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Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
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Becky's Food Tales - A Taste of Changing Seasons

By Becky Hoff

Fri, Sep 13th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Leeks and carrots arrived in the CSA box today. These lovely vegetables were accompanied by equally lovely warm weather chili peppers and tomatoes, but leeks and carrots are... fall vegetables. Fall vegetables? Is it really that time of year already? Wanting to double check before sounding the alarm, I stepped outside to inspect my grape arbor. Sure enough, the grapes are starting to turn purple. It appears as though fall is on its way!

Once you start looking around, it really is hard to deny that the seasons are changing. Children everywhere are suffering through the first humid weeks of school, hostas are starting to look shabby, and the first few leaves have already fallen off of some traitorous trees. Though it is 84 degrees and humid as I write this, I know that cool nights, sweatshirts and end of the year garden chores are in the near future.

Happily, fall does have a lot to offer- I am looking forward to scenic drives filled with autumn color, eating locally grown apples, and warming the kitchen with baked treats on chilly fall mornings. Before you know it pumpkins and mums will be making colorful front porch displays, and a carpet of leaves will grace every yard. But the most obvious sign of fall will be the ribbons of toilet paper decorating the trees of certain yards throughout our communities- nothing says fall *quite* like homecoming ‘decorations’!

Yes, our summer pasta salads will soon give way to hearty stews, casseroles, and my favorite- baked acorn squash! Though I hate the idea of giving up the summer season, (Summer, I hardly knew you!) I will embrace the new season and hope that it hangs on for a good long while.

To get into the spirit of the autumn season, I am sharing a recipe for an applesauce spice cake. The warm flavor of cardamom really makes this cake, so don’t be afraid to use the full amount! I adapted this recipe from PBS Everyday Baking. The only thing I have changed in this recipe is the amount of sugar- I cut it from two cups to one cup and have found that no one misses that extra cup of sugar! For an extra flavor boost, you could try making this recipe with apple butter instead of applesauce.

This cake looks very pretty dusted with powdered sugar. It’s easy to do- no special tools are required! Just spoon a small amount of powdered sugar into a fine mesh strainer, and gently tap it while holding it over your cake.

Applesauce Spice Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 & 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature.

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs

2 cups applesauce

Nonstick cooking spray

Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (including spices) and set aside.

In another large bowl, with electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beat until just combined. Beat in applesauce.

Generously coat a nonstick 9-inch tube pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into pan; smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean but slightly wet. (50-60 minutes.)

Cool in pan on a wire rack for ten minutes. (Now here comes the tricky part!) Turn cake out of pan onto a baking sheet; then invert cake back onto rack, top side up. This will keep the cake from developing a soggy bottom.

Cool the cake completely, transfer to a plate, and dust with powdered sugar shortly before serving.

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