I dropped a fork today while emptying the dishwasher silverware basket.
According to kitchen lore dropping a fork means company's coming - specifically a woman. Dropping a knife means a man will visit. Dropping a spoon, a child.
This weekend I will be traveling to upstate New York for my biannual "Women's Wine Weekend. Notice there is no H in wine"
So maybe company's not coming to my home - but I will be in awesome women's company this weekend at Windswept Farms in Hector, NY.
To celebrate, I've been baking and cooking and planning a few menu items to take along.
You know how I love to use seasonal, local ingredients in my kitchen concoctions.
Here is my favorite Apple Cake. This cake is for my family, the next one I'll bake Thursday night and carry it with me for "company" this weekend.
This cake is dense, moist and full of fall flavor - like cinnamon, nutmeg and apples. Perfect for a chilly autumn day.
Autumn Apple Cake - serves 12
1 1/2 pounds local apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices – about 4 to 5 medium sized.
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (better: a few good grinds of fresh nutmeg)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Putting it all together:
Grease and lightly flour a Bundt pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the apples with the lemon juice, then toss in the sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Set aside while you make the batter.
Lightly whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, melted butter, sugar, vanilla and water and whisk until smooth. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir just until combined. Pour 1/4 of the batter into the pan, and then arrange a 1/3 of the apples around the top of the batter. Repeat 2 more times: apples, batter, apples, batter. Top off with the last of the batter and smooth.
Place the Bundt pan on a rimmed cookie sheet (just in case of leakage) Bake about 1 hour 15 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out dry.
A Cook's Notes: I serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream dusted with cinnamon and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Good enough for company and easy enough for everyday.
If you are really feeling decadent and want to treat yourself, use the leftovers for French toast. Just slice thickly, dip in beaten egg and fry for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with warm Maple syrup.