Friday December 28, 2012

The first thing I am going to bake in my wood-stoves oven is this cake. I don’t care what time of year it is, I am plopping this bad boy in the cast iron stove, sitting back and simply enjoying the aroma mingling with the fire wood. I am going to build a home within the next year and my family and I have decided to go ahead and put in a century old wood stove. Now I don’t know if it’s going to be the only cooking appliance in the kitchen, but it will be in the kitchen. I remember my grandmother having one in her kitchen growing up and for the last two decades, I have been promising myself that I, too, would recreate (or at least try) the smells she made drift thought the entire house. This cake is not only warmly aromatic, but has the flavor that transcends generations. I am instantly yanked back to my childhood and I think you will be pleased with it as well.

Yankee Spiced
Nut Cake

1/2 cup apple cider

1/2 cup chopped, fresh

cranberries

2 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoon butter

or margarine, room temp.

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup plain yogurt

3/4 cup apple butter

1 cup broken walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.


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Heat apple cider in microwave for 1 minute and soak cranberries in cider until needed. Spray a 9 x 12-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray liberally.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cream butter and sugars in a medium mixing bowl. Add eggs and almond extract and mix until combined. Stir together yogurt, and apple butter.

Add to wet mixture alternately with flour. Stir in the cranberries and cider with the walnuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick insert comes out clean and the tops bounce back when pressed with your finger. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pan, cut and enjoy.

Chef Jim Baley -- The Yankee Chef -- is a noted food columnist, cookbook author and the foremost New England Food Historian. He is a third generation chef and historian and lives in Maine with his wife and four children. He welcomes feedback at theyankeechef@aol.com.