08 September 2009

The Scents of Autumn

Little Nib on the Farm

As the weather cools, the season changes and time begins to slow down my itch to spend time in the kitchen intensifies. I start perusing cookbooks for slow cooked recipes; braised meats, roasted vegetables, hearty soups and yummy desserts. Really, it's the desserts that most often catch my eye. Tart apples, moist zucchini, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin. Ah, the flavors of fall are comforting and warm. I enjoy filling my house with the thick smell of baking bread, apples baked into pies and cakes and cinnamon wafting throughout.

I think that smell is the sense that most triggers memories for me. Autumn especially, as we head into the Holiday season, triggers the most intense memories. Mom making jelly in the afternoons; apple, grape, raspberry from her garden, plus peach, pear and strawberry. Apple crisp baking and bubbling in the oven. The house filled with the smell of cinnamon and sugar. Us kids crowding around the stove to eat the jelly 'skin' before mom poured it into the jars. Each of us listening for the 'POP' as the jars seal, excited to be the first to hear them. Bags and bags of apple slices to be used throughout the next year. The sacks of apples fresh picked from our orchard stand waiting to transform into yummy, comforting food.

So this weekend as two friends and I started to bake the mounds of fresh grated zucchini into two separate cakes I felt so content. The zucchini was a free score from the side of the road. The recipes? One from a dear friend and another tested and true from my mom. As the aromas of baking started to drift around us and I was transported back to my mom's kitchen. Watching her as she mixed and poured batter for cakes and bars; amazed as she pulled them out of the oven as solid, sweet, delectable treats. Thankful that I can share all of these memories with LN one day. Feeling content because as BC walked in the door he said, "Ummm, something smells goooood!"

Here are the recipes for the cakes I mentioned above. Because really? They are that good.

Zucchini Cake
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 c shredded zucchini

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 round cake pans or a 13x9 rectangular pan.

2. Beat sugar, oil & eggs until blended. Add remaining ingredients except zucchini. Beat for about 1 minute. Stir in zucchini. Pour into pans.

3. Bake rounds 30-35 minutes, rectangle 40-45 minutes. Cool & frost.

Browned Butter Frosting
1/3 c butter
3 c powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until light brown in color. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar & slowly add in milk until it reaches the desired consistency. Frost cake.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Prepare 2.5 cups of shredded zucchini

Preheat your over to 325 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 pan.

Cream together 1/2c of butter, 1/2c oil (vegetable or olive), 1 3/4c sugar until fluffy. Then beat in 2 eggs and 1tsp vanilla.

Add to this mixture 2 1/2c flour, 1/4c cocoa, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt. Stir in 1/2c buttermilk*. Stir in zucchini. Sprinkle with 6oz of chocolate chips and 3/4c chopped nuts (opt).

Bake for 55 mins.

*Out of buttermilk? Put 1tbsp, per cup of buttermilk you need, of white vinegar/lemon juice in the bottom of your measuring cup and fill the rest with milk. Let set. The vinegar/lemon will curdle the milk and give you a good fake out buttermilk!

What scents trigger memories for you?
Favorite fall recipes?


  1. Yum! I will be cooking these soon!

  2. You should! The mamas had them this morning and oh Lord! they are good!



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