Thursday, September 30, 2010

Apple Daze

My reward. Torta di Mele from Proud Italian Cook. So much for my resolve to stay away from cake. But this isn't any cake. It's an orchard cake, a rustic cake, an Italian cake, a cake containing Amaretto. Need I say more?

I started my day very early on the patio. Just me, Sadie (dog) and my coffee. It's a nice break from when I sit at the kitchen table and Pippin (cat; aka Sir Pipster, Pippadew, Pip-a-dee-do-dah, Pipadoodle, etc.) wants to share my coffee. By dipping has paws in my mug. I know where those paws have been.

And then the hawk came. And dove into the last of the Snow on the Mountain. Scurrying. Rodent-hunting. The hawk flew over me creating a ruckus and a windstorm. I went inside. And surprise - no Pippin. I worry because he's lost a few of his 9 lives already and is always by my side in the a.m. I go cat-hunting. And in the back of the basement I find a cat mouse-hunting.
`
I go upstairs to work. Matthew (son) goes downstairs to work. Pip may be the court jester but he has patience. We don't hear from him for 3 hours. And then Matthew notices that Pip has emerged from the basement. With a live squealing mouse. Which he intends to carry upstairs to my work room. Which is a definite "No Mouse Zone."
`
Matthew goes after Pip, Pipster drops the mouse. The terrified mouse feezes. Matthew covers him with tupperware (yes, probably the same tupperware Paul (husband) uses to change oil and then expects me to put food in it) and Matthew takes Mighty Mouse outside to freedom. Matthew has always practiced "catch and release" with rodents. Someday I will tell you a tale about Matthew, Kirsten and me and 1 mouse. I wrote a short play about it. It had 100 productions the first year. People relate to mouse tales. Anyway, I'm thinking the mouse beat Matthew back into the house. I flee. (The old adage, "if there's 1 mouse, there's probably 7 more...)

To the orchards. The downside of being a freelance writer/playwright is that sometimes there are very lean months. The upside is - in the middle of a perfect weekday - you can flee to the orchards.

And walk.


And sample apples.


I brought home the sweet Minnesota Honeycrisp. Cortland apples for baking and MacIntosh for sweet-tart breakfasts. In the eve I will have some with sharp cheddar cheese while the kids dip their slices in caramel.
`
I think these are Yeats, "Golden apples of the sun."
I want some.

So I buy a peck... or two. Enough for the requisite, healthy apple-a-day and enough for cake. Remember the cake (with Amaretto?).


I love pies but I've always had an affinity for apple cake. The lush, white meat stands out. Not hidden by spices. It's an apple and it proclaims itself in cake.
`
And so I made it. Not even a mouse (or 7 mice) will stand in the way of me and my kitchen.

And you should make it. One bowl, easy and did I mention it has Amaretto in it?


Look at the moist crumb. Sweet but not cloying. Light but fulfilling. Do yourself a favor, bake the cake!
`
I didn't change one gram of Proud Italian Cook's recipe. I didn't even add extra Amaretto. But you can always have some Amaretto on the side ...


Which is why I have linked to her. The recipe is here. And everywhere else I linked. Try it. You'll like it. Don't wait for a mouse to visit your house to have an excuse.

51 comments:

3 hungry tummies said...

That is a beautiful cake. And what a beautiful and inspirational space for creative living!

Kim - Liv Life said...

MMM! I love Apple Cake! This one looks perfect.
On another note, we have the same paw issue!!

Pegasuslegend said...

perfect timeing just bought some apples wondering what to make new, now I absolutely know, cant wait to try this we will all love this recipe and it really looks fabulous!

Amy said...

This cake looks wonderful! And I love Pine Tree Apple Orchard...I need to make a trip there soon!

baking.serendipity said...

Gorgeous scenery photos and cake :) I love the swirled apple slices...it makes such a great presentation. Perfect for fall and eating on the patio! PS, I've got a giveaway going on that I think you might be interested in :) Stop by and check it out!

