Cakes and Tea with Mary Poppins

Image

The end of Spring Break is near and Stella’s daughter Kendra is running out of ideas for things to do. Her older sister, Zoe has been away with a friend for the last few days and Kendra is a bit lonely for her. Stella has taken the afternoon off to enjoy a mother-daughter movie date with her youngest. 

The first thing Stella and Kendra do is bake a batch of Welsh Cakes. The size of a cookie, the texture of a scone, and the flavour of a delicate fruitcake, Welsh Cakes have long been a favourite of Stella’s family at this time of year. Kendra helps gather the ingredients and cut in the butter with the flour mixture. Stella rolls out the dough and Kendra cuts it into circles with the old biscuit cutter. When the cakes are baked Stella rolls them in raw cane sugar for a delicate crunch. 

Kendra clears off the coffee table in the small cozy living room of the apartment. She finds the old VHS copy of Mary Poppins and puts it in the rewinder so it will be ready to go. Stella makes a note to purchase the new 50th Anniversary edition when it comes out. Stella puts a tea tray together and Kendra places a few Welsh Cakes on a plate. Mother and daughter make themselves comfortable on the loveseat and Stella pours the tea. Kendra starts the movie. 

Stella and Kendra sit back, tea cups in hand to enjoy the afternoon. The rain may fall in buckets outside but all is ‘chim chim cher-ee’ inside. ‘Mmmm’, says Stella. I always forget how good these Welsh Cakes are!”

And now you can make them, too.

Welsh Cakes

2 cups all purpose flour (not self-raising)  (500 ml)
1/2 cup granulated sugar  (125 ml)
2 teaspoons baking powder  (10 ml)
1/2 teaspoon salt  (2 ml)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (1 ml)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon  (1 ml)
1/2 cup butter  (125 ml)
1/2 cup currants  (125 ml) (Stella left them out because Kendra doesn’t like currants)
1/4 cup mixed candied citrus peel (or just the grated peel of a lemon or orange)  (50 ml)

1 egg
1/3 cup milk (75 ml)
1/4 teaspoon almond flavouring (optional)  (1 ml)

Using large bowl, put flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and stir together well.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Stir in currants and peel.

Beat egg with fork.  Add egg and milk and almond flavouring (if using) to dry ingredients.  Stir into dough as for pie crust.  Roll 1/4 inch (2/3 cm) thick on floured surface.  Cut into 3 inch (7 cm) rounds with biscuit cutter.  Fry in ungreased frying pan over medium heat, letting rise a little and browning both sides.  To test pan for heat, drops of water should sizzle but not bounce around on pan.  Makes 2 dozen or more if smaller rounds are cut.

If desired, roll in sugar while still hot for added crunch.

Enjoy, and happy baking!  

(They are also very good served with cheddar cheese and slices of apple on the side as a more filling snack.)

 

Cold Day, Hot Soup

IMG_8499 (640x427)

Stella’s Cafe is situated in a rainy, coastal town. They have seen little of the snow and freezing temperatures the rest of the country has been dealing with, but they are in the middle of an extensive period of rain. And more is forecasted for the coming weeks. Much more. During this raw and wet time of year, one of her best sellers is good hot soup. She offers two choices every day with at least one being vegan, or at least vegetarian. She wishes she had a dollar for every customer who comes into the cafe and announces, ‘I’m vegan,’ or ‘I’m gluten free. What do you have for me?’ and she wonders what the powers that be have done to the wheat, the meat and the dairy to turn all these people off of what, to her, have always been staples of life. She, herself, does not eat a great deal of meat, but she does enjoy a small quality cut of beef or a lovely roasted chicken. As for good bread, cheese, yogurt, or cream…it would be hard to imagine life without them! ‘Everything in moderation,’ is her motto, although she admits to not having allergies or food sensitivities to deal with, if one does not count a tendency to gain a few pounds over the Holidays a form of ‘food sensitivity.’ She is sure someone would. In any case, she is here to serve her wide range of customers and serve them the quality of food that she herself enjoys. This time of year, she enjoys a good bowl of soup for lunch, with some excellent sourdough bread from the bakery down the street. Recently, she discovered a wonderful new vegan recipe which she found delicious and hopes her customers will too!

Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dried Cherries and Cilantro adapted from marthastewart.com

Makes 9 cups, approximately

  • 4 teaspoons safflower or peanut oil
  • 6 Tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 4 Tablespoons finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 Large Shallots, finely minced
  • 4 carrots, finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or mild curry paste (if you like it spicy, double the amount of powder or use hotter paste)
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 6 Tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems, plus a handful of leaves for garnish

1. Heat oil in a 5 Litre pot over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, shallot, and carrots, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add curry powder or paste, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

IMG_8481 (427x640)

2. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 cup coconut milk, 4 cups water, and the lentils, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils and carrots are tender, 8-10 minutes. Pour 4 cups soup through a fine sieve into a bowl, reserving solids. Puree strained liquid with remaining soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Reheat after blending. Stir in reserved solids.

IMG_8493 (640x427)

3. Reserving some for garnish, stir cherries and cilantro stems into soup, and ladle into bowls. Swirl in remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk (with love, of course) and garnish with cherries and cilantro leaves.

IMG_8488 (427x640)

Enjoy!

Lebkucken, Second Attempt

Image

In preparation for the Holiday Season, Stella likes to come up with a few new offerings at her cafe. She gets a great deal of satisfaction out of customers coming in, looking at the baked goods in the glass front case and saying, “That looks really good, can I try one of those?” Stella has learned that in the cafe business the way baked goods look is almost as important as how they taste. 

Last year, Stella thought she might have a brand new kind of soft baked spice cookie for her customers, a kind rarely seen outside of Germany or European specialty shops: Lebkucken, which is baked onto a crispy wafer called Oblaten. After spending several hours poring over the internet, she had decided on a recipe from a German food site. The website claimed its particular recipe was close to the type of Lebkucken, a specialty that goes back to Medieval times, found in the Christmas markets of Nuremberg. She purchased the ingredients and spent an evening preparing a good-sized batch of the spicy iced cookies. She mixed up the dough and put the suggested three tablespoon mounds a few inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, because she had not found the Oblaten wafers the recipe asked for. The dough was the ugliest she’d ever seen. She likened it to something better left to the imagination, but it smelled good, so she kept up her faith in the process.

As the cookies had baked she already knew they needed more of the special spice mixture, and she feared they would be bland. Texture-wise, the cookies turned out textbook perfect, but they were still not very pretty. Next, she had turned her attention to the boiled icing flavoured with orange liqueur, following the directions to the letter. ‘Boil the sugar and water for a few minutes…” she muttered to herself as she stirred the mixture. What exactly was ‘a few minutes’? Three? Seven? Nine? She decided to err on the side of caution and boil it for three. The icing was meant to be brushed on the cookies when warm, and she knew a nice, glossy icing could rescue the Lebkuchen more than anything. Better make it thin. When the mixture looked right, she took it off the heat and sifted the required amount of confectioners sugar into it. Within seconds the icing was more like fudge than glaze. She spread it on the cookies as quickly as possible. The result? Quite possibly the lumpiest, homeliest cookies ever known. This would not do! Despite their unfortunate appearance, Stella and her girls had eaten the Lebkuchen with tea, proclaiming it, ‘Not bad.’ 

This year, Stella had better luck. She doubled the spice, found Oblaten wafers at a German import warehouse and had much better success with the glaze. The Lebkuchen still were not very pretty, but they had a tasty, unique combination of flavours and she and many of her customers enjoyed them very much. 

“I hope you are going to make these again!” said June, one of her vivacious elderly regulars who was always ready to try anything new, provided it was vegetarian. 

“Next year, they will be even better,” said Stella in response.

Lebkucken

Dough: 

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Lebkuchen spice (see below)
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa, preferably Dutch processed
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup candied lemon or citrus peel, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon rum or orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Glaze: (double the recipe if you like a slightly thicker glaze more like icing)

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange liqueur or rum
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Optional:

  • Oblaten wafers
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in rum and chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Lebkuchen spices: if you cannot find the premixed ‘Lebkucken Gewurz’ from a German store, mix your own with:

  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed

Method:

Cream butter, sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy.

Mix in flour, spices, cocoa powder and baking powder together and add to butter mixture, alternating with milk.

Fold in nuts and lemon peel. Stir in rum or liqueur. Stir in raisins and coconut if using them. Dough will be more like cake batter than cookie dough. Just make sure it isn’t too runny. If it is, add a little more flour, a Tablespoon at a time until it is your desired consistency.

If you are not using the Oblaten, which look like large communion wafers, draw 3 inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template.

