Quick & Easy Cakes for Fall Fruit

Late September Anchorage Color, Photo by Teeny Metcalfe

We stepped off the plane in Anchorage a month ago. The sun was shining brightly; the air crisp and cold. Our clothing, suitable for 75°F weather we left behind in Greece, left us shivering in Alaska.

We were one of the last to pass customs; our suitcases, fully packed with delicious Greek ingredients (including 30 pounds of cheeses), attracted intense governmental scrutiny. We helplessly stood by while a neophyte customs agent mauled delicate cheeses, sticking his thumb through their centers. Puzzled, he gave the cheese to a more senior agent for scrutiny, who immediately approved its entry. At long last, all our food passed muster, albeit a little worse for wear.

Because of the customs hold up, we missed the normal 30-people-fighting-for-10-taxis that happens after every international flight lands in Anchorage. Tired and relieved, we stepped into a waiting taxi and headed home.

Anchorage was awash with color: the sky, brilliant blue; the trees, gloriously gold. The mountains surrounding the city were deep green and snowless.

A month later, the trees are bare and the mountaintops dusted with snow. Anchorage’s one-month autumn is nearly over. Every day we hear snow is imminent, but so far it hasn’t yet fallen. Today it’s raining, so maybe tonight is the night.

Since we’ve been back, supermarket produce sections have been overflowing with fall fruits. I was excited to find a box of Italian prune plums at Costco, a variety well suited for baking and only available in the fall. Crisp, new season apples and pears are starting to show up. They’re excellent for eating out-of-hand and full of fresh juices perfect for pies, crisps, and cakes.

With all the fall fruit that’s landed in my kitchen, I’ve been doing a lot of baking. So far, my favorite treats are a pair of simple to mix, one-bowl cakes that are packed with fruit and wonderful flavor: Plum Torte and Quick Apple Cake.

If you only have time to make one, I’d go for the Plum Torte, perhaps made with wild blueberries. Unless, that is, you have this year’s apples, then I’d make Quick Apple Cake. You could make both, like I did. And quickly give them away, like I did, lest I eat an entire cake all by myself. Don’t laugh; they’re both that good.

Young Bull Moose Battling on Our Front Lawn, a Fall Ritual

Be sure to check out the recipes mentioned in this post:


17 Responses to Quick & Easy Cakes for Fall Fruit

  1. my little expat kitchen says:

    30 pounds of cheeses? Incredible. I only to manage to bring from Greece about 2 kilos—and 5 kilos of various other goodies.
    Both cakes sound great but i would definitely go for the plum torte. I love prunes.
    I can't believe that last photo. What an amazing thing to see happening in front of your house!

  2. my little expat kitchen says:

    ehm prunes? ok I love them too but I meant plums 🙂

  3. bellini valli says:

    Greece and Alaska both have their appeal ant time of year. Customs is getting more and more sticky. You can imagine the scrutiny when I take my walking poles (which won't fit in my suitcase…rats). There must be contraband stuck inside the numbe of tiomes they scan them and ask me about them. As for the cakes I see them in my future.

  4. Well shoot, I don't know which one I'll make first. Still drooling over your kale gallette which I'll be making perhaps this weekend. And WHAT 30 lbs of tyri?! Bravo sou for making it past customs with that bounty. You got some slick moves!

  5. I saw this apple cake on Maya's blog and thought it looked really great, too… Do you have any suggestions for adapting it to be gluten-free? The small amount of flour in it makes me want to give it a shot. I might try 🙂

  6. Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul says:

    Our quarantine guys are just as strict when it comes to bringing in imported foods…I totally understand your frustration though. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes Laurie..I'm always on the look out for sweet recipes with fruits in them. The apple cake sounds divine!

  7. Hi Jenny! I agree, this cake would be pretty easy to make gluten-free. As for a gluten-free, all-purpose flour substitute, here's the best discussion of it (and gluten-free baking in general) that I've run across: http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2010/06/gluten-free-rhubarb-muffins.html
    Good luck!

  8. These look wonderful!! And you've given me a few ideas for gluten free/Megan friendly goodies! MMmm….

  9. Mediterranean kiwi says:

    beautiful post, it evokes the meaning of autumn very well – fall fruits are top on my list, with summer veges and spring greens following, which leaves just winter to contemplate: dont let the imminent snowfall dash your hope!

    ps do you freeze the cheeses?

  10. kitchen roach/galley roach says:

    no moose sightings here, yet. I will try the plum cake, sounds delicious- though we hardly can get good fruits in our town.

  11. Hi, Laurie.
    Thank you so much for mentioning my blog in your AKFoodNew Tweet (I'm the baker whose is trying to figure out how to get a job as a cook on the f/v Northwestern.) The more people who know, perhaps the better my chances are that Sig will pay a visit to my blog. I can't thank you enough!

    Also, your plum torte looks scrumptious! It's hard to find a good recipe that incorporates plums. I can't wait to try this!

    Hopefully your cheese made it home without too much damage. I'm so jealous of you if it's feta! I could live on feta and tomatoes.

    Thanks again! It really is a small world, I'm so glad I discovered your blog. 🙂

  12. foodjunkie.eu says:

    Fall fruits are such great joy to bake with. Both these cakes looks amazing. They have been bookmarked for future use. Especially since they require almost no effort at all!

  13. I know the customs agent poking around your Greek delights must have been frustrating but it's great that everything passed through. NY customs agents are known to take items such as those away.

    I love seeing the Italian plums overflow the markets during fall. That plum torte looks wonderful and I will save this recipe for next years bounty!

  14. ♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ says:

    I love an apple cake thats overloaded with apples and this one sure hits the rite spot!
    I love how its moist and the top crust cracks!!
    All fantastic and u sure have a fantastic blog!

  15. ♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ says:

    Have been trying to add to my prev comment but my internet troubled me so!
    so here am i again!!
    Everything works for the good and here ur customs delay ,gave u some comfort in the taxi:-)
    Well u sound like me , i once had around 60 pounds of local mangoes {goan} with me and had to pay alot for it !
    How exciting to pick all that stuff!!!
    Am in love with both ur recipes here and will be tryn thm too!

  16. I love mediterranean food.
    The recipe for Bev`s Apple Cake sounds very delcious! I will try it!

  17. Mediterranean Turkish Cook says:

    Glad everything went through the customs at the end without anyting being confiscated. My parents had a similar experience when they were visiting me.

    The plum torte sounds really good! I need to experiment with baking with fruits a little more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *