Upcycling Christmas Cards and Apple Snacking Spice Cake

10:50 AM

Apple Snacking Spice Cake

Confession: It's January 12th and our Christmas tree and lights are still up. We are typically not this delinquent when it comes to dismantling our Christmas decorations. I swear! I will shake my head in dismay if I see a Christmas tree out on someone's curb any day past January 2nd. Yeah, yeah. Glass houses and stones - or however that saying goes. So in an effort to not be a total slacker, I've begun by gathering up all the holiday cards for a quick afternoon craft activity with the boys.

Around this time of year, we find ourselves staring at the pile of holiday and photo cards from friends and family near and far, wondering what to do with them. I feel guilty throwing away pictures of our friends' kids and/or pets.  So for the past few years we've trimmed and saved photo cards and file them away in a photo album, only to be taken this time the following year to marvel at how big everyone is getting.

With the holiday cards, I got the boys to work and had them make gift tags for next year's gifts. Got the idea from good 'ol Martha of course. Other ideas include ornaments, gift bags and garland to name a few. The kids love any craft involving sharp tools (yay). And it resulted in a glorious 20-minutes of peace and quiet as they snipped away, turning old Christmas cards into funky-shaped gift tags.

The afternoon of upcycling (my new favorite word - thanks Etsy!) worked up an appetite. Can I introduce you to the a tasty, oh-so-delicious hunger buster courtesy of Joanne Chang? The boys didn't even complain about the good-for-you ingredients in this Apple Spice Cake. It is so good.

Apple Snacking Spice Cake
Adapted from Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, and chopped green apples
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan
  2. Sift together the flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add sugar and butter to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 1 minute with paddle attachment (stopping the mixer a few times to scrape the bowl to make sure butter is mixed in). Add eggs and mix on low for 10-15 seconds. Then turn mixer to medium-high and beat for one minute until batter is light and fluffy.
  3. Fold in apples, raisins and walnuts. Note: the batter will be stiff and thick and it will look like there is not enough batter. This is what it is supposed to look like. Scrape all the batter into prepared pan and spread it evenly to fill the pan.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cake feels firm and top is golden brown. Let cake cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  5. Invert the cake onto a serving plate, then invert again so it's right-side up. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.
The Good: Easy to prepare. Loads of fresh apples and raisins. Boys could not get enough.

The Bad: None!

Grade: A. Have made this several times now. Great for breakfast, snack or dessert (or lunch and dinner too if you're like me).

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