Mari said...

Claudia this looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipes. I go to do this. Yummy!!!! I love the orchard and apple photos. I miss going to Londonderry NH for apple picking.

Have a blessed day :D

Proud Italian Cook said...

Claudia it looks like you live in a beautiful area, I don't live to close to orchards but we do try to go once every fall. I'm so glad you liked the cake, don't you love the one bowl? Now if I could just peel apples faster, that would be a good thing!

Monet said...

Claudia,
I need to move next door. Not only would I want to come over for some of this delicious cake, but I would love to stroll through those gorgeous orchards. This rustic cake would be the perfect ending to a homey fall meal. Thank you for sharing with me.

Bridgett said...

You have inspired me to explore some of the orchards near me! I know this cake would not last long sitting on my counter. It's beautiful as well as quite delicious looking.

Kim said...

Claudia- That apple cake looks so moist and inviting. I also love to use Amaretto in baked goods. This cake is a thing of beauty.

P.S. We had a little brown mouse in the garage last week. The kids thought he was cute and wanted him to stay. Let's just say that I didn't feel the same way.

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

Oh, apple cake...heaven! I too have an abundance of apples piled around the kitchen and even in the basement. What a gorgeous way to use them up!

the constant hunger said...

My goodness, what a lovely day you had. I agree that the freelance life is a bit unstable, but when it's good, it's good. Your apple recipe is definitely a keeper. Gonna pick up some apples and attempt baking again.

OysterCulture said...

This was my favorite time of year in Minnesota. I missed the apples and the yummy treats that followed the picking.

Foodessa said...

Claudia...thank goodness you had a great looking landscape and beautiful cake to look at because it was a little tough getting the hawks and mice out of my mind...how eery!!! I could only imagine Halloween at your place.

Apples and Amaretto...perfect complement. BTW...I too prefer apples in cakes vs. pies ;o)

Here's wishing you uninterrupted moments with your cup of coffee ;o)

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Reeni said...

Pippin was bringing you a prize! One of my cats tried to bring a live bird in the house once. The cake looks absolutely divine! I like apples in cakes much better too, not that I would turn down a piece of apple pie...

denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Well it sure was pretty enough looking on from the top, but I was not convinced I had to try baking this beauty, until you showed us a slice! Oh my.......

myfrenchkitchen said...

Oh, a delicious apple cake! We're going picking this weekend...
And I chuckled at Pippadoodle...love that nickname..and the mouse story...hie hie, yes, we all relate to a mouse story...must touch the child in us I think..
bises
ronelle

Angie's Recipes said...

The cake has such a moist and smooth crumb...and with Amaretto...shall I trade one with my pizza? :-))
Have a wonderful weekend!
Angie

Reeni said...

Hi Claudia! The entire issue is about Greece - it's chock full of wonderful recipes and stories. I want to make almost every recipe in there! Hope you have a great weekend! xoxo

Claudia said...

Thanks, Reeni - I found it! Yay! I love listening to your mouse tales. And Renni, not sure I need a live bird in the house right now.

Chow and Chatter said...

fun post and wow what a beautiful post

Fresh Local and Best said...

Apple picking is one fall event that I really look forward to out here. I adore how beautiful those apple look on hanging on those branches. And the apple cake looks wonderful! I'm sure extra amaretto doesn't hurt.

Barbara said...

You're right Claudia...nothing is better than an apple cake. Yours looks so moist and light. Amaretto? Bring it on! What a super pairing with apples.

Joanne said...

I love apple orchards. This time of year in New York, every where you look, apples are available for picking and hay rides entertain the whole family. Great time of year.
I'm baking that cake. It looks absolutely grand!

Carol Egbert said...

I apple time here in Vermont and I have become a fan of Italian cakes because they are less sweet and give the fruit space to shine. This recipe looks great.

Peggy said...

