Words to describe this book:
Whimsical. Romantic. Sweet. It’s about love and cake after all.
Light as a feather illustrations, full of charm. A boy who wants to win the heart of a girl who reads. That about sums it up.
(click image(s) to enlarge)
Paschkis started with her great grandmother’s apple cake recipe and took it, well, to the land of imagination through her illustrations. Alfonso gets butter from the sun and salt from the sea and bakes the cake with the fiery breath of a dragon.
This is the original recipe card! Not from Paschkis’s great grandmother, but from her own mother. The recipe though is the same one, passed down.
Can you guess what happens next?! Ida and Alfonso eat the cake together!!!
One last thing, Julie Paschkis is part of an exhibition of Children’s Book Illustrators in Washington at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art from now until February 22nd. It’s called “Points of Entry” and by happenstance I think I’ll be able to stop in on a trip to Seattle this winter. So while I hope you can make it to the show yourself, if not, I’ll report back!
Thanks to Julie Paschkis for images!
“Staying true to the book, I used 1 green apple (Granny Smith) and 2 sweet ones (Honeycrisp) in this Apple Tea Cake recipe. The sour apple is mixed into the cake batter while the 2 sweet apples are cubed, dusted generously with cinnamon sugar, and scattered over the top of the cake to create a rustic topping.
My personal ingredient addition not included in the original recipe of the book is buttermilk. The baked apples meld together with the buttermilk based cake batter to create an almost custard-like texture to the cake–moist, tender, and deliciously creamy!”
Apple Tea Cake
Makes 1-8″ cake.
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Honeycrisp, Gala, or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2″ cubes
sifted powdered sugar for serving (optional)
8″ baking pan (I used a spring form for easy removal), sprayed with non-stick spray
large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
peeler and paring knife
small heart-shaped cookie cutter (optional)
1.) Make the Cake Base. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the 1 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, cream the 4 Tbsp of butter and 1/3 cup of sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix them in. Gradually add the flour mix into the butter mixture until barely incorporated. Gently mix the Granny Smith apple chunks into the batter, then pour the batter into the baking pan. Use the back of the rubber spatula to smooth and even out the batter. Set aside.
2.) Make the Apple Topping. Place the Honeycrisp apple chunks into the medium bowl. Pour the remaining 2 Tbsp of melted butter over the apples, then dust with the cinnamon and sugar. Toss the apples so that all the spice, sugar, and butter is evenly distributed. Topple apples over the cake batter evenly, then lightly press them in so that they adhere to the top surface of the cake.
3.) Finish the Cake. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden, the apples look slightly dry, and a toothpick comes out clean. Wait for the cake to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the baking pan. Dust the top of the cake with sifted powdered sugar just before serving. For an optional decorative touch, top the cake with red apple heart cut-outs. Enjoy!
Looks amazing right? And the apple heart on top?! Whimsical, romantic, and sweet—just like the book!
Pop over to Thirsty for Tea to see what tea Bonnie recommends to sip with this one. She knows her stuff.