19 September 2007

Of New Tools, New Year's, and New Locales

In honor of the Jewish New Year (late last week), I bought an apple, peeler, slicer device from Bed, Bath and Beyond. John and I receive those ubiquitous 10% and 20% coupon mailers nearly every week, and I was ready to take advantage of a deal. Normally, these things sell for about $30 elsewhere. However, this store has them for $19.99. I wound up getting mine for about $16.

The symbolism about eating apples and honey for the holiday is said to be tied to wishing people a sweet and healthy new year. Since I'm no longer a honey-eater, my holiday honey would be agave nectar.

I'd thought about bringing an apple pie to Mom's for dessert, but since John and I have been preparing daily for our road trip to Maine, we haven't had all that much time to do anything else. So, I searched for a very easy apple recipe. I found this one at epicurious. While it doesn't live up to it's name "Heavenly Apple Cake," it was enjoyed at Mom's nonetheless. Please refer to the original (linked above) when you make the alterations below.

My alterations were pretty extensive, down to the style of cake itself. I turned it into a tri-layer, upside-down apple cake, hence the apples on the top. To make this again successfully, I'd probably just keep the top layer and mix the apples in with the batter to get a more even consistency. Layering them this way (in a Bundt pan, no less) led to gaps. I'm not sure I'd use a Bundt pan again either, and now understand why the original recipe called for a 9-inch springform pan. But I didn't feel like digging out my springform pan from the cabinet by the fridge. It's just one of those cabinets with too many items in it. You know how it is. In the next house...

Here are my changes to the original:

1. 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat instead of 3 cups of ap
2. Oat bran for the wheat germ
3. 4 large Braeburn apples for the 6 small Rome, Granny Smith or Yellow Delicious apples
4. 2/3 cup of canola oil for the 1 cup of vegetable oil
5. 1 2/3 cups of agave nectar for the 2 cups of sugar (next time, I'd use 2 whole cups, the cake could have been a little sweeter, even with the sweet apples)
6. 1/4 cup of pineapple juice for the 1/2 cup orange juice
7. Baked at 325 degrees F for 55 mins instead of at 350 degrees F for 1 1/4 hours. In fact, I'd probably bake it for five fewer minutes next time, just because it would make the cake moister yet.

Here's my process:



and slice the apples. (I'm so impressed with this simple device! It took just minutes to peel, core and slice 4 apples. Just wish I knew how to slice them thinner. If you have any tips on this, please post them in the comments.)

Sprinkle with lemon juice, mix well, then add 1/4 cup of the agave nectar and the sugar. Make sure that the apples are completely coated. Set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy.

Add the oil, vanilla and the remaining agave nectar. Mix well.

Add the dry mixture to the wet, alternating with the juice, until the batter is well blended.

In a prepared pan, place a layer of the apples.

Then, add the cake batter.

Then, another layer of apples.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for at least an hour before turning the cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

The top should have a carmel-like quality to it around and on top of the apples. When the cake is cool, slice and serve. Oh, and enjoy!

The cake has a very tender crumb, cinnamony flavor and delicious apple bits throughout. It's a great cake to bring to any party because it's light, healthy and tasty.

Just as an aside, no posts next week since we'll be in Maine, specifically on Mount Desert Island. Yes, it's a great name, but it's pronounced Mount "Dessert" Island. We've been there before, and had a lovely time. Here's our photo journal from our last trip (you'll have to scroll down just a tiny bit to get to the Maine part). I hope you'll enjoy it while I'm away.

Have a great week!

P.S. If you're keeping up with the weight loss story, I'm still losing -- 15 lbs total!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the weight loss, wow! That is quite an acheivement, 15 lbs. Go you.

I love agave nectar so I think it's fabulous that you used it instead of honey.

Ari (Baking and Books)

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Ari!

Love your blog. :D

Martha said...

My peeler/slicer/corer (from Pampered Chef) came with two separate cranks. One slices apples to about 1/4" thick, one about 1/8" thick. It's very helpful.

Deb Schiff said...

That sounds very handy!

Deb said...

I love that you have that old-school apple-peeler. There used to be one in the bakery where I worked, and I loved using it. I need to share my mother's German-Jewish Apple Cake recipe soon. It's made in a bundt or tube pan, and so moist, it blows my mind every time. Soon!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks for stopping by, Deb. Looking forward to your recipe! Love your blog!

Anna said...

Congratulations on your weight loss!

Also, I wanted to comment on your apple peeler contraption. I bought one from Pampered Chef and love it. It really comes in handy for making apple pies and such. I especially like the long strands of apple peel that pile up and I keep thinking there must be some sort of use for them, but I end up throwing them away.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Anna. I usually just put the peels in a bag and eat them as snacks at another time. Low calorie and tasty!