Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On Sundays We Bake

Sundays at the Make-Ready residence are anything but lazy. Thanks to charming little Adelaide’s habit of waking up before seven - even on weekends - we’re usually downstairs, dressed, and two cups of coffee into the day by eight. This past Sunday unfolded not dissimilarly from any other. After our early morning routine, which happily included a few rows of knitting for me, we packed baby into the stroller and enjoyed one of our other Sunday rituals: a trip to Shirlington Village. This visit we bought muffins and sandwiches and (more) coffee to eat en plein air and let Addie splash in the fountain before heading back home.

We could have spent the rest of the day basking in our disheveled living room, surrounded by clothes I had neglected to fold for the entire month of September, unsorted mail, and playthings that never quiet found their way back to the toy basket. I could have knit with abandon while perched on the couch, surveying my small and disorderly fiefdom. But that is not what happened. Instead, we cleaned and rearranged furniture and cleaned some more. This spate of housekeeping chores did cut into my weekend knitting time, but it meant more roaming room for an almost-walking baby, less mess to interfere with future knitting adventures, and best of all, a house that was clean enough for me to justify some baking.

Baking, my second love after knitting, hasn’t figured very prominently in my life since December 9th 2011 when, in between contractions, I made a loaf of banana bread that I was determined to finish before Addie arrived. (I did finish it, and it was the first thing I ate after a long, long labor and delivery). That banana bread will remain the most delicious thing I have ever baked, but I didn’t want it to remain the last. So after we put away the brooms and stowed the neatly folded clothing in their respective drawers, I spent the late afternoon chopping apples and mixing batter for a fresh apple and yogurt cake.

The recipe, which I found here, combines two of my favorite things: sweet-tart apples and whole milk yogurt. Add a brown sugar and cinnamon swirl into the mix, and the result is early autumn baking perfection. Addie wanted to help as I measured yogurt and olive oil and cracked the eggs into a long-neglected mixing bowl. I did let her sample an apple cube, but she’s still a bit too small to help mommy in the kitchen.

Once in the oven, it took about 50 minutes to bake – just as the recipe suggested – and the resulting cake had a deliciously moist-but-not-soggy crumb, and apples in every bite. It’s not terribly sweet, which allows the yogurty, lemony, apple-saturated goodness to sing. The toned-down sweetness made me and hubby feel a lot less guilty about enjoying a piece of cake for breakfast the next morning. There’s still a portion left in the fridge, but I doubt it will make it to the next sunrise.

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