Monday, March 24, 2008

The Taxman Cometh

The house I grew up in was very old and my bedroom was nestled up under the roof. The walls slanted up with the roofline, making it very difficult to put up cool posters, and there was a walk-in closet, which wasn't nearly as impressive as it sounds. It was an angled, odd-shaped little cubby with a bar for hanging clothes and a couple of shelves. I rearranged my bedroom furniture frequently, but whichever way I put my bed, the head always had to be facing the closet door. I didn't want anything to sneak out of the closet at night and catch me unawares. I'm not sure what exactly I feared would come out of the closet, but I was sure that it was the source of all nighttime menace and evil.

All of this was, of course, in my childhood. Long before I grew up and discovered the real source of menace and evil - the IRS. As children we're told "Be good or the bogeyman will get you." As adults we're told, "Be good, or you'll get audited." Frankly, the latter is the one that makes me quake in my bunny slippers.

I don't cheat on my taxes. But I fear that one day I'll get randomly audited and they'll discover I don't have receipts saved from a business trip 15 years ago and I'll be thrown into prison and never see my family again. Is this irrational? Perhaps. I'm not really able to discern what's rational when it concerns taxes.

So, in order to calm my fears and help me sleep at night, my husband has a guy look over our taxes to be sure all the t's are crossed, the i's dotted, and all the deductions verifiable. Last week the tax guy came. Being one of the long-range, planning type of people, I was up 5 hours past my bedtime the night before, adding up columns of numbers, trying to figure out which numbers went where, and generally cursing the whole fiddly process of tax extraction.

Bleary eyed, I arose early the next morning and made a coffee cake. Dealing with numbers requires caffeine and a generous helping of carbs and I think this coffee cake satisfied the carb requirement very well. It has a moist, soft cake base, rich with cream cheese and a dreamy almond flavor that complements the apples on top beautifully. Since they are on top for the baking, the apples get almost a dried apple texture, which was very interesting. I think next time I make this, I'll try putting the apples on the bottom to see how that works. Either way, it's a delicious way to gird yourself for any difficult task. Or just to start a pleasant morning off even better.

Apple and Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
adapted from America's Best Recipe's - 1989

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups peeled, sliced cooking apples
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Cream butter and cream cheese in the a large bowl. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in almond extract.

Combine 1-3/4 cups flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowl; add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix well after each addition.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 -inch pan. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, and cinnamon. Dip apple slices in lemon juice, then combine apple slices and cinnamon mixture, tossing gently to coat well. Arrange apple slices on tjoop of batter. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm. Serves 12.


Sean said...

You fiend! That looks amazing! I only wish that I could be home to partake in its apple-topped goodness.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

That's me. Fiend in human form. You know, you could make it yourself. It's so good that I'm sure Grandma would forgive you for messing up her kitchen.

CookiePie said...

This looks lovely! Even taxes might not be so bad with a generous hunk of this to enjoy...

Sophie said...

This looks so good! Love your writing style, it's cute how you weave in taxes with baking :)!

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Melinda said...

That would be excellent cake to do the taxes by. And Champagne for when they are finished!
I haven't had to fill out a tax form for many years now. Unless they send one to you, or you want to fill out one, you don't have to do a tax return. Nice!
My husband gets nailed every year. I will make him your tax cake to ease the pain.

Peabody said...

If you do get audited...feed the tax man this and he will forget all about it. YUM!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Sometimes Peabody scares me the way we think alike.
I love the way you can get from taxes to coffee cake and never skip a beat!
Lovely cake Lynn.

Kevin said...

That looks really good! Apples and cream cheese, yummy!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I agree with Peabody. That cake looks so good that after one bite, the IRS will probably be paying you!

Emiline said...

The IRS scares me, too. Don't tell them that I don't claim every penny of my tips. ;)

Coffee cake sounds like a good idea to me.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely coffee cake! Apples sound like a great addition!

Deborah said...

Ugh, I haven't even started my taxes yet. I have a habit of putting them off...

This coffee cake sounds delicious - I, too, would be curious to see what would happen with the apples on the bottom.

LyB said...

I love apples and almonds together, that cake sounds just so comforting. It looks delicious Lynn!

joop said...


Wonderful looking cake! Just one question, where's the coffee?

Cookie baker Lynn said...

CookiePie - I'm not sure that anything will make taxes less painful, but sugar certainly helps make it bearable.

Sophie - Thanks so much!

Melinda - Want to fill one out?? Are there weird people like that out there? I hope Ian enjoys.

Peabody - Good plan!

My Kitchen In Half Cups - Yes, you and Pea are definitely from the same pod.

Kevin - Try it; you will like it...:-)

Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy - Wow, getting money out of the IRS? That would take a miracle coffee cake!

Emiline - Shh, your secret is safe with me.

Gretchen Noelle - Thanks. The apples made it much more interesting than a standard coffee cake.

Deborah - You can make it with the apples on the bottom while you put off those taxes a bit longer.

LyB - You can really taste the almond flavor in every bite. It's heavenly!

Joop - It's called a coffee cake because you serve it with your coffee. No coffee in it, though.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I hate numbers (always have) and the funny thing is that I work at a Finance Department. :)

This cake would make me like numbers a little more. :)

Marcia said...

Sooo good!

Big Boys Oven said...

oh my favourite ingredients! lovely! hey I got something to show you on my post, you may like it!

RecipeGirl said...

Looks delightful.

We were audited last year due to the fact that we run our own companies and have weird write-off etc. NOT FUN!!! Be glad that you have everything organized :)

Anne said...

This cake would surely make you forget all about the wole tax least even for a short while (",)

The cake looks delish!

Kelly-Jane said...

Absolutley - feed the tax man this, he'll he fine!

Lovely cake :)

Tartelette said...

"Taxes? What taxes? We don't know no stiking taxes!"...See, I know my American classics!! I guarantee you that anybody would give you a perfect A, were you to be audited.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, this looks so good! I want to try it but have a question. Do you preheat the oven?