I am dedicating this classic coffee cake inspired autumn dish and blog post to one of my favourite Hot Pink Apron readers, Stephanie. She is one of my most committed readers – including my adoring husband. I know this because she often comments on posts with enthusiastic response and positive reviews and always has a way of making the effort seem worthwhile. Meanwhile Brett looks at me blankly when I quiz him on the Pumpkin Pie Biscotti 😉 (I’m kidding, of course, I wouldn’t want to re-live the sometimes neurotic crazy of my kitchen if I were him either).
Stephanie, you left I comment on an older blog post titled “Easy Etiquette” weeks ago and I owe you a response. Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I have been busy taking myself WAY TOO seriously lately. Since attending a social networking conference, a few weeks back, I have spent far too much time analyzing and promoting the Hot Pink Apron brand, trying to define what this is and where I can take it from here. The whole business side of things has taken up so much time that I haven’t actually been creating and working on the content itself. I’ve come to the realization that readers will come (and go) but my love is for inspiring through food and I can’t allow myself to become so distracted by the external elements to not being doing just that. The details can work themselves out, one reader comment at a time. So, let’s get to yours:
“Am I a stalker if I leave a comment on every single post? lol Also, do you believe in censorship of comments? By censorship I don’t mean the obvious of cursing and trolls. I mean, should people stick to the old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”? I’m kind of on the fence about it myself. I feel like if one has a public blog, one should expect, and is leaving oneself open to, critique (relative to the subject at hand). Then again, I can see how, as a blogger, one might not want to deal with that, and just be showered with compliments all the time. What do you think?”
I think we are living in a brand new world open to many personal theories of what is “right” and “wrong” and there is very little precedent set for ‘proper online conduct’. From the safety of their living rooms, people can naturally be cruel before kind and because of that I always brace myself for negativity each time I click the “Publish” button. I also really do celebrate any compliments posted here, on facebook and/or twitter feeds. Ultimately, I want visitors to consider Hot Pink Apron a fun, positive, inspiring website; to visit, possibly learn a thing or two and become a part of a food-loving community.
From my experience, when given the opportunity to vent, people will, but very few want to be the only one seen as the “asshole” in any space. For example, during my brother’s travels across the east coast last summer, he met some fellow tourists on a beach and, after a few drinks, recorded a cover of a Bon Iver song. The clip made it’s way to YouTube and almost instantly received nasty, hateful comments from the very committed Bon Iver following. “I want to punch you in the face.” “Fuck you man. you should be set on fire”, “I kinda wanna disembowel you.” Really fucked up comments/threats from some clearly angry people. Here’s the really interesting thing though, once a user made a positive comment, the masses followed. After a series of nasty remarks, one person actually complimented his voice and from then on the following comments (even from the insulted ones) were less life-threatening and much more pleasant. “Sad thing is you could probably make a really good cover of this song. You’re voice is really nice aside from making fun of such a beautiful song”. Check out the clip and comments for yourself at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWl9cs_22hc
The question remains, do I believe in censoring comments on hotpinkapron.com? Yes and No. The time will come that negative comments will be posted to this site and I will likely not censor them. I am not a Chef. I’m not a Certified Dietician, or an Acclaimed Food Writer (yet). I am a lover of food with a website and just the right dose of self-indulgence to share my personal food adventures with the world wide web. I will not censor a comment correcting a technique or offering constructive criticism and will do my best to just accept it as a way to improve – that was the reason for beginning this quest in the first place, after all. With that said, for the sake of my readers, if a comment is disturbingly rude (unnecessary cursing, threats, etc.) I will delete. There’s no need to spread hate when talking butter and pie.
So, Stephanie, with much love, please accept this Apple Upside-Down Cake recipe as a token of appreciation for your continued reading, positive comments and our future foodie fun together. I hope you enjoy this apple cake as much as the Crackly Pear Cake. Cooking the apples in butter and brown sugar before adding the cake batter creates a soft, rich caramelized apple topping that perfectly compliments the dense butter-y cake. Adding cornmeal to the batter is optional but I really enjoy the added level of texture the crunchy grains give. Enjoy! xo
Apple Upside-Down Cake
Recipe by Yvonne Ruperti of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine
Serves 8 to 10
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, plus extra for pan
- 4 Granny Smith, Golden Delicious or Cortland apples (about 2 pounds), peeled and cored
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- ½ cup sour cream (you could sub for low-fat Greek yoghurt)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping: Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round pan with 2-inch high sides, and set aside. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut the apples in half from pole to pole, and slice 2 apples into ¼ inch slices. Slice the remaining 2 apples into ½ inch slices.
Heat butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add the ½ -inch apple slices and cook stirring 2 or 3 times until the apples begin to caramelize, about 4 to 6 minutes (But don’t fully cook the apples). Add the ¼ -inch apple slices, brown sugar and lemon juice, and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the apple are coated, about 1 minute longer.
Congratulations, anyone who walks into your home in the next hour will fall in love with you. Transfer the apple mixture to the prepared pan and press lightly into an even layer. Set aside while preparing the cake.
For the cake: Whisk flour, cornmeal (if using), baking powder and salt together in medium bowl, and set aside. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until thick and thoroughly mixed, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla, and whisk until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly over the apples. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake come out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it, and place a wire rake over the cake pan. Holding the rack tightly, invert the cake pan and wire rack together. Lift the cake pan off the cake, and place the wire rack over a sheet pan to catch any drips. If any fruit sticks to the pan, remove and place in any bare spots. Let the cake cool another 20 minutes then place the cake on a serving platter and serve.
P.S. Stephanie, until the day you appear at my doorstep dressed as my favourite Power Ranger, you are no “stalker” to me. Please, keep those comments coming, I appreciate them all.
P.S.S. Now, how do you feel about negative content on a food blog? I have recently discovered some terrifying food facts, experienced some brutal customer service with some local vendors and explored some disgusting “healthy”, “organic” products but have not brought them to the website. Personally, I have no qualms with sharing all of my outlooks (good or bad) but I don’t want to perpetuate negativity when the focus is on great recipes. What do you think? Put down the rose-coloured glasses and share it as it comes or always keep it kind?Add to favorites