Nectarines and Apples, Oh My!

My last week at the Bodensee, is flying by. I rode my bike to Bregenz along the lake. I hiked up to the Pfander to overlook the lake. I flew in a Zeppelin to see how it felt to fly over the lake. I went swimming in the hot springs in Uberlingen and jumped into the Bodensee to refresh. We drank wine made from the vineyards in Meersburg and we ate delicious German food. Summer at the Bodensee is beautiful and I am lucky to have been able to experience so much during my stay here. My grandparents always say, "We live where others go on vacation." And I have to agree.

If you haven't visited the Bodensee in the summer, you must go. Fresh fruit orchards filled with local cherries, peaches, nectarines, pears, and apples surround each little town. Strawberry fields waft their aroma in the hot sun, and vineyards cover the hills along the lake. Sailboats and ferries cross the endless waters, and the Swiss Alps glow in all their glory as if in arms reach. It is beautiful. Whether it is sunny and clear, or stormy and wild, the colors are always there to please.

However now my time is coming to an end. Tomorrow I leave on a bus to Freiburg, and then Thursday I take off in a jet plane from Frankfurt to once again return home to my beloved Pacific Northwest. I am sad to say that today I ate my very last fresh baked Metzler pretzel, the best pretzel baker in all of Germany. Yet I am excited to say that soon I will be home in Bellingham to see the best of the Northwest during the summer. I missed you Bellingham. I missed you my friends. And I miss you still Dane.

With all this bounty of fresh fruit from around Langenargen, I decided to bake my last goodbye to Germany and those with whom I spent so much of my time, my grandparents. Right now, the nectarines are perfect, sun-ripened, and juicy. Their flesh is a deep orange like the color of a sunset lit sky-great for some all natural eye candy.

Nectarines characteristic sunset colored hue is due to the large amounts of beta-carotene and lutein. Our bodies use beta-carotene to produce vitamin A, which plays a large role in eye and bone health as well as in reproductive health. Lutein acts as an important antioxidant helping to rid the body of free radicals and may help as preventative medicine against chronic diseases. Not to mention nectarines are stocked full of vitamin c and carry a good punch of fiber. Now who can resist grabbing a nectarine instead of a cookie for dessert? Not me!

Yet if you are looking to make something more along the lines of a traditional dessert, I recommend this vegan nectarine and apple cake. It is very moist, lightly sweet, and full of hearty spelt flour. Nobody will miss the eggs and butter, trust me.

Vegan Nectarine and Apple Cake
Makes a 21 cm spring form cake
1 cup unrefined flour
1 cup spelt flour
2/3 cup unrefined sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (coconut, canola, sunflower)
2/3 cup almond milk (or any other nut/grain milk)
1 apple ( I used pink lady)
2 nectarines
1 lemon
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
4 drops rum essence
1 Tbsp unrefined sugar (topping)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Oil the spring form pan and dust the bottom and sides with flour. If you have quick oats on hand, a quick sprinkle over the flour dusting is a good addition. Set spring form pan aside.
3. Mix together the two flours, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon.
4. Grate the apple and zest the lemon into the large bowl.
5. In a separate bowl mix together the sugar, olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, rum essence drops, and vanilla bean.
6. Pour the liquid mixture into the large bowl with the flour. Mix well.
7. Depending on the juiciness of the grated apple you may not need all of the almond milk. Slowly pour in the almond milk until the mixture resembles a thick pancake batter. You don't want the batter to be too wet.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared spring form pan.
9. Top with sliced nectarines and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar.
10. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Now invite some friends over for cake and coffee and ENJOY :)

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