Meg Corey and Seth Chapin are getting married in A Gala Event, the next book in the Orchard Mysteries, coming out next week. Some readers might add “finally!” Hey, it’s only taken them nine books to get there. I’m afraid to count how many bodies they came across along the way.
Those of you with eagle eyes and long memories may recognize this recipe, which I posted here two years ago (and it’s the one that appears in the book—but you saw it here first!). It’s so appropriate for these two people—one who raises apples, and one who cherishes historic buildings. It’s an old recipe made with apple cider—how could I improve on that?
But I thought I’d try making cider from my own apples for the occasion. Nice idea, right? I have one tree that has succumbed to fire blight after a year-long struggle, but it made a valiant effort to produce apples this year, and I have picked most of them. Perfect, I say—I will use these apples!
Well, yes and no. This variety—Esopus Spitzenburg, one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorites—produces fairly dry apples under the best of circumstances, although with nice flavor, and this has been a dry year. I took half a bushel of apples (all that one variety!) and stuck them into my tiny but authentic antique hand-crank cider press, and…out of that half bushel I produced less than one cup of cider. Not even enough for this recipe. But it’s the thought that counts, right? It did taste good. I added some organic local cider to make up the full amount.
|My cider--I have much more respect for|
cider makers now!
Apple Cider Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2 pounds flour (about 6 cups)
1 Tblsp baking powder
1-2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of cloves (or more if you like)
1/2 pound of butter, softened
2 cups cider (fresh and local if you have it)
In a large bowl (the one for a stand mixer works), place the dry ingredients and blend them together. Add the soft butter and mix on medium speed until it’s evenly distributed (mixture will be crumbly).
Add the cider and mix until you have a stiff batter.
Butter and flour a 9” x 13” baking pan (since this is a wedding cake, I made two round cakes instead). Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth out the top. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the top is lightly browned and the edges begin to pull away from the pan—probably around an hour (but start testing early—if you overcook the cake it gets dry). Cool in the pan.
When fully cool, remove from the pan(s) and frost with…
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room
1/2 cup maple syrup (use the good stuff! I may have gone overboard when I used an artisanal, varietal maple syrup I bought in Vermont, but it tastes really good!)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (more if needed)
Only one main ingredient: marzipan or fondant (which is harder to find). Roll it out thin and cut it into shapes of your choice (of course I have apple cookie cutters!), or mold them any way you like. To color your decorations, you may either paint them with a brush, using food coloring, or make up a solution of food coloring and dip them in whole. Let them dry before applying to the cake.
And next week you can join Meg and Seth as they get married in front of most of the population of Granford!
A Gala Event, coming October 6th! Yes, that's next week!
Wedding bells are ringing for Meg and Seth in the latest Orchard Mystery
The fall harvest may be just about over, but orchard owner Meg Corey is busier than ever planning her wedding to Seth Chapin. Who knew picking apples would be less work than picking out rings and a dress? And even though the happy couple has invited most of Granford, Massachusetts, to the ceremony, they might have to make room for one more guest…
Ex-con Aaron Eastman has unexpectedly reappeared in his hometown, searching for answers to the tragic fire in his family’s past that put him behind bars twenty-five years ago. Moved by his sincerity, Meg vows to do everything she can to help him solve the cold case. As she cobbles together the clues, it becomes increasingly clear that Aaron may have been considered the bad seed of the family, but someone else was one bad apple…