal cooler days ahead.  It's an incredibly peaceful sound.  I love to just be still and listen.

Enjoying it all with a cup of tea and crochet out on the picnic table...and determined to finish this granny blanket before the official onset of Autumn.  I've got 2 days!

Enjoy the rest of your week :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hendry's Beach

So long Summer 2011, it was lovely.  Kids back to school and Labor Day holiday marking the end of another summer season.

Hendry's Beach is nearby and it's a place we love.  Many warm summer weekend afternoons spent here when the boys were younger.  L enjoyed boogie boarding with friends while G stayed out of the water and busied himself creating sand structures.

More recently, visits here are simple walks alone... to reflect, appreciate... and to exercise!

Like a few days ago when these photos were taken and the marine layer was thick.  Not to worry though, the sun breaks through eventually and by late afternoon it's a perfect summer day.

Enjoy your week :-)