Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Quick Cake For Almost Fall

Every now and then we don't manage to eat all of the fruit from the farmer's market (or I buy too much) and we end up with a bowl of not quite as fresh fruit in the fridge -- sometimes more than the chickens can eat.
Emptying the fruit bowl today I found some bright green organic pears and sweet Gala apples. As luck would have it, unlike our usual SoCal sunny day we we were having the kind of hazy overcast almost fall morning that calls out for sweetly spiced apple cake (with my pears too).
I sautéed the peeled cubed apples and pears in a good quantity of butter (3 TB), cinnamon (2 1/2 tsp), mace (1/4 tsp), ginger (1/4 tsp), sugar (1/2 cup), brown sugar (1/4 cup) and just a hit of Scotch whiskey -- I couldn't seem to find the brandy. I cooked the fruit down until it was soft and sweet but still held it's shape -- about 6 minutes. I left the fruit to cool while I made the batter.
In an electric mixer I blended together 1 cup of vegetable oil, 4 eggs, 1 tsp of vanilla, 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice, 2 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. I stirred in 2 3/4 cups of all purpose flour, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour for a bit of rustic flavor, and 1 TB of baking powder.
I layered a third of the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan, followed by half of the apples -- trying to pour in as little juice as possible. Another third of the batter followed with the rest of the apples and pears and I topped the pan with the remaining batter. The assembled cake baked for 1 hour and 15 minutes in a 350º oven.
When the cake was cooked through I let it cool on a rack for 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a cake platter. A little of the sugar from the fruit sauté seeped out and got a little sticky so the cake didn't come out of the pan quite as cleanly as I'd like, but it's still pretty respectable -- especially hiding under a scoop of ice cream.
Now I just need James to take the first slice.

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