The best laid plans of mice and men...

...often go astray.  That's the saying, right? 

I was kind of done with apples.  I was so over them.  Really.  Well, at least for a month or two.  Yeah, I know, I live in Upstate NY - apple country.  Apple orchards and cider presses can be stumbled over everywhere you turn.  During the months of September and October, evidence of the bumper crop can be seen in every store and road side stand.  Frankly, I think Newton must have been travelling through Fulton County when that darned apple fell on his head and he came up with all those brilliant theories.  (Hey, history is in the eye of the author, right?)  I love apples, but by this time of the year, I feel like they are oozing out of my pores and I swear off them for a while.  Or so I thought...

In one of my insane moments, I signed up for a challenge.  A challenge that I was looking forward to.  Something to push me a little further along my culinary journey.  A trip through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.  I joined in the fun a little late, but guess what the first recipe was?  I think you have a hint by now...  It was apple cake - Marie Helene's Apple Cake to be more precise. 

At first, when I read the title of the recipe, I was a little bummed out.  Apples...  But I started reading the narrative.  And it slowly lured me in - I stuck my toe in the water.  I read through the ingredient list to get a sense of the proportions.  And I was intrigued enough to wade in up to my knees.  By the point where it was time to dive in, I found I was actually looking forward to it. 

I scoured the store for four large apples, making sure to switch up the varieties (dumb me, I had been at the farm picking pumpkins just a couple of hours earlier - do you think I could have planned it well enough to get something from there?  No, that would have made too much sense...).  I hadn't quite built up enough resolve for the peeling of the apples (my poor dried out fingers are still recovering from two months of apple-ness), but I perservered since it was for the "greater good". 

I left the chunks nice and large - it felt a little rustic.  (All down homey or cabin in the woodsy or something like that). 

The recipe called for a 8" spring form pan.  I must confess, I don't own one (I think I even surprised myself when I came to that realization since so many other oddball items seem to be in my pantry).  I have a 10" springform - which seemed too large.  So, I winged it.  Used a regular 8" cake pan - I lined it with parchment, greased it well and kept my fingers crossed.  With some gentle nudging (and creative rearranging), everything fit into noted pan. 

Into the oven.  Oh, I do have another confession to make.  I kind of dabbled.  I couldn't help myself.  I snuck a table of cinnamon into the batter.  My good conscience was sitting on one shoulder telling me "follow the recipe, try it.  You might like it just as it is."  My bad conscience (who, has become something of a bully in the kitchen) sitting on my other shoulder said "come on, you know you can't make a sweet apple dessert without a hint of cinnamon."  Obviously, the bad conscience won - brute force, I tell you, brute force. 

After a spell, kitchen was permeated with the comforting aroma of baking apples (and cinnamon - sorry).  When it was time for the cake to come out of the oven, the moment of truth was close at hand.  Would it survive the flip out of the standard cake pan?  Would my favorite USA Pans let me down? 

Well, duh.  Of course not!  That's why they are the best pans ever...

Now, for the verdict.  Cake came out of the oven late Tuesday evening.  I came home Thursday night - it had mysteriously vanished.  All but a few crumbs.  I am guessing the culprit were the same house gnomes that leave my sink full of dishes while I am at work.  Just saying...

On the construction side - this came together really quickly.  An easy weeknight treat with a unique twist.  I bet my dad would have to have another piece to make sure it is okay...  (quality control an all that)  Some caramel sauce would send it over the edge. 

This post is participating in French Friday's with Dorie.


  1. It was sooo good and your idea of the caramel sauce is brilliant!

  2. Very nice post and I enjoyed your photos! And also enjoy your humor!

  3. @Monica & @Kris's kitchen.

    Thank you. With such a good recipe, how could one go wrong, eh?

  4. Fun post! I was wondering if I could have used one of my good baking pans in stead of going out to buy one more thing!
    Trevor Sis Boom.

  5. Oh man Im with you and the caramel sauce too! Your cake looks so good. I think I have the same gnomes at my house!:)

  6. Love your post and your writing style! Your cake looks delicious!

  7. @ Sis. Boom. Based on my experience if you have a really good non-stick pan, almost anything is possible! If you haven't seen them, check out USA Pans (they sell them on the King Arthur site). They have a silicone coating and are amazing.

    @ Flourchild. I have been battling those gnomes for years.

  8. I wasn't entirely sure about this cake either, but I was really glad I made it in the end. Yours looks delicious, even with the cinnamon!

  9. AGree...caramel sauce would push into the amazing and fantastic catergory.

  10. Glad you decided you could handle one more apple recipe this season. Lovely post.

  11. You do make a post interesting. Glad, your gremlins liked the cake. I have gremlins too who eat anything, I turn my back on.


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