We arrived back in Florida this past weekend after having one of the best summers in years. It was one of those times where it seems like the stars were aligned perfectly for us. The weather and the mood were everything I needed to disconnect and then, reconnect once again.
One of the things I was most excited about when we were home were all the apple trees ready to be picked. Anywhere we drove, the roads were lined with trees full of bright pink, red and green apples. From a far, they even sparkle in the sun. So beautiful.
I pointed them out to everyone and it’s amazing how people take such things for granted. I did too when I lived there not so long ago. And now, I have a new appreciation for them. I believe photography opens one’s eye to little things. Light and details suddenly take another dimension and priority.
I told you about my uncle Javi’s garden and how much I love visiting there. We picked kilos of apples, pears and different varieties of plums. I watched my uncle make the most amazing jam with Claudia plums that he later used to fill some sable cookies for the pastry shop.
Early one morning, I called my aunt Agurtzane. “Can I come photograph the sheep today?”. “Of course!”, she replied. They are indeed my favorite subject and in our family any excuse is a good one to set up an impromptu picnic.
We brought the apple and walnut cake I made with the apples we had picked a couple of days before and had some cheese, membrillo, chorizo, jamon and of course some wine. We sat under a large tree and talked for hours. Then put on our wellies and headed down to where the chestnut trees are to look for mushrooms.
My dad and all of my uncles are avid mushroom hunters and pickers. It is almost considered a sport here and it is a tradition that is passed down generation after generation. I cherish the memories of going hiking with my dad looking for mushrooms and I really wanted J. to experience it.
The recipe for this cake comes from my mom. It’s her super easy and versatile yogurt and olive oil cake. It literally is one container of yogurt, 2 yogurt containers of sugar, 3 containers of flour… And it works every time. We sauteed some apples in butter and sugar and added some walnuts to the batter. It was a good addition to a perfect mid morning picnic with family.
Apple, Walnut, Yogurt and Olive Oil Cake
makes 1 bundt pan
Note: these measurements are using a 125 ml container of yogurt, which I have found that is the standard size both in Spain and the US. I will refer to the 125 ml container as measure. I really need to give you an exact metric/US measure but in the meantime, I wanted to share this.
1 measure (125ml) plain yogurt
1 measure demerara sugar
1 measure sugar
4 eggs (3 if they are extra-large)
1 measure light olive oil
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 measures gluten free flour mix or all purpose flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum if using the gluten free mix
1 Tbs baking powder
handful of chopped walnuts
2 pink apples
2 tsp butter
2-3 Tbs sugar
Butter and flour the inside of a bundt pan.
Slice one of the apples thinly. Heat the butter and 1 Tbs sugar in a pan. Add the slices of apple and cook for a minute on each side. The sugar doesn’t have to caramelize. Let the slices cool slightly and then line the bottom of the bundt pan with them, overlapping slightly.
Dice the other apples and cook them in the remaining butter and sugar. Let them cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugars, eggs, olive oil, vanilla seeds and cinnamon. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix. Fold in the chopped walnuts and sauteed apples.
Pour batter into pan and bake in a 350F (180C) oven for about 30 minutes or until done (depending on the size of the pan)