You definitely have a way of enticing your reader! My mouth was salivating the whole time! We've got tons of apples right now so this cake will definitely be on the list of how to use them up!

All That I'm Eating said...

Yum. What an interesting thing to do with apples. It looks so nice.

Sophie said...

What a lovely, funny & well written post, dear Claudia!! hahahha,..That apple cake looks & sounds so divine!!

I also love her recipes!

Julie said...

That is a cake that definitely should not be avoided...yum!

Beth said...

What a great story! I wouldn't want a mouse anywhere near my work area either! The apple cake looks delicious!

girlichef said...

Wow! Amaretto and apples...a definite slice of heaven! Ah, mouse stories...you're so right, everybody's got 'em ;) I smiled all the way through...

Spicie Foodie said...

Your story has me laughing, I can picture your cat - so funny! The cake looks exquisite, and with fresh picked apple how great.

Otehlia said...

Oh my goodness, this looks so great!!!!!And I love liquor in anything sweet and fruity. Yum!

5 Star Foodie said...

Loved reading the story and the apple cake looks amazing! Must be absolutely fantastic with Amaretto in it!

May Ling Wu said...

What a wonderfull fall day! I'm going apple picking next weekend. Will have to try this cake. Always looking for new ideas for all those apples. I love how moist it looks :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I saw this fabulous recipe on Marie's blog and made the same promise to make it this fall, Claudia. Now I am even more determined!

I'm glad the mouse servived to see another day....as long as it's not inside your house :)

Your local orchards are so lovely! I bought a half bushel of honey crisp apples this weeekend even though they cost a king's ransom, but how could I resisit?!

petite nyonya said...

Oh, look at those luscious, tempting apples waiting to be picked! How I wish I could grow an apple tree here. The cake looks absolutely moist and perfect for an afternoon tea in the countryside. Love the feeling of it all.

The Mom Chef said...

You've stolen my blogging heart. I love your writing style and the fact that you don't repost recipes but link to them. So, now I'm following you. I promise I won't be a stalker, just a follower. I will be making the cake though. Heading over to the Proud Italian Cook now!

pigpigscorner said...

wow, it looks extremely moist!

Eileen said...

Oh my.... That cake looks so delicious. And, Amarreto, that's just the icing on the cake isn't it? Adding to my must make soon list!

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Sublime photos and apples are wonderful. Cake with Amaretto? I'm in right now :)

Cheers,

Gera

Magic of Spice said...

Wow...just wonderful, would love this with coffee at breakfast...so pretty :)

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Somehow Amaretto makes everything taste better. I'm constantly amazed at how many different varieties of apples there are. Your apple cake is perfect for our fall weather.
Sam

Barbara GF said...

After seeing Marie's recipe and now your making it, I must give it a try, Claudia. And do you really live near the lake? What a gorgeous property. You are blessed, for sure.

theUngourmet said...

We had a mouse last winter and...ugh. I don't even want to think about mice right now. I do, however, want to think about making this lovely apple cake! ;)

Table Talk said...

Ahh, a chill has finally hit the air her in VA and has me thinking about a drive to the apple orchard this weekend. This cake will be in my collection of recipes to try (especially with the amaretto!).

Rico said...

For me is more of an apple Dazzle than daze, and I was pleasantly surprised by the pictures and overall quality of this tart...wonderful you're and inspiration.

Rico-Tried and Tested Recipes

Velva said...

That is a beautiful autumn cake-wow!
As always, the story makes me smile.

Lynda said...

What a lovely post Claudia. I love your phots and the cake looks delicious. I know that I couldn't stop with just one piece of the mouth watering dessert!

Elisabeth said...

Hi Claudia,
I'm so glad I found your blog...had I not requested to be your friend from Foodbuzz, I would have missed out on your beautiful blog. I love the apple cake it's so beautiful and scrumptious looking. Also love all the photos you posted along with the foods. Just love your blog, that I am following you!

Ela said...

i love reading your blog. the cake looks delicious! any leftovers for me?