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Real Food: Fall’s finest in every bite of cake

By: Joanne Neft
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It’s the season for heartier fall fruit — apples, Asian pears, and St. Nick melons. If you want to experience many different varieties of apples, the farmers market is the place to find them. Yes, you’ll find Granny Smiths and yellow and red delicious, but in addition there are Macintosh, Winesap, Ambrosia, Mutsu, red and green Fuji, to name a few. Be sure to ask the growers which apples are for eating as a crisp snack and which apples are for cooking or baking. The cooking and baking apples are less dense in texture and are not so crisp. On the farm I was raised on in Inver Grove Township, Minnesota, my grandparents had planted a big apple orchard in the early 1900s. I well remember the fragrant odor of spring apple blossoms, especially strong in the early morning and cool evening hours. Every fall my mother canned applesauce and for several weeks we had desserts made with a blend of Winesap and Macintosh apples. Apple strudel, German apfelkuchen, and apple pies were always baking in the porcelain-finished stove in the summer kitchen. Among members of our family and the hired help, a pie or cake vanished at one meal. The following recipe for German apple cake is my mother’s version of apfelkuchen. Joanne Neft is a longtime Placer County agriculture advocate. Learn more about Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny’s “Placer County Real Food” project and cookbook at www.placercountyrealfood.com. __________ German Apple Cake 2 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons cinnamon 3 large eggs, beaten 1 ½ cups sugar ½ cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon vanilla ¾ cup walnuts, chopped 5 cups baking apples, peeled and cored, finely sliced Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a mixing pan. Set aside. Combine eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until well blended. Add dry ingredients, mixing until well blended. Fold in apples and walnuts. Spoon into a well-buttered 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Insert a toothpick to be sure apples are totally cooked. Whipped cream 1 cup whipping cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon sugar Whip cream to very soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla gradually. Continue to whip to desired consistency. Place a dollop on each slice of cake. ~Placer County Real Food