Spicy Apple Cake
As a student, I would save my pocket money to buy baking & cook books. But in the 80's and early 90's, the book stalls in small towns didn't keep cooks books, no one asked for them. Most cook books were foreign published and they were just that foreign. Fortunately, I was studying in Darjeeling and the small town had wonderful book stalls. The Oxford Book Stall stood proud and dignified bang in the middle of the Mall. Mall didn't imply the monstrous buildings we call today. It was the center of the town, flaked by a park and overlooking the Himalayas on one side and huge paved center where people walked about and no vehicles were allowed. A few stores and a couple of restaurants functioned on the side of the small and these were the premium places, Oxford Book store had a place of pride and I would of course be lurking in the culinary book section. They had a good selection and I would touch them and feel them and then save money to buy a couple. Most were out of my reach for my modest pocket money.
I picked a cake baking recipe book called the 'Great Bakes' by Woman's Day, it was Australian publication and has beautiful pictures accompanying the recipes. I treasured this book and some of the recipes turned out exceptional. I would read and re-read, substitute ingredients that weren't available here and go scrounging of others . My first decorated cakes for my children's birthday were from this book. On my first trip abroad, I picked up a kitchen weighing scale and other baking equipments! No, I didn't pick make-up but I did lug back kitchen gadgets and I was only 22 years old!!!
The book is ear marked, strain with batter, and looks well and thoroughly used. I no longer use it often now, but yesterday when my little one wanted to bake a cake, I pulled out this book. I suddenly remembered an apple cake, that I would bake and which would be appreciated by all, while expecting my first born. This was and still is one of my favourite cakes. And since we still had some apples that came from Uttarakhand, what better reason than to pull out an old favorite and reintroduce this retro cake.
Apples and spices compliment each other so well and the best part about this cake is, the apples are thinly sliced and added to the batter, so when the cake is done, you bite into these soft bits and has a wonderful texture. Visually it is a delight to see these slices in the cake crumb. It is definitely a warming and a charming cake with a cup of coffee.