Friday, April 13, 2012

Whole wheat apple cake in 15 minutes

When I was younger, I used to spend Sundays with my grandparents. I'd go over to their house at lunch time and we'd spend the rest of the afternoon together, chatting and gossiping about Romanian celebrities. I remember two things were never missing in those days: coffee and cake. Grandpa would usually be responsible for making the coffee and he guarded it conscientiously too, because the brew swelled and foamed on the stove and a few times caught him by surprise and boiled over making a mess everywhere. As soon as grandpa tiptoed in, firmly grasping the tray with the steaming coffee cups, I would come to meet him halfway through the sitting room and take over the tray, relieving him of the responsibility that had him somewhat frazzled.

Grandma always came up with some sort of cake to make, getting creative with whatever she had in the pantry. Summers she made cake with cherries or apples, and in the winter with sweet cheese or walnuts. I developed a great fondness for cake growing up, and even now as I am contemplating gluten-free and sugar-free diets, these pleasant culinary temptations still haunt me. 

So I wanted to recreate the Sunday cake without grandma's help, to see if I could guess my way through. I started with Bob's Red Mill recipe for carrot cake and adapted the ingredients a bit, tweaked the quantities and voila - I turned back time and was having Sunday cake with my grandparents again. A wonderful memento and a great dessert. Not to mention it took only 15 minutes to prepare!

As a side note: I am trying to create healthier desserts, so lately I've been taking old recipes and substituting some ingredients for more nourishing alternatives. For instance, I replaced white flour with Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and I've also tried to replace sugar with honey or agave when possible. So here goes:

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix the above ingredients well. Add the following:

1 cup Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (regular whole wheat flour will work too)
4 small apples (Pink Lady or Gala, they're sweeter), peeled and sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 tsp baking soda

Mix. Bake at 350°F in a greased 8'' x 8'' or 9'' x 9'' pan until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. About 45-50 minutes.

And of course, don't forget the coffee!

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