Have you ever participated in a race even if you know that you won’t be the winner? For me, the answer is definitely “Yes!” and I should admit not just for once. Good part is that it provides the opportunity to maximize the fun you will get out of it without pushing yourself too hard. Considering the norms of modern life dictating us to compete with others, to win over, to become invincible with all similar “Impossible is nothing!” like mottos flying all over, sometimes it is relaxing to have “Enjoying is everything” attitude.
Such sort of thoughts was wandering in my mind when we set off for our trip at dawn to join the Anatolian ski marathon a week before. I knew that I was not about to complete almost 40km racetrack but with snow covered hills and magnificent trees spread all over the place, I was was going to have a good time, fur sure. Did I mention the ultrahigh oxygen level? Believe it or not even inhaling this fresh air is worth waking up at 05:00 am.
We had to carry all our equipment: our very tall and narrow cross country skis, boots, poles, garments and no need to say lots of energizing food stuff to recharge our bodies during a cold day in the mountain full of physical activities. If you could see us, you would probably think that we decided to move in to a cave at the mountain top and to live there for the rest of our lives. Particularly food was the leading item we exaggerated a bit too much. I cannot give you a proper list but from little savoury snacks to mini muffins, sponge cake to orange cookies, dried fruits to bananas, we had almost everything as if we were running away from a hurricane and there was no coming back home!
The snow flake shaped sponge cake was the big hit of the day with its soft texture and delightful apple filling inside. It is not difficult to bake but takes some time to decorate the top, if you want it to be a little fancy like I do.
Sponge cake itself is based on a classical English recipe, however, there is no rule for inner filling. I wanted to use cooked apples and cinnamon but you might use other ingredients: raspberries and heavy cream, chocolate ganache and banana, apricot purée or your favourite jam, you name it.
There is no trick in baking this cake, so as long as you follow the below mentioned steps you won’t fail. Few things you should pay attention are:
- make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature, and
- do not over mix while folding the dry ingredients into egg mixture. (This is all about chemistry of baking which I will tell you in another post.)
Now, I know that you wonder what happened at the end, so here comes the results: I can honestly tell you that I managed to ski around 8,5 km. That was far better than last year, taking into account the very steep hill I managed to climb twice on my skis instead of other entrants sliding back towards me. A scary moment!
As a result, I was not able to complete the marathon but still felt like a winner. After all it was the day of taking easy, the day of no rush and no push. I remembered once more that life has lots of good things to offer for ones who can slow down for a while and enjoy the moment by getting rid of their ambitions. So, sometimes losing the game might be pleasant like a piece of cake. Just enjoy!
For sponge cake
Following combination ends up with a batter to fill almost ¾ of a silicon mold which has a total volume of 800ml, you may increase the ingredients by keeping the ratios if you are using a larger mold)
- 120 g (4.2 oz) unsalted butter (cubed)
- 120 g (4.2 oz) sugar
- 120 g (4.2 oz) all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
For Apple Filling
- 2 mid-sized green apples (grated)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
For Icing (optional)
- 25 g (0.87 oz) labne cheese
- 10 g (0.35 oz) confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
For sponge cake
|1.||Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).|
|2.||Beat well the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and pale, add vanilla extract while beating.|
|3.||Add eggs little at a time while mixing, if the mixture begins to curdle 1-2 tablespoon of the flour.|
|4.||Add eggs little at a time while mixing, if the mixture begins to curdle 1-2 tablespoon of the flour.|
|5.||Sift the flour and combine with baking powder and salt then fold into the egg mixture using a spatula. Do not overmix, when all the ingredients are incorporated that means it’s done.|
|6.||Grease your silicon mold generously if the mold has some patterns on it (like the snowflake pattern on the one I used) and pour in the batter.|
|7.||Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean then cool on a wire rack.|
For Apple Filling
|1.||Transfer the grated apples into a small saucepan set over medium heat.|
|2.||Add sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.|
|3.||Stir frequently until the apples are cooked and get a translucent brown color.|
|4.||Keep aside to cool.|
For Icing (optional)
|1.||Whisk the labne cheese with confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice until it has a creamy and smooth texture you may add a little water if you cannot reach the right consistency.|
For the whole cake
|1.||Cut the cake into two layers and spread the apple filling on the bottom layer.|
|2.||Place the upper piece and press lightly to merge.|
|3.||If you like you can decorate your cake with the icing mentioned above.|