Hello All: Here in New England, where we are accustomed to wintry Decembers, the air is warm and skies are full of gray fog, making it feel more like mud-season than Hanukkah and Christmas. As a result, I find myself in a bit of a funk, working hard to push through the clouds, singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas...” in my head along with Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. The song and images from the classic film make smile and feel in good cheer.
I confess it is has been a difficult time on a deeply personal level. My elderly mother is not well. At 89, she faces major surgery at the start of the new year, and I have been at her side helping her sort through all the decisions and necessary preparations to get her affairs in order before she enters the hospital. As difficult as it is, I feel grateful that she has a home and access to high quality medical care. Having just returned from Long Island where she lives, I saw some of the lingering devastation left by Hurricane Sandy. Still, I marveled at the people I met who had lost so much, some the entirety of their homes, but who were already rebuilding, continuing to feel hope and love. Human endurance and optimism. It is quite something. This is what I strive for and embrace.
To nurture myself and my family during this difficult time, I cook and create. This is my brand of love and optimism. Today I made this Cranberry Apple Breakfast Cake with my daughter, Isabel. It is moist and delicious. We had it for breakfast but it is equally suitable for tea mid-afternoon or dessert by the fire after a long day. Make it a part of your day, your holiday season.
CRANBERRY APPLE BREAKFAST CAKE
Yield: 1 9-inch Bundt Cake, About 12 Servings
- 1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Butter for greasing pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced tart apples, like Granny Smith
- Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
- Place the fresh cranberries and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small sauce pan. Place over medium heat and simmer until the cranberries burst slightly and the sugar melts, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter and flour a 9-inch tube or bundt pan.
- Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer filled with a paddle attachment. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
- Sift together the flours, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, cooked cranberries and apples. Stir until combined.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Turn out onto a serving platter and garnish lightly with confectioners' sugar.
Note: This recipe is adapted from a recipe for Teddie's Apple Cake by Amanda Hesser. It was originally published in the New York Times 11.4.07.
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