snow day!

When I went to bed last night, it was cloudy and a little cold. When I woke up this morning, it was really cloudy and a little cold. It started snowing before I even got out of bed, and it still hasn't stopped. That's about nine straight hours of heavy snow, something that rarely happens where I'm from, and definitely not the first week of December! With the view from our balcony overlooking the river, and neighborhood kids playing outside in the snow, I kind of feel like I'm in a snowglobe. This was definitely a day to stay home, wear stretchy pants, play Christmas music, drink coffee, and bake something delicious.

Ok, so there's not much Romanian about this recipe, except that I made it in Romania with a spice mix I found at a Romanian supermarket, which I think counts for something. To give credit where it's due, this is adapted from a recipe for Starbucks Lemon Loaf. I'm calling my version "Cider Cake," a variation of what Romanians call "Chec" (pronounced "kek"), which appears to be a general term for dessert breads. I used a mix for Mulled Wine or Cider, so I'm guessing you Americans could use instant cider mix, but to give you an idea, it has cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom. The cake came out moist and light, and wasn't as sweet as I was afraid it would be. It will be great with coffee tomorrow morning!

1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
1 Packet Vin Fiert (or Apple Cider) mix,
        plus enough sugar to make 3/4 Cup
2 Tablespoons (28 grams) Butter, softened
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 Cup 100% Apple Juice
1/2 Cups Oil
Optional: chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Milk
1 Tbsp. Apple Juice

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to blend eggs, spice mix, sugar, butter, vanilla, and juice. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Add oil and mix well. Pour into a well-greased 9x5 inch loaf pan and sprinkle with nuts, if desired. Bake at 350 F (176 C) for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. While bread cools (this is when sub-freezing temps are handy!), mix glaze ingredients. If not thin enough to pour, warm in the microwave for ten seconds and stir well before pouring. Remove cooled bread from pan (which I clearly didn't do), glaze, then wait until glaze sets before slicing.

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