I spent Sunday afternoon crouched over the kitchen sink at my parents' house doing penance.  Penance for what exactly?  For not listening to my gut.  For being a long-suffering softie who knows better but never ultimately acts on that knowledge.  Or maybe it was for letting things get out of the bounds of good sense and reason.  We all have our emotional moments but mine tend to erupt like Vesuvius with equally devastating results, although typically only to me.  In either case, if you're ever looking to do penance, sit yourself down (or stand if you're feeling extra cruel) and peel yourself some vegetables, fruit, and gourds.  Along with half a dozen fuji apples, I also peeled one impossible acorn squash and an absurdly large butternut squash.  Luckily, the penance that I inflict upon myself results in tasty treats for others and a fall recipe that is good enough to share with you all.  So here you have it, Rooth's penance French apple cake...

Penance French Apple Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe

Ingredients:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Fuji apples
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
3/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray inside of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray, like PAM.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.

Peel the apples, cut in quarters, and remove the cores. Slice the apples and cut into one inch chunks.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until they are foamy. Add the sugar, rum, vanilla, cardamom, and lemon zest and whisk to blend.  Add in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth batter. Gently fold in the apples and make sure the fruit is well-incorporated. Pour the mix into the pan and smooth out the top with the spatula.

Depending on your oven, bake for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Carefully run a paring knife around the edges of the cake to loosen and then open and remove the sides of the springform pan.  Allow the cake to cool, if you have the patience, or just slice hot and eat it right then and there.

Penance sure does taste delicious (and like fall).