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.
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.