An Apple Cake to Celebrate….Something! Anything!

dsc_0330

Here is what I think…or one of the millions of things I think….find something to celebrate. It can be a little thing or a big thing or nothing real at all, but some creative thing going on inside your head. Take some time to celebrate something. It can only be a good thing, right?

This apple cake is of my own invention to celebrate no one thing, but just the season, the beautiful apples I had, a few lovely soft orange rose hips,  some antique pieces recently acquired for props, the light coming in through the window on this particular day while I played with this still life. More than plenty to celebrate I think don’t you?

dsc_0338

dsc_0317

I made a wee cake and a larger cake..one to give away and one to enjoy.

dsc_0282

A dusting of powdered sugar always seems celebratory to me.

dsc_0298

 

An Apple Cake to Celebrate

dsc_0311

Ingredients:

  • 6 crisp, tart apples or whatever is your favorite, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Spelt flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
  • powdered sugar for dusting over top of finished cake

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. line the bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper and then spray sides and bottom with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Toss together in a bowl the apple slices & 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand, or hand mixer, blend together the remaining granulated sugar, raw sugar, spelt flour, baking powder, apple pie spice, vanilla extract, eggs and butter.
  4. Fold in half the sugar-coated apples and spoon into the prepared springform pan. Top with remaining apple slices & chopped almonds.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour or until cooked throughout when tested with a skewer. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then remove the sides and cool cake on a wire rack.
  6. Right before serving add a generous, celebratory, dusting of powdered sugar.

Note: Is delicious with a bit of whipped cream as well. If you decide to make a wee and larger cake like I did use a smaller 8 inch pan and an even smaller 6 inch pan. Worked great.

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com     http://www.foodofifth.com

Still Life with an Arkansas Black Apple Tart & A Scenic Road Trip

tart

I realize that many of you lovely readers of Food on Fifth and fellow bloggers travel to, or are currently vacationing in, exotic locations around the globe while so many other blogger friends live in cities and countries far & wide. Celia is in New Zealand visiting family, Roger actually lives in France, Tina is based out of Frankfurt, Germany but  can be found in so many truly exotic spots it can make the mind reel. Selma resides  in London & Cheryl in Glasgow and Meg might be blogging about Verona one day and Virginia the next. My recent travels were of a more humble nature, yet iconically American.

A couple of weeks ago my well-traveled friend, Terry, and I purposefully took a road trip to Bentonville, Arkansas.  Deep in the Ozark forest is a wonder to behold, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We will return to this thread later…..

mosheair
Have you ever eaten an Arkansas Black apple?  From a road side stand in Harrison, Arkansas I bought a half bushel basket of these very crispy, deep red, right on the edge of black, apples. They are long-keeping apples and are said to turn almost black when stored.

apples

Last week after our return I gave away bags of these beauties to friends who love to cook. Jill at Jill Cooks Here took home a bag and Nancy at Good Food Matters just made a terrific seasonal cake with her bag.

These apples are very crisp and do not get mushy when cooked, but hold their shape and keep a bit of crunch when used in cakes & pies. I like this quality very much.

DSC_2716DSC_2719

 Maple syrup, brown sugar & cinnamon.

DSC_2721

A crust using the seeds of a whole vanilla bean, almond meal & Kerrygold butter.

DSC_2723

Filled and loosely….I like to think artistically….latticed.

DSC_2731

Sugared top golden browned.

DSC_2767

“Still Life with an Arkansas Black Apple Tart”

DSC_2774

Best eaten warm from the oven.

Arkansas Black Apple Tart

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hr 30 mins
  • Print

tart

Ingredients for Crust:

  • the seeds from one vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Meal/Gluten Free)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour + extra for rolling out the dough (King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks cold/12 tablespoons butter grated or cut into small pieces (Kerrygold is my favorite)
  • 2 tbsp cold plain greek yogurt

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 5-6 Arkansas Black Apples, cored, peeled & sliced, or other seasonal local apple with a crispy, tart flesh
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg or any ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cold butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 whole egg well beaten for wash
  • Granulated Sanding sugar for dusting over the top before baking

Directions for Tart Crust:

  1. Put the 1 3/4 cups almond flour, 1/2 cup gluten-free flour, the vanilla bean seeds & the 1/4 tsp sea salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the cold butter & pulse a few times.
  3. Add the cold yogurt & pulse until a sticky dough forms.
  4. Scrape dough from the processor bowl, shape into a ball, wrap with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes. This can be made the day before as well.
  5. Lightly grease a springform pan. Press 2/3 of  the chilled dough into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Set aside.
  6. Roll the other 1/3 of the dough out on a floured board and cut into lattice strips. Use as much flour as needed as this dough is very soft and tender.

Directions for Filling the Crust:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl toss the apple slices with the juice of half a lemon. Sprinkle with the nutmeg and dark brown sugar and toss again.
  3. Drizzle with the maple syrup and toss well.
  4. Arrange the apple slices in the tart crust snuggly. Top with the butter pieces.
  5. Place the dough strips over the top of the apple filling in a “lattice” pattern. As you can see perfection was not my goal, but I did want it to look pretty.
  6. Brush lattice top with egg wash and sprinkle generously with the sanding sugar.
  7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the apples are bubbling and the top crust is golden brown. If the crust browns to rapidly then cover the entire pan loosely with foil.
  8. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Best served warm and of course would be extra good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Scenes from a road trip….

A couple of hours into our trip we had to stop at Billy Tripp’s “Mindfield” in Brownsville, TN…now an official Roadside Attraction!

photo 5photo 1_2

photo 1photo 4_2

I always like to stop and wander about. A West Tennessee cotton field is a contemplative place.

photo 4

Heading into the Ozarks on a cloudy day.

photo 3

Bentonville, Arkansas. Home of Walmart. Old ad..a store wide selection of timely values.

photo 2_2photo 5

Bentonville is also home to the  Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Sam Walton’s daughter, Alice, the powerhouse behind this beautiful space is an interesting read on Google. A stunning space for both it architecture, designed by Moshe Safdie,  and its remote location, it houses American art spanning 5 centuries of artists from Colonial times to the present.

crystal_bridges_04

crystal_bridges_02

320px-Crystal_Bridges_Museum_of_American_Art--2012-04-12

global

Other road side attractons…..

photo 1_2

photo 1

photo 3

photo 1

photo 3

photo 4

Take a road trip….make a tart.