Each fall I’m overcome with the urge to bake something with apples. Or pumpkin. Or figs. My cake-baking friend has those same urges. When she saw this lovely Apple Spice Bundt Cake on the cover of an old Southern Living magazine, she immediately set out to replicate it.
She’s the only person I know who has 7 cake plates! I’m envious, but she graciously shares with the less fortunate. When it comes to serving cake, she believes presentation is key. I wholeheartedly agree, which makes it such a treat to both photograph and eat her artwork—as I happily did this past weekend at the farm.
NYT Plum Cake
My daughter, Robin, joined in the weekend dessert baking with this New York Times Plum Torte, the newspaper’s most requested recipe. I’ve made it using either pears, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, or apples—it’s quite flexible—but this is the first time I’ve had it with plums. Because the 1980s recipe is so basic, it works with any number of fruits, including canned or frozen fruit.
The recipe is best made in a 9″ pan, but if doubled fits nicely in a 9×14″ baking dish. The torte also freezes well, making it a good item to keep on hand for a quick dessert. Some online testers suggested adding a half teaspoon of vanilla to the classic recipe. Good idea.
Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
For our Saturday night farm dinner, another neighbor—a bread maker par excellent—brought a copycat version of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. This is the perfect quick bread. There’s no rolling or kneading. Just stir the ingredients and drop on a baking sheet and you have a near match of the restaurant’s fluffy, flaky biscuit.
Time for a Hearty Roast Beef
Since I emphasized desserts and breads served at the farm this past weekend, you may have thought we neglected a main dish. It, too, was on the seasonal side. I’d not cooked a roast beef with vegetables all summer, but doing so seemed like a good prelude to the cool weather to come.
More Signs of Fall
While sitting outside enjoying the weather, I could hear acorns falling like little hailstones onto the deck. I also noticed dried leaves beginning to gather in flower beds. And the depleted wood pile meant there was work ahead, if we wanted to enjoy a fire on the first chilly weekend.
Thinking about the changing seasons, I could almost hear ol’ Blue Eyes—Frank Sinatra—crooning Autumn Leaves . . . “The falling leaves drift by my window. . . the falling leaves of red and gold.”