Apple Cake for Valentine's Day Children's Party
My five year old is having a Valentine's Day party in her Kindergarten class today. Her teacher is very strict about the food that is served at her parties. She absolutely won't serve anything with chocolate - I've seen dismayed parents sent away with trays of homemade mini-brownies and chocolate chip cookies, rejected and untouched.
The Valentine's Day party stipulations were very clear - only healthy foods will be served - no candy!
I decided to go with apples and made two different recipes - Fresh Apple Cake from Joie Warner's Apple Desserts and Old English Cheese and Apple Loaf, a quick bread recipe from DK's Ulitimate Bread by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno. I'd made the Fresh Apple Cake before with great success--its a moist cake with a strong vanilla flavour, full of roughly chopped apples, sweet and rich, made with 1/2 cup butter and 3 eggs. It tastes like a cake my grandmother would have made. I skipped the chopped pecans which are sprinkled directly onto the buttered pan in this recipe.I used lemon zest this time instead of the lime zest called for in the recipe - the lime was better.
The cheese and apple loaf had immediate appeal to me because I love that particular combination of foods. The loaf was described as "moist and flavorful" with a "crunchy cheese crust". But the ratio of ingredients made me nervous. 3 1/2 cups of flour to 4 tablespoons of butter? I checked the recipe again. Well, there were 2 eggs, 4 oz of cheese and 4 grated apples. But I knew I was in trouble when the recipe called for me to "spoon the batter into the prepared pan". In my hand was a perfectly formed round dough, like a dry pastry dough. I flashed back to my first attempt at bread baking - the dough really didn't rise as described but I baked it anyway. The result - a brick. But, apparently none the wiser now, I went ahead and fitted my dough into the loaf pan and into the oven it went. After 1 1/2 hours of baking, the result was not as bad as I imagined.
It certainly had a crunchy cheese crust and, while dry, was not crumbling or inedible. Alas, you'd never guess there were apples in the recipe. There was a slight bitterness, but it was fine toasted with butter.
So I have yet to find a great quick bread, muffin or cake recipe that tastes of apples and cheese. If you have a good one, let me know.
Happily the fresh apple cake was a big hit with the kids...and the teacher.