Apple chunk breakfast loaf

My apple guy is one of my favorite market vendors. Always with a ready smile when I’m buying or even just passing by. Last time I was there, he introduced me to his grandchildren, though you’d hardly guess he’s a grandfather by his looks. And, oh, he likes to sit at his stand and smoke a bong, right there in the middle of the crowded shook.

God bless.

He also happens to be my one and only source for apples. He actually offers varieties, and I don’t mean just green and red. I went through my Granny Smith phase, followed by Hermon and most recently Pink Lady. But we’re fickle types, and for whatever reason I stopped eating apples, leaving a few ladies to wrinkle in our fridge.

At that point, once they’ve lost that fresh crunch, they’re still perfectly good for baking. It seems slightly insane to be using the oven at this time of year, but yeah, I did it. I did indeed bake this apple loaf. We were in need of some good breakfast food.

It’s loosely based on a muffin recipe from the Muffin Lady cookbook, my go-to source for down-to-earth baking. I like that her baking style roughly mirrors mine — you pick some random “title ingredient” like a fruit (or vegetable) and then toss in basics including baking powder, eggs and oil. People like to say that with cooking you make adjustments but with baking you follow the recipe, but no, once you have the basic feel, you can go wild with baked goods, too.

Chock full of apple chunks, whole wheat and oatmeal, you could almost pretend this bread is healthful — calling it a bread instead of a cake does sound better, no? As the Muffin Lady points out, using apple chunks gives the lovely texture of an apple pie interspersed through the crumb. The flavor is probably more or less the same as the original, but my version includes whole grains, raw sugar, buttermilk and a whole lot more apple. It makes me feel a little less guilty about eating cake for breakfast.

And if you need to go shopping in order to bake this, it’s always nice to stop by the market for an apple and a smile.

For one tall 4-by-8-inch loaf, or two smaller loaves:

  • 4 apples, cored and chopped into chunks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (one bag)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
  • 1 cup Demerara sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Prep time: 10 minutes. Bake time: 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).

Mix together all the ingredients. I find it easiest to add them in the order listed above. Pour into a loaf pan or pans.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf/loaves comes out dry. The top should be nicely browned by this point.

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