For some reason, I recall past memories more readily when there is food involved. Take for example, apples. I started thinking about my memories of apple picking. The first memory that came back was Ellijay in northern Georgia at R and A Orchard with my family. I remembered the apples hanging plentifully on the trees looking like a still life waiting to be painted. We had a great time, and picked more than our fair share of apples. (I blogged about it back in October 2009). Then I remembered apple picking in southern California in the mountains of Julian. Julian is known for their apple pies, so delicious they inspired me to pick and bake my own back then. Gosh, I miss those apple pies and the apple aroma of that apple mountain town! Still letting my mind wander, the fall hikes in the countryside of Germany were recalled and picking apples along the path. The apple trees would be so heavy with apples, sticks were placed to support branches. Often ladders were left leaning on the trees waiting for the harvest to resume. The taste of those countryside apples still lingers in my mind, they were crisp and sweet and so appreciated on some of those way too long hikes. And then I remembered what I think was my first apple picking. I was in high school and as part of the tennis team, we would run across town to the practice tennis courts. The neighboring property to the courts was lined with apple trees ~ some even had branches that hung over the fence, to our delight! Now those apples were crisp and TART, but we didn’t care we greedily picked and ate.
This fall, I have purchased apples from my local farmers market. The apples come from Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and almost every week there is a new variety to sample. Check out their website www.mercier-orchards.com. They have a comprehensive list of the apples they grow and an informative description of those apples.
Apples bring back nostalgic memories of autumn, not only picking, but also baking. Pies, crisps, cakes and strudels, I’ve eaten them all. This year, I made an Upside Down Apple Cake, it was pure heaven and another food memory to recall for the future. The Upside Down Apple Cake is the perfect excuse to take a break, enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake while watching the leaves fall. Maybe even a new addition to your Thanksgiving desserts.
Upside Down Apple Cake
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 3 Fuji apples peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 oz. unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- optional for serving; creme fraiche whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 10 inch round cake pan.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until maple syrup is reduced to 3/4 cup.
- Pour the reduced maple syrup into the cake pan and covering the bottom completely with the maple syrup. Arrange the apple slices on top of the maple syrup in a concentric circle, overlapping the slices. Repeat with an inner circle. Fill the pan completely with apple slices.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
- In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. In 3 alternating batches, beat the dry ingredients followed by the wet ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture.
- Pour the batter over the apple slices and smooth evenly. Bake for 90 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack for 45 minutes.
- Run a knife around the cake and invert it on to a serving plate. Serve with creme fraiche, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.