It turns out that when your pregnant you become fair game to weight/size related comments. I didn’t sign up for this. Sure, I signed up for the weight gain alright, the complimentary back ache too plus the water retention, the low immune system, nose bleeds….you know standard pregnancy symptoms- but comments on my weight…nope didn’t sign up for that. When has it ever okay to comment on a woman’s weight and where she carries it? Apparently, when one is pregnant. I think Don is more excited anticipating my belly button popping out than the baby (it’s going to happen). Maybe people think that they’re being funny or cute but asking a pregnant girl if she’s sure she’s not having twins is not such a knee-slapper when you happen to be said pregnant girl. Also if you’re going to make comments like that then you sure as hell better give up your seat because my back hurts from carrying all this extra weight around. I have a work colleague who thinks it’s hilarious to say that I’m eating for three (I’m not). Yesterday he ate an enormous slice of chocolate cake for breakfast…so I asked him if he was eating for three now too.
I worked on a Macy’s ad recently. We made Martha Stewart’s Sour Cherry Coffee Crumb Cake from the Baking Handbook to photograph on a new cake stand. I like coffee cake- I adore the crumbs. I don’t understand why there isn’t coffee in it like the name suggests but I can get over that, it’s just too darn good to spend time worrying about it. Coffee cake reminds me of an old friend I had growing up. She always had Entenmann’s coffee cake in the house…the kind of thing we would never have in ours. I loved the buttery crumb topping- the cake I could frankly do without. Martha’s cake used sour cherries, we used frozen black cherries on the shoot- I decided any fruit could be used and apples won. The fact that they are the only fruit in the market right now made it a pretty easy choice. I like how the fruit sits in a single layer- it varies up the textures- cake, then apples, more cake, then crumb topping…you can’t just take a nibble of this cake, you have to have a slice. Heck why not make it an uneven three slices. I didn’t have sour cream so I used buttermilk and the texture turned out much lighter than the original. I added a hint of orange, keeping the cinnamon just in the crumb topping so as not to overpower the cake with spices and cut down on the sugar. I also added oats and whole wheat flour to the topping- making it more like how I make a fruit crumble. I’m a fan of this cake…..and I’m pretty sure baby is too. That’s baby singular.
Apple coffee crumb cake
Makes one 9 inch cake- can be made in a tube pan
For the crumbs
300g/ 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
300g/2 1/2 cups flour (mix of plain and whole wheat)
150g/ 3/4 cup light brown soft sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
75g/ scant 1 cup rolled oats
for the cake
260g/ 2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
110g/1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g/ 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest 1/2 orange
1 cup buttermilk (or yogurt or sour cream)
1 average sized apple- i like something sour like Bramley or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes(about 1 1/2 cups)
for the icing
65g/ 2/3 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
zest 1/2 orange
enough orange juice to make a nice drizzle (about 1/2)
• Prepare a 9inch/23cm cake tin by greasing with oil and then lining the bottom with parchment/greaseproof paper and re-greasing. Heat the oven to 18oc/350F/Gas 4. Make the crumble topping- mix together your dry ingredients (minus the oats) and then rub the butter in, using the heat of your hands to soften the butter and make clumps. Add the oats and squeeze between your fingers to make different sized clumps. Measure out 2 cups and freeze the rest for a crumble topping for fruit or scones or another cake.
• For the cake sift together the flour, raising agents and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract on a medium speed until light and fluff- 2-3 minutes. Beat in the orange zest. Add the 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the buttermilk, then 1/3 flour then the remaining buttermilk followed by the remaining flour. Beating gently in between ingredient additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
• Spoon half of the batter into your prepared pan. Arrange the apple cubes in a single layer, making sure that they don’t touch the sides of the pan (they will stick and burn). Top with the remaining batter, spreading so that it’s smooth and even. Sprinkle over the crumble topping.
• Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched- about an hour. Rotate the pan half way through cooking. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before tryint to remove from the tin.
• Meanwhile, make the glaze by sifting the sugar into a bowl and adding the orange zest and drizzling over a little juice as you whisk until you have the desired consistency- don’t add too much at once you will probably only need 2 tablespoons. Drizzle over the cake and slice up!