I hated Roughing It In The Bush when I was forced to read it in my second year Canadian Literature class. I thought Ms. Moodie was a big old bore, not to mention being put off by her questionable attitudes towards the "savages" who surrounded her.
However, it is weirdly a book that I return to in my thoughts quite often. For example, if I can't sleep at night and want to imagine a cosy, soothing scenario, I think of the scene in the book where she and her husband are returning from a snowy trip to a far away neighbour's home. Her husband is upright and guiding the sled through the silent, snowy forest. Susanna is asleep on the sled itself, completely covered with woolen blankets. Personally, I think that would be a great place to sleep.
And if I am forced to do without some modern luxury for whatever reason I think of Susanna and count myself lucky. I thought of her this weekend when I wanted to make a coffee cake for The Man of Science (who is lukewarm on all desserts except for coffee cake). Unfortunately, there is no cake pan at the House of Science. Its kitchen is slightly, shall we say, rudimentary. But you know what that kitchen has? A perfect cast iron skillet. It seemed very pioneery to make a cake in a skillet.
Who knew skillet cake could be so nice? And not carry any of the turmeric flavor from the breakfast cooked earlier the same day? It worked out so well, I am a little worried about turning into one of those people who insist that "A cast iron skillet is all you need! No other pots! No other pans! Skillet only! Praise the skillet." Like the people who used to come into the health food store and try to convince me that I should throw away all my soap, shampoo, conditioner, and household cleansers and just use vinegar instead. Not happening, people.
Skillet Coffee Cake (vegan)
For the cake:
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all dry ingredients for the cake together, including the sugar.
Mix all wet ingredients, then stir them into the dry.
Spread batter into skillet.
Mix all dry ingredients for topping, then mix in oil until it gets crumbly.
Spread topping on top (duh.) of cake batter.
Bake for about half an hour, or until a knife in the middle comes out clean.
-You can use a regular cake pan instead of a skillet if you are fancy like that.
-After we spent a Saturday afternoon snacking on this cake, The Man of Science had a dream that his cousin, Vaughn, came into the kitchen and announced that he was going to eat some of the cake. The Man of Science was kind of annoyed in the dream, and told Vaughn he could have some, but he'd better not eat it all. This dream is far less disturbing than the last cake-themed dream he had, in which his brother was actually a cheesecake.
-This would probably also be nice with apple pieces and nuts mixed into the batter.