Apple Walnut Cakes With Mascarpone Cream

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Apple Cake _ Southern Comfort Cookbook


I don't think I could have enjoyed making these Apple Cinnamon And Walnut Cakes more than this weekend. Rainy and grey weather, still getting over a bad cold and terrible news about someone I loved just made me head out to the kitchen and cook, bake, stir and chop. I also went for a long run and ran until my lungs were about to explode. I needed to feel life in me. A tangible happenstance of something as fundamental as taking a breath in and letting a breath out. I had to get into the kitchen, open a cookbook and start a methodological way of going about my day.


Apples


Gather ingredients. Follow directions. Measure and stir. Step one would sway me one way. Step two another. I did not want to think. I did not want to guess. I just wanted comfort. Comfort in making a cake similar to the one my grandmother would make when I was little. Comfort in bringing extra cakes to the neighbors on Sunday morning. It did not even occur to me that my hands had reached for "Southern Comfort" by Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing. How appropriate. Comfort. In time of sorrow. Southern. Right here in the Deep South.

 
Apple Cake _ Southern Comfort Cookbook

Life has funny ways indeed. And for a few hours, I surrendered. I was too tired from thinking, speculating, wondering, being sad, being mad and feeling like a piece of my life of the past thirteen years had been wrongfully taken from me. When someone screams, I get quiet. When someone gets mad, I smirk. When someone decides to check out, deliberately, I check in. I know no other way to deal with loss and grief. And I bake. Or cook.

 
Sour Apples


If you read food blogs, such as this one, I am pretty much reassured that you do the same thing when blue. So I am hoping that you understand when my dealing with uncomfortable moments, makes me reach for the comfort of a soft cake, filled with aromas of apples and cinnamon, the tender crunch of walnuts and crumbs sticking to your fingers. Comforting scents and textures. Like a warm blanket on a cold and rainy day. These cakes will cure many a broken heart, will stop many a falling tear and will become the kindest balm for your soul.

 Take my word for it. I cooked from "Southern Comfort" all weekend long. Even if you are not a Southerner here in the US, as I can't claim to be, but understand more and more being married to one for the last fifteen years, you can find comfort in taking familiar recipes, childhood recipes, family-hand-me-down recipes and make them yours. I feel deeply comforted and little more Southern. But overall, I just feel better for reconnecting to the only normalcy I know. Being in the kitchen and making food for the people I love. In memory or not.

Apple Cake _ Southern Comfort Cookbook


This post was written with one single person in mind. Here is to you Tim... With all my love and thirteen years of an honest and seamless friendship between a man and a woman who were just trying to make sense of this life we are in. And for the many cakes I made you sample while I was pastry chef-ing at Mistral's back in the days... Miss you Mischief. Your Misconduct.




Apple Cinnamon & Walnut Cakes, adapted from "Southern Comfort".

Note: the original recipe called for vegetable oil but as true French Southerner, I used extra virgin olive oil... and walnuts instead of pecans. I could have easily used almonds, but I was out of them... As you can tell, any nut you fancy works great in this cake.

Makes one large bundt cake or 16 muffin sized cakes

Ingredients:
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil (or you could do half canola, half olive if taste is too strong, or all canola)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups Jeanne's gluten free mix or all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/4-inch dice (3 cups)
1 cup walnuts


Mascarpone Cream : not suggested in the book but it was the perfect foil for the cakes. At least I thought so...
4 oz mascarpone, at room temperature
4 oz heavy cream, whisked to medium peaks

Directions:
Preaheat the oven to 350F. Butter ad flour a 10-cup Bundt cake or 16 muffin tins and reserve.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the vanilla, eggs, oil and lemon juice. Whisk for a minute on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Add the salt, cinnamon and sugar and whisk for 30 seconds longer at medium speed.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda. Slowly add to the sugar/oil mixture, at low speed and whisk to combine, about 1 minute. Slowly fold in the apples and nuts, with a spatula until thoroughly mixed. Spread the batter into the prepared Bundt cake pan or muffin tins. Bake for about 1 and 15 minutes for a Bundt cake and about 40 minutes for a muffin tin.

For the mascarpone cream: carefully fold the mascarpone and whipped cream together. Serve along the cake(s).



46 comments:

Savory Simple said...

beautifully done!

Angela @ the fairy bread chronicles said...

gorgeous! baking things, especially apple-things i have noticed, is the best thing you can do on a rainy day!

Kathryn said...

those cakes look and sound amazing. I haven't visited this space for ages (too long!), the look has changed and I think it's gorgeous, like a food magazine.

reading this post, my heart goes out to you, it really does.

Pink Peppercorn and Paprika said...

Thinking up recipes in my head is exactly the thing I do when life gets to be too much to think about, and I need to check out for just a little bit. Wonderful recipe- thank you for sharing.

Laura said...

Sorry about your loss, it sounds like it was way too soon.

My garden helps the healing process for me.

Hugs!

Y said...

This is so sad, and yet, you wrote it so beautifully.

Maja Skorupska said...

Helen! Apart from wonderful, warm and comforting recipe, which I'm going to employ immediately in my kitchen, moving and beautiful words..very nice post, which I enjoyed a lot. all the best to you:)Maja

Noelia said...

wonderful recipe!

Elvira said...

The baking gives you comfort but I think you've passed the comfort to all your readers through these beautiful cakes, your pictures, your writing and thoughts. Hugs.

