Simplicity and Rum

In the aftermath of last weekend’s Tart Challenge (fabulous but INCREDIBLY labor intensive), I decided to finally begin my ABC Baking Expedition. Unfortunately, I didn’t come up with this idea until after I’d toiled over the Babka. Soo…that one can’t count for my “B.” Because in my linear world…an alphabet baking challenge begins with “A” and there are no deviations.

Poring over recipes, it quickly came to light that whatever I was baking was going to have apples in it. In fact, if one of you lovely readers has an idea for a bake that starts with “a” that doesn’t have apples in it, please feel free to comment or send a message! And so my mind instantly roamed to the “difficile” category of baking. The decadent, the exotic, the difficult. Apple Frangipane Cake. Apple Crisp Cheesecake. Apple Pot Pies with a hand-raised hot water crust.

That’s when the voice of reason rang through all the squalor. I am not sure whose voice it was in my head…one of my friends…my husband? Could have been one of the kids for sure. But while I am not sure of the voice’s origin, I am clear about the message. “Keep It Simple…don’t you know the acronym? Do you not remember last week’s Tart Extravaganza with the endless dishes in the sink and the sweat over the oven and the exhaustion that followed?”

Ahhh. Yes, yes, I do. Vividly.

And so whomever it was that whispered that into my ear, I can only say merci beaucoup and tell you that French Apple Cake is not only simple, it is one of the most delicious apple recipes I’ve ever made. In my this-weekend-laziness, I have inadvertently stumbled upon a recipe that will forever hold a place in my “Back Pocket” recipe list. You know, the recipes you keep in your back pocket in case you have to whip something stunning up for a last minute get together or you’ve just gotten short on time and there is a Friendsgathering later this evening that you inadequately planned for.

The experience led me down a philosophical path (which, of course, most things do) and the fact that one of the most simple recipes I’ve ever made turned out to be one of the most delicious as well was not lost on me. Not in the least.

In our efforts to dazzle, to outdo, to create something above and beyond, we often lose sight of the simple. Not just in baking, but in everything. Certainly there is grand value to a multi-day 465 mile bike ride. But there is equal beauty in a 10 mile ride about town with a picnic halfway through. Running a marathon on the Continental Divide Trail at 11,000 feet is an incredible experience. And so is running a 5k that benefits rescue pups or donates food to those in need. Going on vacation to the ocean is a lovely adventure. So is spending spring break exploring your own backyard.

All of life has the potential to be beautiful. From a perfectly golden and crispy-crusted grilled cheese to a decadent three tier brown sugar pavlova. Keeping it simple as a general rule is actually what makes those more luxurious moments even sweeter than you’d originally imagined. There is equal importance in both.

Here is the recipe for the simple French Apple Cake. It’s from a favorite site of mine called “Once Upon a Chef.” I have yet to go wrong with a recipe from this website, created by a woman who is both a classically trained chef and a mom (lucky kids!!).

The only thing I would change in the recipe is that while it asks for 3 tablespoons of dark rum, the flavor of the rum gets lost in the bake. Next time I bake it (which will be quite soon, actually…springtime party season is right around the corner!), I am going to double the rum and give it a go.

So actually…I come away from this writing with two pieces of baking advice that apply equally to life: 1) Keep It Simple, and 2) Double the Rum and Give it a Go.

1 thought on “Simplicity and Rum”

  1. I’m still trying to bake those “healthier” recipes and shed unwanted pounds. So, my homemade, experimental protein bars, using ingredients on hand was my project today. It was a great baking day, for whatever one wanted! Not an ideal day for outdoor adventures! Glad you found a winner of a recipes! As always, I enjoyed reading about your culinary capers!

    Liked by 1 person

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