Sunday, October 6, 2013

Old Fashioned Stacked Fruit Cake

Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, this cake was as much a part of Christmas and birthdays as the presents that came along with the special occasion.  Legend has it, this cake was what was served at weddings here in the mountains.  Each guest would bring a layer to add to the cake. Very few people make this cake anymore because it is very time consuming.  It is not a pretty cake either considering all the labor that goes into it, but does it ever twang the buds.  The first step is to dry a peck of apples.  The apples have to be peeled, cored, and sliced.  My grandmother would then put them on a screen and leave them in the sun to dry.  I have the modern convenience of a dehydrator so that is where I dry mine.  Hers would take a week of warm dry weather to produce the dry apples needed, mine only a couple of hours. You could buy the apples at the super market, but that can be quite costly and who knows what chemicals have been added to them.  After you have the dried apples, you have to reconstitute them by adding liquid, sugar, and spices and cooking until it looks like apple butter.  Some people use apple butter as the filling, but its just not quite the same, there is a flavor very distinct in the dried apples. The layers are made of thin, spicy cake that 
resembles a cookie more than it does a cake.  Here is the recipe I use for my cake.
Mix Together:
  • 2 cups white sugar 
  • 1 cup shortening 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease and flour six 8-inch pans.
In a large bowl mix together white sugar, shortening, eggs, soda, baking powder, flour, salt, buttermilk, and vanilla.
Divide batter into 6 equal parts. Press into prepared pans.
Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for twelve minutes. Let cake layers cool completely before removing from pans.

To prepare filling:
For filling, mix together:
  • 2 pounds dried apples, cooked and mashed
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • Enough apple cider to cover apples
Spread the fruit between the layers.  I put the fruit on top as well, some don't but I think it makes the cake look finished.  Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and let it sit for at least 48 hours before eating.  Resist the tempation to slice into it sooner, the fruit has to permeate the layers of cake before it reaches its peak of flavor.  Enjoy!

Do you have a food that is indigenous to your area?  I would love to hear about it!  Share in the comments below.

Linking to:
Funky Polkadot Giraffe

Saturday, October 5, 2013

New Born Pants

I LOVE  to sew!  I have been watching The British Sewing Bee on YouTube.  It is soooooo inspiring.  I had to sew something.  I have been working on a T-shirt quilt that I will be posting on later, but I had come to a stand still until I got more supplies.  I found this great website Made by Rae that has great tutorials and patterns.  There is a Washi dress pattern that is at the top of my wish list.  These cute little pants took very little fabric and only minutes to whip together.  These are going to be a shower gift for someone very soon.

Linking at:
Tatortots and Jello