It’s fall here in the Pacific Northwest. That means last week, we were running through sprinklers in our bathing suits and throwing the doors open to cool down the house, and this morning I’m wearing fuzzy slippers and the heat kicked on.
They stutter-start, our seasons here. It will be 70 tomorrow, pouring rain on Sunday and mid-60s Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the weather forecast. This will last nearly a month. Like “YAY IT’S FALL! No, wait, summer. NO, IT’S FALL!”
We have to be prepared.
But fall tastes, those come in with a BANG. Warm, nourishing, spicy scents abound. Fresh-pressed apple cider takes up space in refrigerators everywhere, and features heavily in stalls at our local farmer’s market. Cinnamon is back, bringing nutmeg and a whole squad of warty gourds with it.
Fall flavors pack a big punch. In one friend’s house, they call it “Pumpkin Spice Season”.
As summer waned, we moved into a house with an abundant plum tree, directly after spending a lovely afternoon with a friend gleaning another friend’s plum tree. We were neck-deep in plums. I found my dehydrator in storage and dried some for the winter. (they didn’t last that long.) I ate some plain, standing over the kitchen sink, letting the juices drip down my chin as I watched my new neighbor paint floats for her crab pots. (I don’t even know. They’re purple and yellow.)
Then I discovered Smitten Kitchen’s purple plum torte. I made two right away, with another for a playdate. Then one for the neighbors. Then a gluten-free one.
Then I ran out of plums, as the seasons changed.
Then, it was apple season. And after an apple-picking excursion, I was flush with apples.
Off some went to the dehydrator (see a pattern here?) and I pulled out my cake pans, and this amazing gluten-free apple cake was born.
Or “I had four stutter-stops, kind of like fall does, and then I finally got something that people fought over and someone tried to lick the cake pan when it was empty and even Wolfgang gave it a thumbs up.”
Plus a bonus: this cake baking acts as a lovely air freshener for your house and your new neighbors might stop by because you left the windows open and they want cake too.
A few notes on this recipe:
- I could not find my strainer to save my life. You can wash your hands really well, and squeeze the lemon through your hand to keep the seeds from wrecking your cake.
- If you can’t find fresh nutmeg, don’t fret! Use a tiny sprinkle of the jarred kind and you should be fine.
- SERIOUSLY grease your pan. I used coconut oil and smeared it around the pan, but wasn’t really even. The cake held onto my pan for dear life.
- I cannot emphasize enough to NOT overbeat this batter. It gets….tough. You want it light and airy!
- Make two. Trust me. I had 5 little girls and their moms over and both were gone and they went after the leftover apples too.