The other day our neighbor Ann gave us two big bags full of delicious pears and apples she grows in her country home south of San Francisco along the California Central Coast. Everything that she produces is organic. In the past she’s given us zucchini, Japanese eggplant, basil, bok choy greens, lemons and more. Thank you Ann, we love the fruit and veggies!
I made this cake with cinnamon, if you can believe it! I write that only partially facetiously as even though I recognize that that particular spice is a classic with apples and very popular this time of year, I’m not that much of a fan.
Growing up, the only time we ate cinnamon at home was when my mother made her famous rice pudding, and then it was more of a flavor garnish. She would pour a ladle full of the warm rice pudding into a shallow dessert dish, let it cool a bit and sprinkle it lightly with cinnamon. Sometimes in the winter we also had mulled wine flavored with spices, including cinnamon, though that wasn’t very often. That’s mostly it.
In the U.S., cinnamon is found in a lot of things, ranging from desserts, teas and coffees, and many savory dishes. It is a strong flavor that, unfortunately, I feel overpowers a dish sometimes, particularly when used with excessive freedom. I’m still learning to appreciate it in things. This apple pear cinnamon cake, on the other hand, was cinnamony but not overwhelmingly so. I made it three times over about two weeks (we had that much fruit). The second time I think that I went overboard with the cinnamon, though Steven liked it. But he’s a native American, so perhaps has a more robust constitution for the stuff.
Here cinnamon gives the expected Holiday flavor to this autumnal cake. It also tinted it with a lovely brown color. I used Cassia cinnamon, which is more flavorful with a very cinnamony taste. The bark is thick and hard as opposed to Ceylon cinnamon, which is soft with a much lighter flavor.
apple pear cinnamon cake
2½ cups flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon (Cassia)
1 tbsp baking powder
1½ cups sugar
¾ cup walnut oil
1 cup low fat soy milk
3 small pears
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish with some walnut oil and set aside.
Place flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl and whisk to combine.
In a second bowl, add sugar and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer for a few minutes until it turns into a creamy color. Beat in oil and soy milk. Reduce mixer speed and gradually add flour mix. Beat a minute or so just to incorporate.
Core and roughly chop pears and apples—no need to peel the fruit. Fold fruit into the batter using a spatula. Transfer to baking dish and bake for about one hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack.