It’s the end of November. This has always been a hard time of the year for me, and while I hesitate to claim full-blown SAD (Seasonal something Disorder), there is no doubt that each year I struggle to beat back the November blues. Out here in Gaspé we are in the wrong time zone, so it gets dark at about 2 in the afternoon. My girls wake me up at 5 am so it’s dark when I wake up, too. That, along with the general dreariness of the month, with its leafless trees, snow-less ground, and chilly, humid, spittling air, adds up to a pretty bleak time of year.
One November a few years ago I was having a particularly stressful time due to work, and I decided that getting pregnant and going on maternity leave would be the perfect solution to the November Blues. Well, look where that got me! Now it’s dark, humid, and chilly, and the spittling is coming from the baby AND the air. And the spit is a bit more milky and viscous.
While I can say from experience that having babies is NOT an appropriate therapy for the November Blues and most likely not for SAD either, there are advantages to being on maternity leave in November: When one is on mat leave, one probably has more time for the following proven effective therapies:
not necessarily in that order.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for you and it is recommended to fight depression. It’s true that after a good run I almost always feel a lot better, and the effect lasts all day. Great! Now I have the energy to make cake!
Why cake is good:
1) In November we have incredible carb urges (it’s that hibernation thing) and cake fits that bill perfectly: Both complex AND simple carbs in one delicious slice! Not that you have to limit yourself to one!
2) Cake goes really well with hot drinks. Morning tea, mid-morning latte, after-lunch coffee, mid-afternoon latte, and afternoon tea are each and all more than capable of washing down cake.
3) Making cake is a good activity for my self-esteem cause I only have myself to please. Ben doesn’t eat it (but gets pissed when there’s none left and he hasn’t had any) and we try to limit The Demon’s cake intake. The Angel doesn’t eat cake, or anything besides milk, yet. I therefore am able to maintain low expectations re: who’s going to fall over my creation with glad cries. Dinner, which often takes a lot more planning, creativity, and work, and time on my part, is subject to much higher expectations (This time Ben will notice it! This time The Demon will eat it! This time I will taste it!), which are rarely, if ever, fulfilled. So – cake it is. All for me.
Today I made this yummy spice cake inspired by a recipe in the Autumn edition of the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine:
I had some apples given to me that I had to use and so I had, y’know, just whipped up some applesauce, which I used in place of some of the sugar and fattyfat to sweeten the cake and give it an apple-y hint.
Here’s the recipe! You can use up to a cup of sugar (up to you) and 1 cup of yogurt/sour cream if you don’t have/want applesauce.
Spiced Apple Cake with Maple Walnut Glaze
Grease a 9” square pan or springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350oF.
|1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
|mix all of these in a medium sized bowl.
(can use all AP flour if you like)
|½ cup softened butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
|(can be 1 cup sugar if not using applesauce)
Using an electric mixer , beat the butter with the sugar till fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat till blended.
|½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt1 cup applesauce||(can be 1 cup sour cream or yogurt if not using applesauce)|
|½ cup walnuts
Stir 1/3 flour mixture into butter mixture, then alternate with half the sour cream/applesauce. Repeat till all the flour and goo are mixed in (Make 3 flour additions and 2 applesauce/sour cream additions.) The mixture will be quite thick. Spread it into the prepared pan and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Bake 30-35 minutes, check with a tester (it should come out clean).
Remove the cake and drizzle with maple syrup. Dee-lish warm with a latte… or tea…