For me, the holidays are all about baking.
My mother used to bake tray after tray of cookies for the whole school bus garage during the week before Christmas. One night a year, she would start prepping before we went to bed, and by morning, the table would be covered in cookies, fudge, and other treats. Most would be boxed up for the bus drivers, and the rest would be reserved for Christmas day (unless we could get into them first).
As a young mom and new wife, with little Christmas budget, I fell back on that tradition, gifting relatives with platters full of their favorite treats. I stacked the cookies, fudge, and even homemade marshmallows with care, wrapped them in cellophane, and stuck a bow and card on the top.
Of course, practicality (and budget awareness) turned into tradition. The holidays still mean baking, but now the treats are personalized. Mint marshmallows for a sister, cookies made from an old family recipe for my mother-in-law, peanut butter cookies for my mom.
So, when my Mockmill arrived in the mail, as excited as I was about making bread, I was most intrigued by how it could revolutionize the frantic baking schedule I set in the days leading up to Christmas. Would it be fast enough to keep up with me? Would the freshly milled flour work for cakes, without making the cake too dry or affecting the flavor?
With this perfect excuse to make a cake (although, really, who needs excuses?), I pulled out my ingredients, hooked up my Mockmill, and got started.
When I got done, I had a cake that was moist, flavorful, and not too dense. More than that, my family was getting to enjoy the benefits of freshly milled wheat flour. As a mom who struggles to get her kids to eat anything but white bread, this is no small accomplishment.
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1 overflowing cup of fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature and separated
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) freshly grained wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup buttermilk (No buttermilk? Just mix ⅓ cup of milk with a teaspoon of white vinegar and let it sit for about five minutes)
Mill your flour first. I milled a cup of wheat berries, just to see how much that would make, and I ended up with more than enough flour for this recipe, and part of the next.
Peel, core, and slice your apple, and then set them into the bottom of your greased cake pan. I made a little design with mine. Dump the cranberries on top of the apples,
spread them around a bit, and set them all aside.
Next, it’s time to make your caramel sauce. Put the butter into a saucepan and set the burner to medium. As soon as it starts to get melty, put your brown sugar in and start stirring until it’s smooth. Let it cook for two minutes, and then take it off and pour it over the apples and cranberries.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Cream the butter and then add in the brown sugar. Beat until smooth. Add in the egg yolks (reserve the whites) and vanilla and mix on medium speed until everything is well combined.
In a medium bowl, mix your flour, baking powder, and spices. You can measure out the spices (like you’re supposed to) or just dump some in (like me). I always go a little heavy handed with mine. Stir that all together, and then add it to your butter mix. While that’s mixing, add in your buttermilk.
Take your egg whites and beat them until thick and frothy (just shy of soft peaks), and then carefully add them into the rest of the cake batter.
As soon everything is well blended, pour the batter out onto your caramel apple topping. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Once it’s done, let it cool for 10 minutes, and then flip it upside down onto a cake platter. Let it cool before serving.