the coziness of home baking

Some of my friends are complaining that winter has arrived in Beirut! First of all i want to clarify the word winter as understood in this part of the world: blue sky, 18-20 degrees, some rain, possibility of swimming (yes it is possible in November!), light clothing including jeans and t-shirts… the difference with our summer? We are not sweating, the air condition is off, we have a jacket in the car in case, we start drinking hot cocoa, we wear darker and richer colours…(at least I do) and we start baking all these delicious cakes!.

So, to really enter the spirit of winter in my part of the world, I am baking with a frenzy attitude lots of cakes, adding  spices to my regular recipes, to make you want to  curl up under the Christmas tree and drink toddy.

I actually have an old recipe for carrot cake (that is always a success), but in the lack of carrots I used red apples, added more cinnamon and nutmeg and voila, my lovely cake is ready to be enjoyed with a cup of Kusmi tea and a friend!


3 eggs

3/4 cup canola oil

1 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar (using half of each is also fine)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp vanilla sugar

a pinch of salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup of shredded coconut

1 cup white flour

1 cup full wheat  flour (this adds texture) – in the lack of, use 2 cups of regular flour

a handful of white raisins

2 big red or yellow apples, peeled and shredded (don’t start with this as the apples will turn brown in few minutes)

How to make

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.

Whisk the eggs in an electrical mixer  until foamy, then add the sugar and whisk. When the egg mixture is fluffy, add the oil and whisk again.

Then add all the powder ingredients (spices, baking soda, coconut, flour) and whisk few minutes.

Add the shredded apples. Mix lightly with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be wet and light. Add the raisins.

Pour the batter  into a round or rectangular oiled baking pan, bake for 35 minutes or until your toothpick comes out dry!

For decoration, either go for the simple powder sugar or a good old butter icing.

The cake should be cooled down before spreading the icing.

Icing recipe

  • 50g  soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon citrus rind, I use lime
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese (kiri would do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (can use seeds)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of citrus juice (lime)
  • Mix all the ingredients with an electrical batter.

All this baking made me go back to a wonderful vacation we had few years ago in Denmark, where the summer weather was pretty much like our winter weather here in Beirut. My sweet friend Mette had given us her little black wooden cottage for 2 weeks. Red apples were laying everywhere that summer on her grass lawn. The pictures show what a cosy place it was….


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