I’ve been walking the past week or so — I suppose I could say hiking as I do set out from the Bear Valley Trail in the Seashore and go up to Divide Meadow, though it is so comfortable of a journey it doesn’t much feel like work. I have about a week until I’m cleared to run again and I’m slowly re finding muscles that have been neglected this past month. The air is cool and crisp, infused with that effervescent coastal breeze and the scent of bay leaves mixed with the little stream that winds its way through the woods. I am able to slip away sans children for an hour or so and it’s been so precious. We need these little bits of time for ourselves, especially during these early, sweet, oh-so-needy years.
We’ve been treated this past week to a glorious string of Indian Summer days; yesterday a big group of us trouped down to Shell Beach on Tomales Bay and it was full of sunbathers and swimmers on the last summer Sunday of the season. I haven’t spent an early fall in California in years and had almost forgotten how wonderful it is. These are the clear, starry nights with a harvest moon slung bright and low over the hills that make up for July’s foggy, chilly mornings.
There are still strawberries at the local farmers’ market – California being a produce paradise especially now – and I picked up a basket last weekend to tuck into a cake. We’ve had a fairly steady stream of visitors to our little spot here in West Marin and I have gotten into an easy routine of offering good fresh bread and cheeses, veggie snacks and fruit for the kids, and some sort of homemade baked item. Apple cake, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, strawberry cake, etc. …
This version is slightly coconutty from the use of coconut oil though you could use vegetable oil instead if you like. Honey instead of sugar is a standout here, plus plenty of whole grain flour. The strawberries infuse the cake with the delicate flavor of spring yet slices are sturdy enough to tuck into your pocket for a mid-walk fortification if you’re so lucky to find a breezy, sunny spot in which to sit for a bit and listen to the birds. And the quiet.
As usual, you may substitute all purpose flour for the spelt flour. Start with 1/2 cup honey and taste for sweetness; increase if necessary.
Makes 10 servings.
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2-3/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid
About 2 cups chopped strawberries
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, and eggs, stirring and whisking until well blended. Add the flours, baking powder, and cinnamon, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir well to incorporate. Keep stirring until it forms a smooth batter. Stir in the apples. Pour and scrape the batter into a buttered 9-inch round cake pan or a very well-buttered bundt pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.