It happens to be apple picking time, and remember my article, in The San Juan Record, May 18, 2022, about preserving apples for future usage? One item happened to be homemade apple pie filling, chock full of cozy winter spices.
Now talking about cozy winter spices, another favorite is gingerbread, but the majority of bakers stick to decorated cookies, and creating artistic houses too pretty to eat. In the Shrek movies, the poor little gingerbread man was constantly running from someone trying to eat him. Well, I am going to pull a Marie Antoinette and say, “Let them eat cake!”
I have introduced author, Karen Rose Smith, to all of you once before. She is a prolific writer of romance, and cozy mystery, novel series. She lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and so, like I used to do, frequents the many farmers markets throughout Lancaster and York counties. Hanover is famous for the pretzel company, Snyder’s, created in 1909 by baker, Harry Warehime. From Hanover, it is only about a half hour ride to one of my favorite haunts (pun intended), Gettysburg National Cemetery and Park.
Back to Karen, while her Daisy’s Tea Garden mystery series takes place in Pennsylvania Amish country, namely Lancaster County; another series, Caprice De Luca mysteries takes place in York County. I have read both, enjoyed both series, namely as it brings back very fond memories of my almost 20 years living in Lancaster, PA.
What has this to do with gingerbread? Karen’s books, at their ending, contains a few recipes of dishes mentioned throughout each mystery, and here is one on gingerbread.
(Murder with Clotted Cream (A Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery Book 5) by Karen Rose Smith, page 309)
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup dark brown sugar
⅓ cup dark Karo syrup (substitutes =amounts molasses, maple syrup, honey)
¼ cup water
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
⅛ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 and ½ cups flour
2 cups diced apples
Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans (unless they are nonstick.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In mixer, beat sour cream, brown sugar, and Karo syrup. Add water.
Beat in eggs, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix in flour little by little until batter is smooth.
Stir in apples and pour evenly into both cake pans.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick poked into the center of each cake comes out clean.
Serve with a dollop of clotted or whipped cream.
What is clotted cream?
Clotted cream is a thick cream made by indirectly heating full-cream cow's milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms "clots" or "clouts", hence the name. It forms an essential part of a cream tea. (Wikipedia definition)
Place of origin: England
Alternative names: Clouted cream, Cornish cream, Devonshire cream
Clotted cream is rich and sinfully decadent. If you cannot find it in a store, I suggest online shopping at the English Tea Store (https://www.englishteastore.com/) for all items of the British realm. Browse through the various departments, and a whole new world of culinary adventure awaits you!
Oh, so back to that apple pie filling I told you how to make; or used store bought, but spice it up with more cinnamon; cloves are nice, maybe a dash of cardamom. After putting the cake batter together, first spread out the pie filling on the bottom of the pan, then spread the batter over it. Let it cool completely, loosen the sides of the cake, and flip it out onto a serving dish…Upside Down Apple Gingerbread Cake!
Between the scent and the taste, you will have a warm fuzzy feeling throughout, and might not even need a blanket to feel cozy as the outside temperature begins to cool.