Rustic Apple Cake

apple cake Here's another easy fruit-filled cake — a simple and delicious recipe, minimally sweetened with honey and apples with added richness and tang from cream cheese. It gets even better the next day as the moisture from the apples soaks into the cake.

1 1/2 cups flour (half spelt flour, half whole wheat pastry flour) 8 oz cream cheese, softened 1/2 stick butter, softened 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 3 tsp cinnamon 3 to 4 cups apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 1/2 to 1 cup honey, depending on desired sweetness

First peel, core and slice the apples. Put in a bowl with 2 tsp cinnamon and about 1 tbl honey, mix to combine and set aside. Beat cream cheese, butter and remaining honey until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mix to the batter and mix until incorporated, don't over mix. Fold the apples into the batter and pour into a well-buttered spring-form pan, 9 x 9 inch pan or bundt pan. Sprinkle 1 tsp of cinnamon on top of the cake and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Nutrition Nuggets

We all know the old saying — "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," well recent research indicates that this is actually true. Eating apples is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, asthma, and type 2 diabetes. In a Finnish study, researchers found that men and women who ate the most apples as well as other foods rich in flavonoids, like onions and tea, had a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate small amounts of these foods.

Apples are also very high in pectin, a soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol levels significantly — adding just one large apple a day to your diet can reduce cholesterol levels by 8 to 11 percent. Eating two a day has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels by up to 16 percent.

Eating an apple a day is essentially like taking a high quality multivitamin since apples are high in vitamin C, phytochemicals, flavonoids and potassium, as well as many other important nutrients. Eating raw apples also helps keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.

Cinnamon has a long history of medicinal use for a variety of ailments. Research has confirmed that cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar. When taken at high dosages (1 to 6 grams per day) it has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose levels in diabetics by 18 to 29 percent and LDL (know as bad) cholesterol by 7 to 27 percent. As one of the oldest know spices, it was used in ancient Egypt as a medicinal herb and embalming agent. In Chinese medicine the use of cinnamon dates back to 2700 B.C.E. This is another example of how spices have been used traditionally to nutritionally complement certain foods — it is no wonder that cinnamon is often paired with foods containing sugar as it helps modulate the body's response to rising insulin levels. Cinnamon's healing properties come from the essential oils found in its bark.

Apples and cinnamon are a delicious and healthy combo — enjoy!