In the midst of a Canadian winter, the beauty of dead hydrangeas is a reminder of what was and what’s to come.
Past mid-February, here in the Northern hemisphere, we are just one month away from spring equinox. Even though the amount by which sunrise and sunset change each day is now perceivable and though the days are becoming noticeably longer, here in Montréal, our streets are lined with huge banks of snow. Playing outside with my youngest this weekend, I couldn’t help notice that there are still a few dried flower heads on my hydrangea tree lurking above the two feet of snow on our front yard -a reminder that far below the lifeless sheet of snow and ice, comfortably and patiently, life awaits.
Present day, we are spoiled with easy access to produce from the world over year round. However, if we choose to eat seasonably, as the early inhabitants here had to do, these wintry months mean relying on what is stored and preserved and even, doing without. But nevertheless, if we choose wisely, great things can be achieved even when we make do. Made with fall harvested, cold room staples, apples and carrots, and pantry items such as apricot preserve, spices and nuts, this cake is a good example of exactly that. Well enjoyed year round but perfect when all there is are dried hydrangeas to remind us of what was, while we, comfortably and patiently, wait for what’s to come.
Spiced Carrot & Apple Cake
- 175 g (about 1 1/4 cups) whole wheat flour (or spelt flour if you prefer)
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp fresh finely grated nutmeg
- 60 ml sunflower seed oil
- 70 g muscovado
- 50 g unrefined cane sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup apricot preserve
- 100 g (or about 1 cup) finely grated carrots
- 75 g (or about 1/2 apple) Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or hazelnuts)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl.
- In the bowl, beat together oil, sugars, eggs and apricot jelly (I actually do it manually).
- Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine.
- Stir in the carrots, apple and nuts using a spatula.
- Pour the batter in a well greased rectangular (10×4 inches) or circular (8.5 inches diameter) cake pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.