Lately it feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day, and I'm not just talking about the fact that the sun sets by 6pm every night - it's just that life's felt kind of like a non-stop hamster wheel of activity ever since I returned from my trip two weeks ago, and I haven't had much of a chance to catch my breath.
I guess that's the price to pay for two weeks of basking in warm sunny climes and stuffing my face with all manner of food, but it really puts a harsh on my post-vacation buzz.
Needless to day, I've got me some serious plans for the extra hour the universe is bestowing upon us this weekend. After all, it's only once a year that we actually do get a day that's 25 hours long.
Yes, I know it's literally borrowed time, considering it's the same hour we lost a few months ago when we sprung forward, but right now I'm treating it as a gift... kind of like pulling out my winter coat and finding a $20 bill tucked in the pocket.
I haven't decided what I'm going to do with that hour yet, but the list of possibilities is a mile long - the garden needs to be prepared for the winter freeze, the bikes need to be brought indoors, the summer clothes need to be washed and put away for the season, the closets need to be reorganized, the stairs and carpets need to be vacuumed, the fridge needs to be emptied out and scrubbed, the 700-odd photos from my trip need to be processed and posted, and the ever-growing pile of shoes and boots in my entryway needs to be corralled into some semblance of order.
Oh, and I suppose I could write up a blog post or two, while I'm at it. I've been pretty bad at that lately, haven't I?
(Of course, the most likely answer is that I'll spend it sleeping in, instead. Mmmm... sleep.)
Anyway, I guess that's my roundabout way of apologizing for a lack of blog posts of late. I do promise to do better.
And since a sweet treat makes an apology all the more meaningful, I decided I'd share a cake with you all today. A super-moist, cinnamony cake full of chunky apple pieces and chopped walnuts, nestled under an irresistibly sweet browned butter icing. It's perfectly delicious, especially when enjoyed with a big mug of hot tea and a heaping helping of contrition.
Best of all, it just a little over an hour from start to finish, which makes it absolutely perfect for the extra hour you'll have in your day. Y'know, assuming you're not already planning to spend it asleep in bed or rooting around in the garden.
- 2 cups roughly chopped peeled apples
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups sifted icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-4 tbsp milk
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8x8 inch square pan.
- In a medium bowl, toss apples with cinnamon and ½ cup sugar until evenly coated, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla until combined. Sift in the flour, remaining ½ cup sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and stir until a thick batter comes together. Fold in the seasoned apples and chopped walnuts.
- Scrape batter into the prepared pan and smooth out into an even layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a moist crumb. Set on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter, stirring constantly, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until butter starts to turn nutty golden brown in colour. Remove from heat immediately.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter with icing sugar, vanilla extract and 2 tbsp milk until smooth; if the icing looks too thick, add the remaining milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it smooths out. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then smooth onto the top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, if desired.