There are few things more lovely than an early October morning in Ontario. The sky is a brilliant blue, the roadside and woodlot maples all shades of fire. I’m going early to the farmer’s market, because this is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and the market will be extra-busy.
We’re having Thanksgiving dinner with my brother and his family, my adult niece and nephew home for the weekend from jobs and university, along with the youngest niece, in the last year of high school. Our contribution to dinner will be the wine, and dessert. I’m making pear crumble and raspberry cake. If it’s a nice day – and it’s supposed to be, warm and sunny – we’ll arrive, chat, go out for a walk with Ginger, their labradoodle, come back to the house, open the wine, get in each other’s way in the kitchen, and sooner or later eat turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad and squash. Then we’ll all be too full for dessert, so we’ll talk some more, and have coffee and dessert an hour or so later, after the dishes are done.
The market this morning was indeed busy. I bought pears, and the vegetables for this week’s meals, and two beeswax tapers for our dining room table. (It’s dark now when we eat dinner, or nearly so, and we like the smell of beeswax rather than artificial waxes.) Every stall at the market was heaped with local produce – an overabundance of choice, in deep, jewel-like colours: the purples of plums and cabbage and beets; the reds of peppers and apples and tomatoes; the oranges and yellows of carrots and pears and golden beets, and all the shades of green of brassicas and lettuces and string beans.
Canadian Thanksgiving has its origin in the Harvest Festival of the Anglican and other churches, and there couldn’t be a better time of year for it. It’s not the huge holiday of Thanksgiving in the USA. But it’s still a time for many families to get together, celebrate the harvest, enjoy the autumn weather and each other.
I’ve got the pears ripening in paper bags with an apple in each, and tomorrow I’ll make the crumble and the cake. Here’s the cake recipe: it’s never failed me.
Raspberry Cake With Lemon Drizzle
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat flour
1 tsp (5 mL) each: baking soda, baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each: table salt,,ground ginger
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (185 mL) sunflower or safflower oil
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) fresh raspberries
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired
1/2 tsp (2 mL) finely grated lemon zest
Lemon Drizzle (optional):
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar, sifted
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, as needed
In large mixing bowl, whisk or stir together all-purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ginger.
In separate large bowl using wooden spoon or whisk, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Stir in raspberries and zest (and chocolate chips if used). Add to flour mixture. Mix well.
Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake in centre of preheated 350F (180C) oven until tester inserted in centre comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Let cool 15 minutes in pan, then turn out on to wire rack.
If making lemon drizzle, in small bowl stir together sugar, lemon peel and enough lemon juice to make an icing of drizzling consistency.
Drizzle icing over warm or room temperature cake.
Makes about 12 servings.