Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Something Good with Nutmeg

February 27, 2008

Research shows that most of the hits on this blog come with the search words "Health Benefits Nutmeg," with "Garlic Soup Colds" coming in second.

There is an early post about my discovery of chai tea which discusses the health benefits of nutmeg -- and cinnamon and cloves -- in the tasty tea known as chai. You can find this post and the garlic one by browsing the blog. This post is about a wonderful cake with a large nutmeg component.

The recipe, with some tweaking from me, is found in Nick Maglieri's cookbook Perfect Cakes. It has the charming name of "Fresh Apple Cake from Mrs. Appenzeller (5D)." Maglieri got the recipe from the superintendent of a Greenwich Village apartment building who in turn obtained it from the tenant in Apartment 5D. I can't help but love this Mrs. Appenzeller -- after all, I lived in Switzerland for six years, and Appenzel is a quaint canton in the mountains. Besides, the cake, with its high nutmeg content is not only delicious but probably will help with joint pains and indigestion. Obesity is another matter.

For health considerations, I decreased the amount of oil, added some whole wheat flour as well as brown sugar, and for esthetics used Granny Smith apples where Mrs. Appenzeller and Nick Maglieri use Golden Delicious. Applesauce would probably work well too. I do recommend the cake, and admonish the baker to use all the nutmeg suggested.

1 1/2 Cup Unbleached White Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, 1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
3 Cups Peeled, Chopped Apples
1/2 Cup Dark Raisins
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Butter and flour a 12-Cup tube pan and preheat the oven to 350°.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, and spices.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs to break them up, whisk in the oil, sugar and vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the dry ingredients and apples, raisins and nuts.

Bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

The cake is excellent with coffee or tea, or can be dressed up with ice cream. It freezes well.

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