Fall's false alarm

The calendar proclaimed Fall's arrival back on September 22's autumnal equinox, but here in Vancouver we've been rather non-committal on the subject. The rip-roaring heat of summer has faded, but only just. Warm, sunny afternoons have kept me in sandals well past their Labour Day expiration, and I've been getting by with a scarf and sweater in the mild, clear evenings. Two nights ago, we even ate outdoors on an unheated restaurant patio. Although I was thoroughly chilled by the time the mints rolled around, we weren't alone in our folly.

In fact, Fall has revealed its true colours just once, so far as I can tell. This past Tuesday morning, Winter's younger brother painted our blue sky grey, threatening to huff and puff and blow us all away in a flurry of wind, rain, thunder and lightning. Yet somewhere along the way -- after rain, but before thunder -- Fall lost its gusto. By late afternoon, the cloud cover had lifted and the sun even ventured out for a quick jaunt before retiring for the evening.

In that brief space in time, when the change of seasons seemed imminent, the urge to turn on the oven and bake up something toasty was overwhelming. I spent the morning debating between bread and coffee cake, and nearly cheered out loud when I came across this recipe for Yeasted Coffee Cake with Apricot Cream Cheese Filling. Now that I've made it, I'm officially smitten. My kitchen smelled like heaven from start to finish, and the end result was a refreshing change from the streusel varieties we all know and love.

For the recipe and instructions, I'd encourage you to head over to Annie's Eats to take advantage of her mouth-watering step-by-step photos. If I haven't sold you on this coffee cake, her images surely will.

As Annie notes, the possibilities for this recipe are virtually limitless. In fact, just one day after I gave her original apricot configuration a go, she posted a delectable looking raspberry follow-up. The apricot filling was apropos in the end though: the cake, with its sunny lining, turned out much like the day.

Source: A Baking Illustrated recipe, as adapted by Annie's Eats, a food blog I discovered only recently but plan to re-visit often.

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