This year, at least in Chicago,r winter surprised us sooner than expected with temperatures way below the November averages and snow blanketing the ground. When the weather gets nasty like this, we gladly stay inside and enjoy the warmth of our homes. In the fall and winter, the kitchen is the most popular room in my house. We gather there to prepare foods that keep us cheerful throughout this cold and dark season. For me, desserts are the food that boosts my mood the most during those short and chilly days. The sweets that I make are not high in refined sugar and unhealthy fats – I create them using only healthy ingredients
The apple-cranberry log is the quintessence of an autumn dessert. Both apples and cranberries, available in each grocery store, are affordable and rich in nutrients. Apples are a good source of antioxidants, potassium, Vitamin C and dietary fiber and cranberries are a phytonutrient powerhouse. The antioxidants in apples and cranberries may help reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. The organic oat flour that I used is one of “the good carbs”. It protects against heart disease, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol. It’s also a good source of fiber and iron and unlike the regular wheat flour is gluten and wheat free.
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup oat flour plus one tablespoon
- 1/3 cup almond meal
- 1/2 alsa (levure alsacienne)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a medium bowl using an electric mixer beat 3 whole eggs with sugar until light and fluffy, for about 4 minutes. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and alsa powder into the mixture.
Gently combine all ingredients in the bowl. Add sunflower oil and vanilla extract and stir into the dough. It needs to be quite dense or the cake, when ready, will be too crumbly and its slices may be falling apart. Set the dough aside and prepare the apples and cranberries.
Cut peeled and cored apples into small pieces.
Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour over the washed and dried cranberries to prevent them from falling to the bottom of the cake.
For baking, I used a 9 in x 5 in rectangular form, but, of course, any shape will be fine on condition that the form is not large.
Place one layer of the dough into the oiled or buttered form and evenly distribute the apples and cranberries on top. Follow with the second layer and place the remaining chunks of apples and cranberries on top and spread the final layer over the fruit. Generously sprinkle the cake with toasted, sliced almonds.
Bake in 375F for about 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350 and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes until golden.
Let it cool for about half an hour. Slice up and enjoy either by itself or, if you like, with a dollop of a whipped cream.
Note: I used a half of the pink pack of Alsa baking powder, known in France as levure chimique or levure alsacienne. Unlike most American brands, Alsa is single-acting. That means it creates the gas needed for leavening as soon as it is mixed with liquid ingredients. If this ingredient is not available, you can use 2 flat tsp regular baking powder instead.