We have a new contender in the Battle of the Birthdays. (Or at least a newest member of our Scorpio party.) My brand-spanking new nephew, Charlie, was born just a few hours ago. So that covers October 24th, 25th, 27th and 30th in our immediate family. (Or semi-immediate, I suppose. And I’m thinking since the rest of us are a good few decades or so older, he won’t have to share a party or anything.)
So that sort of trumps my now very lame sounding heart attack of a day, but I wasn’t really going to bore you with that stuff anymore anyway. It does give the cake I made today a little more meaning, and makes more sense for me to post it. I realize this week has been a little cake-heavy with the birthdays and all, but I had to test this for the new edition of Grazing and now, with a brand-new person in the world, it seems a little bit more celebratory. What else could I make on a birth day? Although even though it was invented on his actual birthday, I’m sure Charlie would be less than thrilled to be served a Tomato-Apple Cake once he’s old enough to appreciate what cake is.
Typing this, I can see now that it might be a harder sell on the general public than I first anticipated as well. Perhaps I should change the name to Apple Spice Cake or some such. It’s loosely based on a traditional Jewish apple cake, but made with a can of tomato paste, which makes it moist, sweet and dense in the same sort of way pumpkin puree might. After all, tomatoes are fruit. Ever hear of tomato soup cake? Tomato Apple Cake sounds much better, I think.
Our actual dinner was at Mike’s Mom’s, who didn’t get a birthday turn with us over the weekend. We raced over there after I got back from making 100 or so samples of crème brulee, crème caramel and panna cotta (I still have 3 pumpkin flans to make plus blood & guts cupcakes for CBC in less than 8 hours) for a class I’m teaching tomorrow night. It was very basic Chinese food – chicken balls, ginger beef, fried rice and beef with mixed vegetables. (Mike’s sister picked it up from Safeway – she made sure she went early in the day so that she could get it when it was “freshly made”, and then took it home and kept it in the fridge all day to reheat at dinnertime – in their plastic containers – so that it would be very fresh. I didn’t think a photo was required.)
Tomato Apple Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed (optional)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tart apples, unpeeled and cut into large (1/2”-1”) chunks
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (or enough to keep them from turning brown)
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup canola or olive oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 5.5 oz. (156 mL) can tomato paste
empty tomato paste can full of orange juice or water (about half a cup)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt or tube pan well with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, toss the apple chunks with lemon juice, about 1/4 cup of the sugar and a bit of cinnamon; set aside.
In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, oil, brown sugar, sugar, tomato paste, orange juice and vanilla until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
Pour a third of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Scatter with a third of the apples (and half the nuts, if you’re using them), then repeat with another layer of batter and apples and nuts, and a final layer of batter, then apples. (Nuts are best kept inside the cake to keep them from burning.) Pour any juices that accumulated in the bottom of the apple bowl overtop.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool the cake in the pan to lukewarm before inverting it onto a wire rack or plate.
Makes 1 cake; serves 24.
Per slice: 176 calories, 5.3 g total fat (0.5 g saturated fat, 2.9 g monounsaturated fat, 1.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 3 g protein, 30.2 g carbohydrate, 18 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber. 26% calories from fat