Monday, December 15, 2014

Cranapple Walnut Cake

This picture was taken about 7 or 8 years ago at the U-District Farmers' Market. This is what the cranberry harvest for farmers' markets looked like the first few seasons farmers started bringing these local treasures to the market.

The tables have more berries now and the price is higher these days. It isn't easy to grow cranberries. They grow on bushes that need bogs, and with all that water, cranberries are susceptible to fungus

Chemical fungicides aren't allowed for organic cranberries, so growing them is more challengine. You might say it's an act of love.  One farm Starvation Alley is doing just that. They are the first certified organic cranberry grower in Washington state. And they sell berries in the U-district market. Check out their story, then support their farm.

For this recipe, apples help balance the sweet tones with the tart cranberries in Cranapple Walnut Cake, a recipe I found in Mollie Katzen's Heart of the Plate

Someone isn't interested unless we're testing actual recipes.
Of course the third ingredient that grabbed my attention was walnuts, another northwest treasure.  I happen to have a significant amount of my walnuts from Grouse Mountain Farm. Once you've eaten the best walnuts, you'll never want the store bought variety again.  I'm hoping this box of local walnuts will last through the winter.  I may have to hide them.

Nash's flour is available and it's worth the extra cost.  How many people can say they've ever really had fresh flour?  Just a ferry ride away in Sequim, Washington, Nash's organic farm has been grinding out flour for eight years now.

Recipe adaptation

I started with Molly Katzen's recipe and I made a few alterations along the way. I increased the flour measurement because Nash's flour has less gluten and seems to have more moisture.  I used darker brown sugar, so the recipe turned out significantly darker than the photo in the book that appears to have been made with very light colored sugar.

I could have used less sugar, but I wasn't sure because the cranberries were very tart and the Granny Smith apples were also tart.  Also I cut down on the amount of apples and I chopped as opposed to slicing them.  I find with Nash's flour, pastries don't always hold together as well, but the flavor makes up for that minor problem.

Cranapple Walnut Cake
(Makes one 9 by 13-inch cake or about 10 servings)

1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten, or flax-seed egg replacer for 2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (if using fresh local flour use 2 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 large apple, peeled and core removed, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly oil a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

2. Beat together eggs, brown sugar, oil and vanilla.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry ingredients, adding the fruit and nuts.  Mixture will be quite thick.  Spread in the prepared baking pan.  

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Test with toothpick before removing from the oven.  Allow to cool on cooling rack before slicing.  Top with whipped topping, coconut sorbet or ice cream.

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Happy New Year and enjoy your new Red Plate!
Miz Helen