Drop about 2-3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle. (If you are using the Oblaten drop the dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges.) When the tray is full, use the back of the spoon to fill out the circle, slightly mounding the dough towards the center.

Image

Bake at 375 degrees Farenheit for 15-20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 if cookies are browning too much. 

Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a cookie or cake rack to cool.

While they are still warm, make the glaze:

Place 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon liqueur or rum. Sift 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar over sugar syrup and whisk. Adjust ingredients until you have a spreadable, but not watery glaze. Brush on cookies.

Note: Stella altered the glaze ingredients from the original recipe. In another recipe she found the glaze was merely a cup of icing sugar and 2 Tablespoons of boiling water. It may take some experimenting to get the glaze, and the cookies, the way you like them.

Have fun and enjoy the results! If you have a Lebkuchen recipe you would like to share with Stella, please do. 

Red Russian Borscht ~or~ Cooking from the Heart

Today is a brilliant, but cold and windy day. It is a day for hats, gloves and scarves, for pink-cheeked, red-nosed people to come into Stella’s Cafe for warmth, good food and companionship. A large pot of Stella’s famous Red Russian Borscht is on the stove, simmering away and scented with fresh dill. Stella has loved borscht herself since her father used to take her to the Russian restaurant in her hometown. She remembers the brimming white bowls of hot red vegetarian soup served with a generous slice of homemade bread with lashings of real butter. She has worked on her borscht recipe over the years after begging for and receiving a rather vague written recipe from the Russian restaurant’s cook; just a few ingredients, no measurements. A real ‘cook from the heart’ recipe, ‘and you will get it right,’ she said.

The borscht is today’s special at Stella’s, written up on the black board in coloured chalk, the letters embellished with Savannah’s Russian inspired flourishes. ‘Served with locally baked whole wheat sourdough bread and small house salad.’  “Mmmmm…looks good! I’ll have the borscht,” says customer after customer. At precisely 1:30 pm the pot is empty and the cafe is full of satisfied, warm customers.

A good day!

Red Russian Borscht

  •  Peel 2 medium sized beets, boil and reserve beets and beet water (if desired). Let cool.

In large pot add:

  • 4 peeled potatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1 liter of pureed canned tomatoes
  • 2 liters of water
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper

Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft enough to mash – about 15 minutes

Meanwhile:

  •  Peel and grate 3-4 large carrots
  • finely dice 2 onions
  • finely dice 2 long stalks celery
  • finely dice 1 green pepper
  • finely chop 1/2 large cabbage

In a large wok or frying pan, fry in 1/2 lb of butter (there is no place for low-fat dishes in cold weather as far as Stella is concerned) in the following order:  onions, celery, green pepper, large cabbage, carrots, and let cook, covered until all the veggies are tender.

Take the potatoes out with a slotted spoon and mash them with a few large dollops of sour cream.

Grate the cooked beets.

Add the potatoes to the large pot and whisk until the mashed potatoes are incorporated.

Add the grated beets to the cooked veggies in the wok and mix together. Add the veggies to the soup pot and stir gently.

Add a few sprigs of fresh dill, or dried dill weed and more salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for a while before eating if you have the time, in order to let the flavours mingle. If you like your borscht extra pink, add a bit of the reserved beet water.

Enjoy, and freeze some for a rainy day.

Makes about 5 liters.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones ~or~ Letting Mommy Sleep

scones

 

As every cafe owner knows, the humble yet versatile standby, the scone, cannot be underrated when it comes to daily offerings. Stella makes several versions of this ever-popular baked treat: lemon, pumpkin-spice, blueberry, hazelnut whole wheat with maple glaze and even walnut fudge with a sweet chocolate glaze.  She loves variety because it keeps her from becoming bored and/or lazy with her own business. Variety keeps the customers coming, too. They truly enjoy coming in to the cafe and viewing the specials on the chalk board so beautifully decorated by Savannah, and checking out the baskets of baking on the counter and in the covered, refrigerated case to the right of the till to see what might be new and different.  Scones are not too sweet, not too rich and can be just filling enough for breakfast with coffee or tea, or perhaps a mid-morning snack to tide a person over until lunch.

