Apple Walnut Coconut Pound Cake with Arbequina Olive Oil from Ashley, Meta Street Bungalow
When I asked my sister, Memory, what baked good she recommended I make for guests coming to our house Halloween week, she recommended Apple Pound Cake. Last week’s guests watched me remove and throw out a pan of biscuits with too strong a vinegar flavor. I had substituted milk & vinegar for the buttermilk in the recipe, but the ratio was too high in the apple cider vinegar. “Taste it as you go along,” Jan graciously suggested for next time, as she ate toast with Amish butter & jam instead. “Do we look hungry?” Jan asked. Letting me know that it was perfectly okay if they were not fed at eleven in the morning, that I did not need to pull out the end of the farm loaf I had made a couple of days before. I just really, really wanted to serve something to Jan and her husband, Gil, while they were at my house. I wanted to make something in my kitchen and give it to them. I was channeling my mother.
In my early childhood my mom watched every episode of Little House on the Prairie and the Waltons. By 1979 decided she wanted to live in a small town in Colorado, cook and clean, raise two girls wearing pinafores and bonnets, and experience winter. 1979 was one of the snowiest winters on record in Colorado and my mom was back in California by early spring. However, the desire for the “cabin lifestyle,” experiencing seasons, and to bake bread and give it to friends has remained. Today, my mom lives in a cottage on the Massachusetts coast, heated by a fireplace and equipped with a ladder she climbs down to the basement to do her laundry. She enjoys baking bread and making meals for friends who visit her cottage and garden.
Much of this lifestyle has influenced my sister and me at various times in our lives. As a young adult, Memory worked as a cook for a Dude Ranch in Colorado. She made food for guests in the high country and began a life-list of favorite recipes. This Apple Pound Cake recipe came from a cookbook actually called The Dude Ranch Cookbook. Today, Memory makes small loaves of this cake and wraps them for friends as gifts. One friend, who owns a bistro in her local seaside Massachusetts town, liked it so much, she asked for the recipe to make for her guests.
The “serve warm with ice cream” is not to be dismissed. The cake has a chewy, almost carmel, center, a crunchy outside, and is reminiscent of apple strudel. Sarah’s Chai Tea, below, is an excellent compliment, as well. Be sure to bake the cake long enough that the center does not stick to a toothpick or clean knife. It took my cakes nearly two hours in a 325 oven to completely bake.
It is, also, worth pointing out that I used Arbequina olive oil from We Olive Ventura in this recipe and it brought the cake to spectacular-level. I highly recommend a quality olive oil in cakes. Perhaps it improves a recipe as well as the correct level of vinegar does? I think so. 🍶 It makes a cake worthy of serving to guests, too.
Apple Pound Cake Recipe from Memory, East Gloucester Square
Chai Tea from Sarah, Summerland Kitchen
1 cup milk of choice (I used goat)
1 cup water
1 1/2 tab loose leaf chai tea (we like local Santa Barbara company, Green Star’s, Fireside Chai)
honey to taste (we like San Marcos Farms Honey from Santa Barbara)
Bring water, milk, and tea to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour tea through a fine mesh sieve to remove solids (I just put my mug right underneath the strainer to make it easy). Add honey to taste and enjoy!