Apple brandy cake and nesting for the holidays

Leah’s Notebook:

*Please feel free to skip my musings and go directly to the recipe.

Hope you are enjoying all the lovely things these holiday season brings. I cannot believe that Christmas Eve is exactly two weeks away! Yikes! I do not want to think about it for several reasons. First, I have just started my Christmas shopping today. I would rather focus on creating memories than focusing on material things but shopping for my loved ones also brings me much joy. I took the day off to shop for presents. I am glad that I lucked out because I got to check off items on my list for the people in my life who difficult to shop for. Well, almost but today was good start! I really need to up my online shopping!

Second, I am really just enjoying the solitude of the holidays. I am being intentional in not joining the hustle and bustle of this season which is easier to do because of the pandemic. Even though we are doing very well in the Bay Area in terms of Covid, things have not really gone back to normal, and people are still being cautious. There will be no holiday party at work even though my work is big on celebrations. I am glad that my workplace really cares about our well-being.

I have also shushed my inner FOMO that I often grapple with. (That’s Fear of Missing Out for those who do not know what FOMO stands for.) Being a homebody, a lot of times I struggle with the guilt that I should be out and about, participating in events, going for a walk, admiring the holiday lights, etc. Not this year. I have embraced staying home and enjoying each moment. I took two days off (yesterday and today), to enjoy solitude at home. Yesterday, I did not do anything but stare at the Christmas Tree all day. Well, not necessarily stare all day but I am glad that it was there like a beacon of the holiday season as I did what I really wished to do that day. After I did a little bit of house chores, I enjoyed a pot of coffee, toasted pumpkin bagel and cream cheese. I parked myself on the couch and watched a corny holiday movie on Netflix. I made myself salmon sinigang which is a filipino soup for lunch after the movie. I have not made it in years and I am glad that I finally did. It was delicious with rice and the hot soup was perfect for the cold weather that we are having now. I read while waiting for Mr Sweetie to come home. And I also took bazillion pictures of my Christmas Tree. Then I opened the curtains and allow the setting sun to come in. The house was so still and cozy with the holiday decorations, Christmas and fairy lights as it slowly got dark at 4 in the afternoon. Then I got up to cook dinner (chicken adobo, his request) and I baked an apple cake. When he got home, he lit the fireplace and enjoyed dinner with the apple brandy cake as dessert later. It was a perfect holiday at home.

APPLE BRANDY CAKE

Last January, while Mr Sweetie was buying post-Christmas presents for his friends at Beverages and More, I saw a bottle of apple brandy. I am not even a drinker but I just could not resist getting it! I thought of apple orchards and sipping brandy by the fire on a cold winter day. As soon as we got home, I tasted it. Nope, not for me. Too strong! It has been sitting in the back of my fridge for almost a year until I saw it again few weeks ago. I thought, what can I make with this liquor since I will never drink it? APPLE BRANDY CAKE!

I made apple brandy cake yesterday for the second time. The first one I made had more apples and flour in it. It was more custardy. The one I made yesterday only needed 2 apples and 1 cup of flour. This version is lighter and faster to make. Given that I am a lazy cook, I opted to post the easier one because it was also delicious. Mr Sweetie loved both versions of my Apple Brandy Cake (the custard-like one and lighter one from yesterday). I also had a slice with coffee this morning. It was very moist and nice. And lastly, you do not need to use apple brandy. Just use milk (any kind) or apple cider if you have it available. You may also use calvados instead of apple brandy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar for topping
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons apple brandy (or calvados)
  • 2 baking apples, peeled, cored and cubed (I used Granny Smith)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly spray a  9-inch cake pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  4. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (You can do this by hand,)
  5. Add eggs one at a time, sugar, vanilla and apple brandy (or calvados or apple cider or milk). Mix to combine.
  6. Add dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until combined.
  7. Gently fold in chopped apples.
  8. Pour batter batter into prepared pan.
  9. Sprinkle top with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. 
  10. Bake until golden and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
  11. Let cool 15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.
  12. Using a fine sieve, dust with powdered sugar (if using).
  13. Great served with ice cream or whipped cream.
  14. Enjoy!

Did you make APPLE BRANDY CAKE? Please let me know in the comment below.

4 thoughts on “Apple brandy cake and nesting for the holidays

    1. Thank you! The next Apple Cake I bake is for you! 🙂 It is so easy to make that I think I will bake it for my co-workers and bring to family holiday gatherings. So true about FOMO. It is also very confusing times. We are grateful that we have very low hospitalizations and deaths in the Bay Area but we are still being very hypervigilant. With the Omicron variant, it makes it more nerve wracking! How are things in Vermont? Continue to stay safe and enjoy the holidays at home and with your loved ones, which are really the best times! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been crazy in Vermont. We are a practical and responsible group of people, and have been ahead of things right along, but even though we are 95% vaccinated, we’re having a big surge,primarily but certainly not exclusively driven by unvaccinated. Crazy times!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. These are crazy times indeed! San Francisco Bay Area is also similar to Vermont. We have very high vaccination rates. There are very little hospitalizations that I know of but Covid is definitely still around. I have read about the surge in Vermont and I was thinking that you were one of the very first states to get vaccinated. This is a good reminder for me that even being vaccinated, surge is inevitable when Covid fatigue sets in. Take good care and remain safe. Have a great week ahead! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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