Stella has just turned the closed sign to ‘open’ this Saturday morning, and soon after she does so Jeremy comes in with his two little ones, Olivia and baby Charlotte. Jeremy, unshaven and still a little sleepy, and dressed like he just took yesterday’s clothes off the floor and put them on his back takes the girls’ coats and hats off and puts them on a table. Olivia’s fine dark hair sticks straight up with the static and her pink cheeks match the point on her little snub nose. Charlotte has far less hair but her cheeks are also pink from the ride in the stroller against the October morning wind. Olivia asks to take off her shoes, but Jeremy says, “No love. Shoes on in the cafe.”

“Shoes on,” says Olivia to Charlotte. Charlotte smiles a two-tooth smile.

Jeremy brings the girls up to the counter and orders himself a large Americano. Olivia would like hot chocolate, please, and a cookie. “No, mommy wouldn’t like that,” muses Jeremy. “Not for breakfast.  Are those scones? What kind are they?” he asks Savannah. “That one’s blueberry and that one’s white chocolate cranberry. “That sounds amazing,” says Jeremy gratefully. “We’ll have one of each, please.”

“Two” says Olivia, holding up three fingers.

“Daddy-daughter date?” asks Savannah.

“We’re letting Paula sleep in. Charlotte’s been up a lot lately, teething.”

“Poor baby,” says Stella from behind Savannah. “And poor mommy.” She follows Jeremy and the girls to their table, carrying the scones and drinks. “I remember those days.”

Charlotte, smiling away, is put in a high chair. Jeremy produces a teething biscuit and gives it to her. She grasps it uncertainly in her little hands and begins to go to work on it.

Olivia takes a sip of not-too-hot hot chocolate from a straw and a bite of blueberry scone. “Mmm!” she enthuses.

Jeremy gratefully takes a large swig of coffee and bites into the white chocolate cranberry scone.  “So good, Stella, as always.”

“Well, I’m happy to oblige you and your sweeties here,” says Stella. “Where to after this, Olivia?”

“Libary!”

“Libary it is,” says Jeremy. “After we kill some time at the park. The library doesn’t open for another hour.”

“Park!” says Olivia.

“When we’re finished our breakfast, okay?”

“Okay, Daddy. Affer bekfist.”

Charlotte keeps at her biscuit, gumming it to smithereens.

scones 2

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones – adapted from Canadian Living Magazine

  • 1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons each baking soda and salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or half yogurt, half milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3 oz white chocolate, chopped

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or dust with flour: set aside

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C.)

In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In small bowl, whisk buttermilk with egg; add to flour mixture. Sprinkle with cranberries and chopped white chocolate; stir with fork to make soft dough.

With lightly floured hands, press dough into ball. On floured surface, knead dough gently 10 times. Pat out to 10 x 7 inch (25 x 18 cm) rectangle; trim edges to straighten if necessary. (Stella never does.)

Cut rectangle into 6 squares; cut each diagonally in half. Place on prepared pan. Bake in centre of oven until golden, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool. Drizzle with 2 oz melted white chocolate if desired, and let stand about an hour until set.

Enjoy!

New York Style Cheesecake ~ or ~ Sweet Rewards

1

‘Tis the season for comfort food. Today’s special: New York style cheesecake with strawberry topping. Smooth, creamy and delectably delicious. $4.50 per generous slice,‘ reads the chalkboard in Stella’s cafe today.

Stella herself has a weakness for cheesecake. She likes to make a meal out of a large green salad and a slice of cake with any type of fruit topping. Her not-too-sweet recipe contains the juice and rind of one lemon, which makes it extra lovely. She has tried other varieties of cheesecake: key lime, chocolate, white chocolate raspberry, pumpkin, etc., but when all is said and done she prefers the simple and genuine creaminess of the recipe she discovered years ago in Molly Katzen’s original Moosewood Cookbook. ‘Montana’s Mom’s Dynamite Cheesecake’ is one of many tried, tested and true recipes in her collection.

Today, a walking club is coming into the cafe to indulge in some cheesecake and coffee after their long morning power walk.  They phoned two days ahead and made arrangements, so Stella decided to make a couple of extra cheesecakes and call it a special.

“Here they come,” calls Kevin from the espresso machine, which is making all kinds of steamy and satisfying noises as he conjures up a vanilla latte for a customer.

Into the cafe enter nine windblown and rosy cheeked people, all in their autumn years of life. With a great deal of bustle, noise and laughing they push chairs and tables together. After a few minutes, the walking club’s representative comes up to the counter to inquire about the cake and coffee, handing Kevin a neatly printed list of drink orders, and asks for just one bill. “I like this walking club,” says Kevin to himself, as he begins grinding some espresso beans for the first order on the list.

