24 January 2011

It's a funny time to be doing this

Rachel and I made applesauce today. Fifteen quarts of it. Yes, applesauce in January! When Cherry Hill has seconds for $17 a bushel, and your husband would eat applesauce with every meal if you let him, and it's been too long since you made food in vast quantities, and you miss your little sister and like finding excuses to spend the afternoon with her, and you have freezer space again because you've eaten half of the corn and most of the blueberries and quite a few of the peaches too . . .

Why not?

I don't usually cook with applesauce. We tend to eat it straight. Sometimes with cinnamon. Sometimes with a dollop of Greek yogurt and (if you're Jared) a sprinkling of brown sugar. But mostly straight.

With the other apples I got at Cherry Hill, however, I made this cake. Half went into our bellies, half went to my starving-college-student brother in Grove City, and all were pleased.

Roman Apple Cake
(originally from More with Less, but I rearranged the instructions)

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I used raw sugar)
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups chopped apples (I never peel them)

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9x13 pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Pour in milk and stir thoroughly.
3. In medium bowl stir together remaining "cake" ingredients, except apples. Add to butter mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. (Confession: I just dumped it all straight into the butter mixture without combining it separately first. I'm a naughty baker. If you do this, make sure there are NO baking powder streaks in the batter!)
4. Stir in chopped apple. Spread batter in prepared pan.
5. Combine topping ingredients in small bowl (or the saucepan in which you melted the butter). Sprinkle evenly over cake batter.
6. Bake cake for 35-40 minutes, until tests done in center. Let cool, at least a little bit, on a wire rack. Richly delicious by itself, or with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

I have no idea why this is called "Roman" apple cake. I've been equally puzzled about the name of "Jewish" apple cake. Are Romans partial to cloves? Jews to oranges? This makes no sense. Someone please do the research legwork and then enlighten me.

{photo credit: Imapix on Flickr}

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