Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Long Time Favorite Cake is Back

First off, I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely Valentine's Day. It doesn't matter if you sat at home with someone you love doing nothing at all spectacular, or whether you went out and splurged big time, or if you chose to catch up on some "me" time. The idea is that you enjoyed the day, however it was celebrated. 

My husband and I were invited out to dinner at the local Moccasin Creek Country Club by two people fast becoming very good friends. Since my husband and I generally stay at home rather than try and fight crowds, and I cook something really special for dinner, it has been about 26 years since we last braved a night out on Valentine's Day. That made yesterday's evening a true delight. As much as I love to cook, it is a tremendous joy for the cook to have a night out! I thank Ty and Ann Hanson with all my heart for having us as guests.

A night off was not in the cards for the cook at the country club, Jake Collins. He was on duty manning the kitchen, and produced a most excellent menu for a large crowd. Considering the tremendous amount of dishes that needed to be served at the same time, he made miracles happen. We know Jake from the past four years of Winefest Renaissance, benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Aberdeen. This year marks the fifth annual Winefest Renaissance (which appears to be called "Renaissance Festival," this year), to be held on April 8th.

Fresh Apple Pecan Date Cake
Fresh Apple Pecan Date Cake
So, on to the cake. This cake recipe is one that I have been making for about 33 years or so. Originally I cut the recipe out of the "Orlando Sentinal" newspaper's Thursday food edition. It called for using cooking oil in the batter, and raisins. I prefer to use melted butter, for the flavor, and do not care much for cooked raisins, so I switched the raisins out for chopped dates. It was the most amazing cake, outside of a Carrot Cake, for lovely flavors and moistness beyond compare. My version of this cake is called Fresh Apple Pecan Date Cake. The recipe I have used for carrot cake is also, coincidentally, from an Orlando Sentinel newspaper clipping and from around the same general time. I will have to post it!

Fresh Apple Pecan Date Mini Cupcake
Fresh Apple Pecan Date Mini Cupcake
Interestingly, in all the years I have been making both these cakes, I had never gotten any good photos of them, so last year I made it a point to make the cakes and take photos. Last year, however, was one crazy thing after another, between cataract surgeries for both my husband and me, and then various medical procedures and crises for my husband. It kept us on our toes. I didn't get to write many blogs. I do have a bit of a backlog of recipes to eventually get into this blog. 

I have also made this Fresh Apple Pecan Date Cake recipe to use as mini cupcakes with great success, as seen in this photo left. Tiny little two-or-three-bite mini cakes are cute as can be and delicious when set out on an appetizer type party spread.

Fresh Apple Pecan Date Cake
Fresh Apple Pecan Date Cake

Fresh Apple Pecan Date Cake

Serves 12 to 16

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
4 cups fresh apples, peeled, grated
2 cups pecans, chopped
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup butter, melted (or use melted coconut oil or cooking oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir in apples, pecans, and dates. Add eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 3 minutes.

Pour mixture into two greased 8 or 9-inch pans, a greased bundt pan or greased muffin pans or papers. If making in an 8-inch round pan, I spray the pan with cooking spray, then trace around the pan onto parchment paper, cut out the parchment rounds and set them into the pans and re-spray the parchment with cooking spray. This ensures that the cake definitely WILL NOT stick to the bottom!

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 50 - 60 minutes for a bundt pan. For 8-inch cake pans, check at about 35 - 40 minutes and every 5 minutes thereafter, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then invert onto cake plate. For cupcakes, check after 15 to 20 minutes. For mini cupcakes check after 12 minutes.

Ice with Cream Cheese Icing, or sprinkle with powdered sugar and decorate with extra pecans.

 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest  at AHOFpin. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies. 
 

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