Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Possibly the BEST cake I have EVER baked!

There are moments in life where you just have to stop and pinch yourself.  When you are in the moment and you are thinking 'Is this really happening to me?' Let me tell you, I had one of those amazing-epiphany-Oprah Winfrey 'Light Bulb Moments' on Tuesday when I baked a cake which I possibly think could change my life.

I cannot take all the credit.  I must refer you to brilliant American Blogger David Lebovitz who, incidentally does not even know I exist - even though I did comment on his blog entry regarding said cake, which goes a little like this...

 'So glad I have the day off work.  So glad I have rum and apples in pantry.  So glad I have a French Apple cake baking in my oven for afternoon tea'. 

So in the flurry of messages that this gentleman receives each time he writes a blog entry, there sits my little comment, out there in the wilderness of cyberspace.  What is amusing to me is at the time I didn't even know how really good this cake was going to be - let alone if it would work for me.

I get excited when I read about people who love food.  It gets my juices flowing to read how they, just like me, get excited about food.  Food has so many elements, other than just being 'stuff to eat'.  I love the wit and charm that food can have.  Food is a great conversation starter.  It is comforting, it is playful, it is sexy, it is nurturing.  What is there not to love?

So reading David's entry for French Apple cake (which incidentally is a Dorie Greenspan recipe), I could not help but be inspired.  I was excited because this cake looks (and is) so simple to bake.  Plus I had all of the ingredients on hand.  At first I thought it would turn out to be a little crumbly, or maybe a little rubbery - as I have had attempts at making apple cakes before without success. 

I am impatient.  I will start a recipe with only having read the ingredients list first - naughty I know!  I felt a little trepidation as I read through the method.  To me this recipe had a 'sponge cake' feel about it.  I get nervous when it comes to beating eggs - It's the whole 'not knocking the air out of them' when you add flour and melted butter.  My last sponge cake was anything but - more like a giant over sized crispy sugar cookie!  I decided I just needed to take a deep breath and what will be will be!  

I prepared my batter as per instructions and folded in my beautifully crisp Granny Smith apple pieces, being careful to not knock the air out of my batter.  I then poured it gently into my greased cake pan.  (Which I did not line with parchment - word of warning, if you attempt this cake it is a good idea to grease and line your springform tin, otherwise your cake will end up being a little more 'rustic' than you might appreciate). 

To add insult to injury, silly me had put the base of my springform tin in upside down and I am sure you can imagine my horror as I saw the batter slowly seeping out of the sides of the tin... 

I took another deep breath and said to myself 'Keep calm and carry on'.  I blessed myself, I blessed the cake and I blessed the oven .  It was all in the lap of the Gods - If this cake was going to succeed there wasn't anything more I could do for it.  Of course I could have scraped it out of the tin and put it into another pan, but hey, I love a little drama!

After almost an hour my cake was baked.  The sweet aroma of apple spiked with rum filled the kitchen.  The cake was golden and looked delicious.  I left it to cool and here I discovered my lack of lining dilemma - I overcame it brilliantly.  The upshot was that the little skim of cake stuck to the bottom of the pan, became a treat for the cook!  The downside was that it made the cake look a little more like a Bulldog than a Ballerina - but you know, that is why God invented icing sugar!  (Flipping it helps disguise blemishes as well).

The taste - My my my!  How do I describe it... It is spongy, with lovely chunks of apple,  with a lovely warm glow from the flavour of the rum.  Even though the alcohol is cooked out, you can't help but feel a little naughty. (I'm amused how people always get slap happy about things that have alcohol in them).

This cake is quite the dark horse - from its exterior you kind of write it off as being nothing too special - but then you taste it... 

Do try this cake.  It is simply amazing.  I must thank David and Dorie for bringing it into my life.  I hope you will one day thank them too.  By the way, here is the link for the recipe!  French Apple Cake

Until next time...

Kitty xx

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