Fall Harvest Cakes

fall harvest cakes_n

These delectable individual-sized cakes are packed with the flavors of autumn – honeycrisp apples, crunchy pecans, and caramel.

Taking advantage of fruit, vegetables, fish and wild game during times of seasonal abundance is a celebrated part of our kitchen, but it hasn’t always been easy to do so living in the Arctic bush. Back in California, between farmers’ markets and our own modest garden, our kitchen was stocked with ripe, heirloom tomatoes, freshly picked raspberries and peaches so ripe they had to be eaten over the sink (or outside under our peach trees).

Since moving to bush Alaska, we’ve been shipping up frozen fruits and vegetables during our annual summertime shopping. These have been supplemented with “keeper” produce such as  squashes, potatoes, onions and apples. We’ve managed to keep many of our traditions intact by pulling seasonal items from our pantry and freezers at the appropriate times, but we’ve missed enjoying fruits and vegetables freshly harvested from local farms.

This year, we decided to sign up with a CSA (community supported agriculture). Our “local” CSA, Full Circle Farms, is based in Carnation, Washington, nearly 2,100 miles away. Offering freshly harvested organic choices, Full Circle delivers to the San Francisco Bay Area, Idaho, Washington, and to Arctic Alaska! It has been a long time since we’ve had peaches and nectarines as perfectly ripe as the ones Full Circle has been sending, In fact, all their produce so far, from leafy greens to tomatoes to avocados have been spot on.

As part of our order last week, we received honeycrisp apples. This variety is sweet and crunchy with a pleasant tanginess – a balance that seemed begging to be paired with caramel. The pecan topping gives these cakes a savory crunch.

Fall Harvest Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 2 cups shredded apple
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 4-5 caramel candies, or 1/4 cup caramel sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tin.
  2. Cream butter and yogurt.
  3. Gradually add sugar to butter mixture. Beat well.
  4. Thoroughly mix in eggs, one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and mace.
  6. Gradually incorporate flour mixture to sugar mixture.
  7. Stir in apples.
  8. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle on pecans and caramel (sprinkle chopped candies or pour on sauce).
  11. Bake for 10 more minutes. Cakes are done when wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  12. Cool on wire racks.