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This post is in partnership with KitchenAid and Le Creuset. Both companies have agreed to partner with the blog as I document my baking adventures. This particular recipe was modified from the book Tartine No.3. Instead of the Kefir, I substituted Bulgarian yogurt. I learned how to bake bread with Tartine and own two Tartine books. This third edition goes through the nuances of different flours and I would highly recommend to those who have the basics of bread baking down but are looking to discover a little more.
It’s Monday, the first week where I resume normal schedule at one of my dental offices. Back to four days a week, 9.5 to 6. When I heard the news last Tuesday, I have to be honest, I was a bit saddened. I really enjoyed the quarantine and found that it helped me to slow down my pace, We got to experience “retirement life” and I am now jealous of Mike’s ability to continue on in this way while I go back to work.
It isn’t that I dislike work. And I’m not ungrateful for the opportunity. I am quite conscious of the people without work, who have been struggling to get by these past few months, so I know how lucky I am. It’s just, I was enjoying the leeway that life gave me, which I never give myself. For once I was forced to have no obligations or responsibilities.
I spent the latter half of last week lamenting my loss, coupled with jamming my few moments of free time with “activities”. Which goes to show my need for a forced pause. The activities were “slow” – but still, the moments were teeming with shenanigans, to say the least.
These included cooking, baking, seeing loved ones and old friends, running and hiking every morning, being out in nature, practicing yoga, reading books, meeting for a book club, a Zoom coffee date, writing a ton, playing board games and watching movies. My anxiety-driven state pushed me to do more with my time, cherishing every moment, squeezing out more than usual with what I had left, as if a drowning woman gasping for air – a contrasting dichotomy that displays exactly who I am and how I want to live.
I know I shouldn’t think of this time as an “end” to something good, but in a way, it is. It was a period of self-reflection and self-discovery even beyond what I had already achieved. It coincided with the close of the bakery and for the first time in a year, I was baking for myself. It was afternoons of tea cakes and mornings of matcha lattes, coffee lip drips and lounging about couches. It was a time for rediscovery of fiction and podcasts, as well as re-connection with friends and family.
In celebration of all said things for the month of April, I baked a cake. A life flushed with metaphors, I wanted to have a celebratory marker rather than a funeral. This is my ode to April.
Apple Walnut Tea Cake
- 1 cup apple grated
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup leaven
- 1/2 cup Bulgarian yogurt
- 1.5 cups Spelt flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp clove
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grate apples until you have 1 cup. I found that an average apple is about 3/4 cup.
- Place the grated apple, egg, leaven and yogurt in a KitchenAid stand mixer and mix on medium speed with a whisk attachment until well-incorporated. If your leaven is thick, you may need to stop the mixer half-way and scrape the sides with a spatula.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar and spices (all the way until the salt) and mix together.
- Add the olive oil to the dry ingredients and use two knives to cut the oil into the flour mixture until well-incorporated.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixer, along with the walnuts and mix on medium speed until well mixed.
- Take a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and spray the inside with baking spray. I like to line the bottom with parchment paper for easy removal.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through for even baking.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the loaf pan for 30 minutes.
- Invert onto a baking rack, and let cool completely to room temperature.
- Slice and enjoy.
This loaf is on the drier side due to the walnuts (quite the contrast to the Lemon Poppyseed Loaf). It also is a bit earthier in flavor, more robust thanks to the spices, and hardly sweet at all. The apple is a very light flavor, so if you’d like a more moist, apple-like cake, you may add grated apple until you reach your preferred consistency, perhaps another fourth of a cup. For me, the dryness and walnuts add a coarse texture to the loaf, which I absolutely love. It pairs really well with a matcha latte.
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