Stella and Savannah serve the slices of cheesecake topped with jewel-red strawberry sauce. “Mmmmmm” says more than one member of the club. “We’ve earned this.”

Another customer who has been writing at a table near the bay window for much of the morning and mussing the front of his hair with his non-writing hand, eyes the cake and orders a slice, too. “I’ll earn mine later,” he says with a grin.

***

Montana’s Mom’s Dynamite Cheesecake – the Moosewood Cookbook

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit

Crust: Mush up with fingers and press firmly into bottom of spring-form pan (9-10 inches);

  • crumbs from 16 graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. flour

Or:  Combine 1/4 cup melted butter and 1 & 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs and press into bottom of pan, which is what Stella does

Filling: blend until smooth and creamy (Stella uses a food processor for this, or a stand mixer. just make sure you do not overmix it or blend on too high a speed. You don’t want to add too much air to the dense and creamy cake.):

  • 16 oz of firm, block style cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon: juice and grated rind

Pour on top of crust and bake for 25 minutes – or until set

Cool

Topping: blend in a bowl:

  • 1 pint (500 mls) sour cream (full fat)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour on top of cooled filling and bake at 375 degrees Farenheit for 5-8 minutes.

A must:  Cheesecake must set in refrigerator for at least 12 hours before it will be firm enough to slice well. If you get impatient and cut before it is completely set, the top will be runny.

Stella’s Strawberry sauce

makes about four cups

  • six cups strawberries – frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsps cornstarch mixed with a little cold water

Thaw frozen strawberries. You can put frozen ones straight into the saucepan, but the sauce will take longer to make.

Place thawed or fresh strawberries in a saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice, and combine. Cook over low – medium heat with the lid on, but watch very carefully. The strawberries will begin to turn into sauce with a few whole berries still intact. When the sauce begins to bubble, keep stirring while you drizzle in the corn starch diluted with a bit of water to make a runny paste. Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened into a nice syrupy consistency.

Slice cheesecake and spoon strawberry sauce over each slice as desired.

Enjoy! And then go for a long walk 🙂

Apple Almond Blueberry Cake ~or~ Comfort

Image

Stella is feeling very weary this afternoon. Usually, at the end of the lunch rush she goes upstairs to the apartment above the cafe to put her feet up. She reads or naps, usually the napping shortly following the attempt at reading. Today, the cafe was incredibly busy and Stella consumed too much coffee in order to keep up with the rush after rush of customers. As a result she is unable to settle down to a book, although her feet are aching, so she decides to turn on the television instead.

As she flips through the channels she notes that really, there is nothing on TV in the daytime except soap operas and a sorry assortment of talk shows. “Blah, blah, blah,” she says aloud. She tries flipping through the channels again and settles on one featuring a cooking demonstration. At least she can relate to cooking demonstrations, especially when it is someone else doing the demonstrating while she observes the proceedings from the comfort of a lovely jacquard patterned armchair which cradles her tired body.

The woman on the screen is generously proportioned, like Stella herself, of South Asian descent and has a lovely warm voice and a personality to match. And she is making the most gorgeous, healthy looking cake. “Mmmmmm!” murmurs Stella. She takes a notebook from the table beside her chair and quickly copies down the website address where the talk show’s host claims the recipe is posted.

***

Stella makes this cake every few weeks for the cafe, and it is always a hit. Sometimes she makes it at home, too, for guests, with the same results. Not too sweet, not too rich, packed with fruit and nuts, Apple Almond Blueberry Cake is the perfect fall treat with afternoon tea.

Image

Apple Almond Blueberry Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened and diced
  • 4 medium Gala or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/3 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus one tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • coarse and powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • 2 cups chilled whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup good quality maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter 9 inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4 inch high sides. Sift first five ingredients into large bowl. Rub in butter until mixture represents coarse meal.

2. Mix in apples and brown sugar. Whisk eggs and milk together; stir into apple mixture with almonds and blueberries (batter will be thick). Transfer to pan. Sprinkle top with coarse sugar.

3. Bake cake until golden and springy to touch, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly on rack. Cut around cake to loosen; remove pan sides and dust with powdered sugar.

4. Whip cream on medium speed to get some air into it. Add maple syrup and whip on high until soft pillowy peaks form. Serve each slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Enjoy!