Vickie said...

my deepest sympathy for your loss.

these cakes sound wonderful :)

Dena Testa Bray said...

Lovely post. The cakes look awesome and I love your honesty about how you are feeling. Life in transition can be difficult. I, too, cook to bring order to my life, and passion, especially when times are tough. Here's a recent post of mine on the topic. Be well and thank you for the inspiration....
http://www.gathering-flavors.com/2013/01/cake-and-mortality.html
D

Katy Noelle said...

xxo

What a beautiful post! and, yes, even when I'm not completely crumbled apart by life - cooking in the kitchen is comforting!

Best wishes for comfort! and, it's a beautiful post...

xxo again.

Penny said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Cooking is a balm for me also. Beautiful tribute and beautiful food.

Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I know what you mean when you say you bake your way through the grief -- I do the same. These apple cakes seem like a perfect, delicious comfort, if even for a moment in this time of grief. Hang in there. :)

Brhea {noplacelykehome.com} said...

So sorry for your loss. Your unbelievably beautiful, crisp and honest photography in this post spoke to my soul. Just stunning...

carol said...

as always when you share the rawness of life, your writing is so poignant, so full of love & emotion, and one just knows how much you treasure your loved ones in your life...i'm so very sorry for your loss, i can hear how much it hurts. i can see how much love there was in the friendship as you created some amazingly beautiful & comforting muffins...likewise, i do the same & head into my kitchen when i need comfort & healing...blessings to you, and may you always cherish the memories of good times & friendship of so many years... thank you for sharing!

Katherines Corner said...

a beautiful ( and delicious) post in honor of your friend xo P.S. I invite you to join my hop tomorrow and share your beautiful blog

Mari @ Oh, Sweet & Savory said...

I just discovered your blog today & I'm so glad I did! This looks absolutely delicious. Can't wait to try the recipe!

GillyLee said...

My thoughts go out to you. And thank you for this gorgeous recipe. From a Newbie subscriber

tutusandtea said...

A beautiful post... I love the cloudier effect on the photographs - a beautiful touch. Thank you for sharing!

sandra said...

These look so lovely. The perfect thing for a cold February day.

The InTolerant Chef said...

What lovely little cakes indeed, delicious!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

These are simply beautiful! I have have have to try...


terri said...

i'm so sorry for your loss--in some ways, it's so much harder when someone decides to check out, deliberately.

sending thoughts and prayers your way.

Nicola @ Homegrown Kitchen said...

These mini cakes look perfect for a autumn harvest of apples and walnuts coming soon down under. And stunning photos. Thank you

Kate said...

So sorry for your loss....you are right, the kitchen serves as a refuge and way to work through the pain...

The cakes look comforting...

Jen said...

i'm so sorry, helene. i appreciate your ability to function, no matter how "automatic" it may be. such a beautiful expression of your grief and coping mechanisms to create something so wonderfully warm and comforting.

By the way, you ARE a southerner. France...US...comfort food is still best in the south! :)

Yami said...

I am sorry to here this. Thank you for taking the time to share. Your photos are like the cake looks, delightful.


Yami

Colette Just for Foodies said...

Look at those li'l cuties....

goboroot said...

I feel your sorrow, Helene. Sorry for your loss. I would do the same. Head to the kitchen and let my hands move... Beautiful post.

VelezDelights said...

This looks great! It’s definitely becoming a part of my future To-Do list! :)

straighttalkingvegetables.com said...

These look lovely. I completely understand the comfort of cooking while grieving. Something to nurture the life still around us. Something to do.

xo

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) said...

Apple, cinnamon and walnut--> One of the world's best flavor combinations. And incredibly comforting, I agree. So sorry for your loss.

Tracy {pale yellow} said...

Food is so comforting. I'm glad you are able to find some small comforts. Lovely recipe.

leelouzworld said...

your post moved a core in me... and i do relate totally, baking is such a soothing experience and while your hands are busy measuring and stiring, your mind is filled with memories and images, and it is ok to grieve... special friendships are gold and you are lucky to have had one like that... keep baking and sharing with us...life is good...:)

akane said...

Absolutely beautiful. =)
And will surely try that recipe!
Loving your blog.

italiangirlcooks said...

What a lovely recipe; just up my alley...and marscarpone topping, perfect. Can't wait to try these. Thanks!

italiangirlcooks said...

P.S. I just bought your book; Plate To Pixel and started reading it last night. Learning a lot...great job, and I love your writing style!

Medeja said...

These cakes look like comfort food. I can't imagine anything better for a cozy evening with a cup of tea..

sweet-lab said...

I'm sure that these delicious apple walnut cakes with mascarpone cream can help ease the pain of any broken or damaged heart (at least by a little). I am a new fan of your beautiful work.

Seanna Lea said...

The cakes look amazing. I just wish that you hadn't felt the desire to make them due to sadness.

Rosemary & Garlic said...

My husband once noted that I cook whenever there is misery. It is soothing. I hope that you find comfort.

The Sketched Chef said...

This is beautifully written.

Camila Barbeito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chiy said...

hi,I am a Taiwanese, really love your words about the "comfort food",and so blue do I now.watching your article makes me feel warm,thank you!
(sorry i have poor English,hope you know how deep i appreciate you!)

kolay yemek tarifleri said...

Thanks for sharing this lovely cake.

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