When I read Shirley’s (Gluten-Free Easily) theme for July’s Go Ahead Honey, it’s Gluten Free – Camp Food – I was thrilled. I don’t camp much anymore, but we went camping all of the time when I was growing up. Quickly, I went back through all the foods I loved from those weekends outdoors and what stuck out in my mind the most was apple cake. (July’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free will be published at Gluten-Free Easily at the end of this month. Make sure to check it out!)
My mom still cooked like we were at home when we camped. She had a green propane Coleman stove and made eggs, bacon, hamburgers, baked apples, baked beans, steamed veggies…you’d think that planning, purchasing, and keeping all of that food cold would make one take a big short-cut. Maybe feed the kids Pop Tarts or donuts. Or even throw in a few Lunchables. Not Sheila. Not a chance.
My all-time favorite camp food was apple cake. She’d either make it ahead of time or, if we were camping near my Granny’s house, she’d bake it there. I’d help her chop the apples and mix the ingredients, making sure to stick my finger in the batter when she wasn’t looking.
I called my mom and asked if she remembered the cake, hoping she’d have a recipe I could work with. “No, not particularly,” she replied. For a second, I wondered how she could forget. Then, in my heart I knew the answer – it was never about her cake. It was always about taking care of her family. I think that’s one of the reasons I am an avid reader of Amy’s The Finer Things In Life – she loves her family the way my mom loves us.
I’m much more like my mom than I readily admit. We both love people by doing things for them. I realized that this week when my husband called to tell me that he has a business trip coming up, that he loves me, and then said he was going to miss me so much. “Can I get anything ready for you?”I asked. I could hear his smile through on the other end of the phone, knowing that that’s one way I love him right back.
My slightly sweet apple cake is really lots of fresh apples thinly sliced and held together by just enough batter, which makes it really moist. It’s sweetened with apple juice concentrate and raisin buttermilk. (see note below) It’s a variation of an apple cake from Cooking Light by Martha Rose Shulman. I love her approach to food – fresh, flavorful, and healthy. This is my kind of dessert.
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(update 9/18 : submitted to The Friday Foodie Fix at The WHOLE Gang)
Serves: Serves 10
- 2 ¾ pounds Gala apples
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ cup All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- 3 tablespoons quinoa flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup butter, at room temperature
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ cup raisin-sweetened buttermilk (see note)
- ⅓ cup apple juice concentrate, unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Grease a 10 inch springform pan.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the lemon juice into the water. Peel and thinly slice the apples, placing them into the water when finished. This keeps them from turning brown.
- Combine gluten-free flour blend, quinoa flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and continue to beat. The butter will be a little clumpy. Add buttermilk, apple juice concentrate, vanilla, lemon zest, and orange zest and mix well.
- Drain apples, shaking off extra water. Place back into the large bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until combined. Pour batter over apples and toss, coating apples thoroughly. Turn the apples into the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to scrape all of the batter out then smooth out the top so the apple slices are laying flat.
- Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until batter is set and apples are soft but not mushy.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then run a spatula between the cake and the edge of the pan and release.
- To make raisin sweetened buttermilk, chop ⅛ cup of raisins. Soak in ½ cup buttermilk for 24 hours. Strain the buttermilk before using. Use the raisins in any bread or muffin recipe.