Two days away from Thanksgiving. MaryAnn started doing some prep for the big meal on Sunday already. We're going to her daughter's house in New Jersey for the holiday... MA's heading out on Wednesday to help with more food prep, and I'll be following with Poppy on Thursday. We're not looking forward to driving home Thursday night, but I'm sure it's going to be a great day. The house is gonna be packed. It'll be the 3 of us, both of MA's daughters' families (4 people each), my stepson & his boyfriend, and our son-in-law's family (sister; brother, wife & kid; mother & her husband). That's 19 altogether ...I guess that's not that many.
As my contribution, I tried baking a Harvest Cake from a family recipe. It's basically an apple spice cake, made from a recipe that my aunt either came up with or found somewhere. The recipe has been hand-copied from one family member to another for years.
Anyway, I followed the recipe very closely. I wanted to make sure it was perfect for presenting to my "new" family.
The first thing the recipe calls for is 4 cups of chopped apples. We have a 2-pint measuring cup, so I filled it up with cubed apples. Then the apples get mixed with 2 cups of sugar, and you let the mix sit for an hour. The sugar gets all syrupy as it blends with the moisture from the apples.
Then add 2 eggs, 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp. of baking soda, 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. I thought the measurements for the spices were a little stingy, so I doubled them. It also called for 1 cup of oil. The batter seemed awfully wet already, so that seemed like a lot of oil, but I added it anyway.
Mix and beat on low for 3 minutes. I mixed well, but forgot about the beating for 3 minutes part.
I greased and floured a bundt pan and poured in the batter.
I preheated the oven to 325° and set the timer for 90 minutes. I thought that maybe the batter was supposed to be as soupy as it was because it was supposed to be in the oven for an hour and a half.
At the end of 90 minutes, though, the "cake" was still all sloshy. "What did I do wrong?", I thought, "Did I miscount the cups of flour? Was the baking soda no good? Were the apples too juicy?" I guessed that maybe I didn't follow the recipe as closely as I meant to.
I thought maybe the recipe was written wrong. I thought fer sure that 1 cup of oil was too much... but the recipe was photocopied from the one my mom always uses.
I checked to see how much the 2-pint measuring cup actually held when filled to the very top. Almost 6 cups. Oops. But that shouldn't have made that much difference.
We figured I must have missed a cup of flour. So I poured the hot, bubbling batter back into the mixing bowl and added a cup of Wondra flour (the kind they sell to thicken sauces and gravies). I poured it into a new silicone bundt pan and baked it for another 30 minutes. Still gooshy. Another 20 minutes. Slightly firmer. Another 20 minutes. The cake/moosh was turning brownish-black but was still soft (and tasty!). It was getting late, so I took it out of the oven and hoped it would firm up some more when it cooled.
The next day, I managed to sort-of cut a facsimile of a slice of cake. It was gooshy, but tasted ...okay. A little on the sweet side. But certainly not presentable for a special occasion. Okay, for any occasion.
We could not figure out what the hell I did so wrong. MA bought new flour, apples, and baking soda so I could try again (as if there might have been a problem with those ingredients).
Well, today MaryAnn figured out the mystery. She called me to ask, "Where did you get the flour from the other night?"
"I got it from the canister"
"The tall one on the counter."
"Which tall one?"
"The one next to the sugar and brown sugar"
"That's not flour. It's powdered sugar!"
How could I NOT know the difference between flour and powdered sugar?!? If I was still a cook, that could get me seriously reprimanded.
So basically I tried to bake 6 cups of apples with 5 cups of sugar and 1 cup of flour. Apple glaze!
I'm going to try again tonight. Wish me luck!