Day 7: Cooking with Louisa Edwards

The holidays are about many things: family, friendship, faith . . . and of course, food! For me, the traditional dishes I make every year encompass all those other aspects of the season—they’re my family’s favorites that I cook for dinner with friends, and they remind me of my aunt and grandmothers and great-grandmothers who are no longer with us, but who left behind their wonderful, hand-written recipes as a legacy.

This is also a beautiful time of year for romance, to snuggle up by a roaring fire with a mug of hot chocolate, dazzle each other with thoughtful, meaningful gifts, and sneak in a couple of kisses under the mistletoe! And speaking of gifts, books make great presents. Especially complete trilogies like my three contemporary romances, Can’t Stand The Heat, On the Steamy Side, and Just One Taste, which follow the culinary and romantic adventures of a kitchen crew at a trendy Manhattan restaurant! And if they don’t suit anyone on your shopping list but sound like fun to you, remember it’s not healthy to be totally selfless.

I’m just saying.

My gift to you this year is this recipe for Fresh Apple Cake (warm comfort food from my grandmother and perfect for fighting off winter’s chill). Have a delicious holiday season. And if you have a book you like to read each holiday season, please share!

Fresh Apple Cake

1 cup vegetable or other neutral oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 heaping cups Granny Smith, Gala, or Pink Lady apples, peeled and chopped
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Prepare a tube pan by covering the inner surface with a thin layer of butter or shortening, then dusting enough flour to coat the interior of the pan. Knock pan against counter and shake to remove excess flour.

Cream oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Sift together soda, salt, cinnamon, and flour. Add to the creamed mixture, stirring several times to combine. Then add the apples and nuts, mixing well. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Enjoy with whipped cream (you could add a little Calvados for an adult treat) or ice cream!

To learn more about Louisa Edwards and her books, visit her at http://www.louisaedwards.com/.