To every season there is a time, and in every season there's to joys to be had; or a cake moist and dense and delightful for Autumn
Last weekend the clocks went back one hour, and all I've seen and read and heard around me are people complaining of how they hate it. How they hate that the days are shorter - in reality, they're not, they have the same amount of hours! Try getting up when the sun rises. - and that when they leave work it's already getting dark, and how when they get home night seems to have set in and that leaves them tired and listless and not wanting to do anything at all except have dinner and go to sleep.
I always feel rather amazed at these comments, that leave a sense of strangeness in me, as if I didn't belong to this world, because I simple adore the turn of the clocks. I love it that when we reach this time of year, and days are colder and brisker, and the skies are grey and the leaves are falling, and rain is coming down in quick showers or heavy downpours, I adore it that the day begins to fade sooner. As I also adore that moment come March when the sun seems to be brighter in the sky, and its rays seem warmer and the clocks turn back again, and now the daylight seems to last longer, as if in order to allow us to marvel at the shooting buds up in the trees, and the nature that starts to wake up all around us.
I rather like things in their appropriate timing, I guess. I can remember a year when the clocks did not go back, so we could catch up with the rest of Europe - except for the UK - and I remember I started my classes at college by 8 a.m. everyday. I left home in the dead of night, and usually saw (or rather slept right through it) the sunrise from my train seat. I hated it. I felt sad and depressed that I had to get up from bed in darkness and that the sun was not up yet when I got into the train. I couldn't care less if the days were longer, and if sunset took place after six p.m., it was cold outside, and I didn't find it enticing to go for a walk in the park, say, or a stroll down the beach by six in the afternoon, when winds would be blowing hard, bitter cold air into my clothes, when rain might be falling down non stop, when the air was ripe with frost. I would be home, drinking tea and cozying up with a blanket. No matter how late the sun might set.
See, I feel that there is a time for everything, and a time for wanting to do certain things, a run to things, I might say, that is only natural, that is ruled by the turning of seasons and nature. Fall and Winter, with their colder temps and their grey skies, call for a longer amount of time spent indoors, for the wrapping of throws around our bodies, for sitting down with good books, for busying ourselves in the kitchen taking longer in the making of soul warming and comforting food, that will help us keep warm and keep moving. It calls for fairy lights and tea candles, it calls for red wines and warm cakes, it calls for bowls of soup and mugs of hot, steaming tea. It calls for the comforts of home, and for longer nights in the cozyness of your family and your hearth and your heart. It calls for love shared inside, reconnecting with those that share your life. It calls for darkness so you can be the ones making light.
And the same goes for Spring and Summer, when the light is out there and it is your job to catch every single ray and indulge in the warmth and energy of the sun, those are times for the outside, for the lighter food, for the fresh and cool, for savouring raw treats, refreshing ingredients, going for things that are easy and casual and enticing and exciting and that push you out there into the world, where you can feel revived by the creeping warmth that settles upon the soil and the sand and the green grass coming to life, and the chirping birds every morning that greet the new day, and that bite into a strawberry or the first peaches, the salads and the seafood and the ice on your drink and that glass of chilled white wine in your hand on that special occasion. There is a time for everything to be enjoyed, and to me, that time is ever encased in nature's rotations, in the seasons and their differences, and if you look carefully and open your heart to it, you will find joy in those shorter days and longer nights, as you will find joy in those earlier morning rises and one less hour spent in bed.
I dunno, it must be the witch in me that is so attuned to nature's turns, and that makes me revel in these things as opposite to others, maybe I am just so out of tune with my times, society in general, longing to live life in a way that is just not practical these days. Maybe that is what pushes me into trying to make do out of everything, and always making the most ou of every ingredient, like this quince jelly we made a month ago and that I had not yet used in anything. It served to top this beautiful cake my husband invented, and now I can deliver the recipe. Trust me when I say this cake is a rare treat, and it does not in any way need the jelly atop, being so moist and dense and full of flavour as it is, but the jelly does complement it and brings out the almond and the sweetness of the carrots and the apples, and quite frankly, it just makes it look darn good. I'm all for the aesthetics if I'm anything at all, and I cannot turn away from beauty.
So, without further ado, here's the recipe for this jewel of a cake:
- 120 gr flour
- 100 gr caster sugar
- 100 gr butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large carrot (or two medium sized ones)
- 1 medium sized apple
- 1 pinch of almond extract
- quince jelly to glaze and dried rose petals
Turn on the oven at 180º, and line a round 16 cm tin with butter and flour. Grate the carrot and apple to a fine pulp and set aside. Cream the butter with the sugar until it's soft and pale. Add the flour, baking powder and eggs, alternating between them, and once they're all mixed in and the batter is fluffy, add the almond extract, the carrot and the apple, folding softly. Pour int the tin and allow to bake in the oven for about 50m (it might go up to an hour, eventually) testing at the 45m mark with a skewer. Once it's baked, allow to cool for ten minutes inside the tin, then take it out and let cool completely on a rack. Once the cake has reached room temperature, you can add a layer of the quince jelly to the top, and scatter some dried roses and petals over it, and it's done! Hope you enjoy!