BY MEERA LESTER
Autumn apple picking makes for a fun family outing. Whether my twin granddaughters and I grab a pail and head to the backyard tree or to a local orchard that provides the baskets and permits families to come and pick apples together, we look forward to this autumnal ritual.
After loading baskets of red fruit so luscious that Eve could tempt Adam all over again, we make sure we pick enough apples to make everyone’s favorite treats such as fritters, tarts, cobblers, and crumbles. And, with enough bounty, we can also preserve some of the fruit as applesauce and apple butter. We tuck these items into holiday baskets along with jars of honey, summer jams, tins of homemade granola with dried apples, and cards with handwritten apple-based recipes.
Back at the Henny Penny Farmette, we whip up our family’s favorite Honey Walnut Apple Cake as a reward for our apple-picking efforts. Making this cake is so easy that I welcome the company of my grandkids and even their friends in my kitchen to help create this delicious, wholesome treat.
Honey Walnut Apple Cake
- 4 cups of apples (peeled, cored, and finely chopped). McIntosh are one of the best apples for baking since they are both sweet and tart and also crisp, so don’t get mealy or mushy when baked.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar (packed)
- 2/3 cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or substitute 1 cup hazelnut pastry flour for one cup of white)
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- Powdered sugar (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine in a large bowl the chopped apples, sugar, butter, honey, and walnuts.
- Add to the mixture, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla.
- Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, soda, allspice, cardamom, and salt.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
- Spread the batter in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Insert a toothpick into the center to check for doneness.
- Cool for 20 minutes and then sift powdered sugar over the cake (for a festive look, place an paper apple cutout or pretty paper doily on the cake before sifting the powdered sugar).
- Serves 12 to 16
Five reasons apples are super foods
- Apples make great snacks because they contain only 50 to 80 calories and are high in fiber.
- Nutrient dense apples are rich in vitamin C (which boosts the immune system), vitamin A, and flavonoids, with small amounts of calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
- The potassium in apples may promote heart health by lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Eating five or more apples each week has been linked to better lung function and may sharpen memory (likely because apple skins contain quercetin, an antioxidant).
- Apple pectin helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion.
*For apples that are not certified organic, always peel or thoroughly wash apples before eating to remove any pesticide residue.
Meera Lester has authored more than twenty nonfiction books, including 365 Ways to Look and Feel Younger. Her just published mystery novel, A Beeline to Murder, is loosely based on her experience as a farmette owner in the San Francisco Bay Area. She blogs regularly about life on her Henny Penny Farmette and has four grandchildren she adores.