Saturday, October 11, 2014

Maple Chiffon Cake

Is it just me or does this look weird? Like it's been heavily edited, but it hasn't. Weird camera things.

Now, I'm just going to give you a little heads up. This is not a cake for beginners. It involves a fair amount of harder baking techniques, as well as a hefty financial investment in maple sugar (seriously, 7 bucks for half a cup of the stuff). 

After you read this you may think, "I know how to whip eggs and fold batter and brown butter and I have a sifter and a bundt pan! This cake doesn't seem so hard!" Congrats, you are then not a beginning baker. 

Those beautiful ripples in the frosting makes my tummy ripple and rumble.

I don't blame you for trying this cake even if you aren't a great at baking because it is so pretty, isn't it! And Chiffon Cake is such a lovely name! Really chiffon just means made with oil instead of butter, but all my favorite cakes are chiffons. They're so light and moist even with loads of brown sugar, which tends to make cakes syrupy. 

You have two wonderful choices for finishing this cake. You can add a sprinkle of powdered sugar and serve it with cheese and wine (if you haven't had the pleasure of cake, cheese, and wine, I feel dreadfully sorry for you. I suggest a Cranberry Wensleydale with a spicy wine).

See the tiny flecks of browned butter in there? You know it's brown enough when it starts to smell like caramel.

Or you can load this baby up with Brown Butter Frosting and pecan bits.

This cake belongs in some Swedish cottage somewhere.

This is another recipe from Vintage Cakes. I provided the original recipe but found the batter to be too thick, so I put in a total of 1/2 cup of water. So here it is, the recipe for the Maple Chiffon Cake:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's Kinda a Problem

I have a confession to make. I hoard apples. Fall comes and every chance I get out of the house I manage to make my way to Jungle Jims and come home with bags full of apples. At 79cents for homegrown, rare variety apples, can you really blame me?

Look at them there, in the dimly lit basement with its white cement block walls. Lined carefully in rows they are just close enough that they could reach out and place a comforting hand on each other if they had hands. But they don't, so they each sit in isolation, awaiting the sound of footsteps on the stairs and pray that today it wont be them, that someone is just coming down to do laundry. Who will it be? The Winesaps? Maybe pies are on the menu and the Macintoshes are in jeopardy. Braeburn, Jonathan, Empire....One day, they will all be gone.

If you didn't think I was crazy a paragraph ago, I know you do now.
Other fruits are nice. The smell of peaches makes me want to cry with joy because it's like an unbelievable jewel that you can't believe exists in nature. Lemons are as essential to a house as a broom or a hammer. But apples...those are the stuff life is made out of.


Red and Golden Delicious apples are an abomination. I have a feeling the apples in Eden were Red Delicious and God kicked Eve and Adam out for being so stupid as to eat such a disgusting apple and then forever cursed their descendants to forever find Delicious, and only Delicious varieties, in their school lunches for all eternity. That's how it happens in the Bible, right?
And it's funny that The Atlantic was apparently thinking about this at the exact same time I was! I'm sitting here, ranting about delicious and Delicious apples and then up on my facebook feed comes an article about Red Delicious apples. And they support my opinion that Delicious apples are mealy, not good for eating, storing, baking, poaching, pureeing, fermenting, juicing, nothing. Nothing. They're useless.

Ever had a winter banana apple? They are perfection for tarts.

I'm trying to be very clear about this point. Please stop eating Delicious apples. And stop putting Honeycrisps in your pies. And please stop trying to make applesauce with Granny Smiths. I may be weird about my love for apples but at least I respect them as individuals, with individual strengths.
So here is a lovely chart for you.  We are blessed in the United States to not only have apples a plenty, but our own special varieties. You can thank good ol' Johnny Appleseed for that. See, when you want to plant an apple tree to grow the same apples as it's Momma, you don't just plant a seed, you propgate. This is when you cut off a branch of one tree and graft it onto the roots of another tree. So when Johnny went about sowing seed, he created entirely new varieties of apples, special to the United States. So celebrate your country. Try a new kind of apple: