Christmas is coming and most of us are looking forward to it, anticipating time filled with fun, joy and delicious food. But the preparations preceding the festivities could be stressful and frustrating. We get anxious feeling pressured to decorate the house, find appropriate gifts for family and friends, cook sophisticated food for the Christmas feast.
It could be really cool if we took it easy during this season not overdoing it with gifts and food, but instead focusing on fun, joy and togetherness. In December, in big cities and small towns, events calendar is filled to the brim. Don’t miss out on the best holiday activities spending too much time shopping in crowded, noisy stores. Take advantage of the free concerts, go to a play or see an interesting movie.
This year, my goal is to fill this festive time with friends, family and fun and when I decide to stay at home, I will do what relaxes me most- bake a delicious cake. Baking makes my creative juices going, keeps me in the present moment, focused on the uncomplicated tasks at hand. This apple-cranberry cake is my favorite for the fall/winter season. I want to share it with you hoping that you will enjoy making it, eating and sharing it with others.
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup almond meal
- 4 eggs
- 2 sticks of butter, preferably European brand, cut in small pieces and softened
- 3/4 cup organic sugar
- 3 organic apples (Golden Delicious, Gala), peeled and cored
- 3 cups fresh organic cranberries
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 packet Alsa baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
Note: I used one pink pack of Alsa baking powder, known in France as levure chimique or levure alsacienne. Unlike most American brands, Alsa is single-acting, which 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 4 flat tsp regular baking powder instead.
Line the spring form pan with parchment paper and lightly butter it. In a medium bowl, with an electric beater beat 4 eggs with sugar for about 4-5 minutes, until thick and fluffy. Add vanilla and stir well until fully incorporated.
In a small bowl mix both flours, salt, Alsa baking powder and regular baking powder. Add half of the flour mixture to the beaten eggs stirring it with a whisk, until it’s smooth and uniform. With a spoon, add half of the softened butter cut into small pieces and stir well again. Add the remaining flour and butter to the dough. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
In a medium bowl toss fresh cranberries with 1 tbsp oat flour to prevent them from falling to the bottom of the cake. Add the cranberries to the dough and stir until well incorporated. Set the dough aside.
Turn the oven to 375 F.
Peel the apples. Cut the apples in a half and core them with a knife or an apple corer. Cut the cored apples into quarters and slice each quarter into 1/8 inch slices.
Working in a circular pattern arrange the apple slices on the bottom of the pan.
Save a quarter of one apple and cut it up in small pieces. Mix the apple pieces into the dough to make the cake moist and flavorful. Pour the dough into the pan and smooth it out with a spatula.
Put the cake into the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 375 F then reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for another 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let it cool for up to 3 minutes.
Loosen the sides with a knife and remove the sides of the pan. Lay a flat plate over the top of the cake. Carefully flip the cake and very delicately peel off the parchment circle. If you let the cake sit for too long without flipping it, the apples will become overcooked and soggy.