Atalanta was the daughter of Iasus (or Mainalos or Schoeneus, according to Hyginus), a Boeotian, or an Arcadian princess. Her childhood was pretty dramatic according to myth. When she was born, her father was so disappointed for having a girl instead of a boy, that took the infant and left it in the woods. One bear took the infant and fed her. After a while, couple of hunters found the bear breastfeeding the child and took the baby with them to raise it.
Atalanta grew up to a beautiful woman and excellent hunter and archer. Not only did she become better than any man of her age, but also she refused her female nature by rejecting any idea of marriage. Atalanta just like Paris, Oedipus and Orestes is an example very popular back in ancient years of how a child neglected and abandoned eventually lived, became successful and fulfilled their dreams.
Atalanta was invited in the hunting of the Caledonian Boar and she was the first who wounded the boar in the head. Although it was not a lethal shot, it made it easy for the rest of the hunters to kill the animal that was causing extended damages to the area of Caledonia.
After this success, her father made peace with her. Nevertheless, she was still rejecting the idea of marriage and lived in the woods far away from any temptation. Her father’s and gods’ pressure were very strong and thus she had to make the following compromise; she would marry anyone who could win her in a race. If he lost she would spear him to death.
Atalanta was very strong and the quickest runner on earth, so she always won even though she gave her opponents a head start. That meant that each one of these unlucky guys was killed from her spear. As the number of dead suitors was growing, she thought that she found the perfect plot for avoiding marriage.
Until one day Hippomenes appeared asking to race her. Aphrodite, sick and tired by Atalanta’s game, decided to take action and gave Hippomenes three golden apples from Hesperides Garden. During the race Hippomenes started throwing one apple at a time making Atalanta stop to pick them up. In this way, he won the race and Atalanta had no other choice than marrying him. And although one would think that this story would have happy ending, it does not. Aphrodite became angry of Hippomenes for not thanking her for the apples and put a spell on the two lovers making them so shameless that went to a Zeus temple and made love inside it. Zeus considered this as a great blasphemy and he turned Hippomenes into lion and Atalanta into lioness.
Apples have always played a dramatic role in Greek mythology as you can read here and here. Apart from all this drama, I love apples and I love baking with them. This cake is packed with their flavor and with cinnamon and cardamom. It is very moist and fluffy and stays this way for days.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups light-brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups applesauce
- Caramel Sauce for pouring on top
- Preheat oven to 175˚C / 350˚F.
- In a bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.
- Set aside.
- In your stand mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and honey until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating with the batter each time.
- With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined.
- Pour the applesauce and mix to combine.
- Butter and flour a 23cm / 9 in. tube pan.
- Pour batter into pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (but slightly wet), 50 to 60 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes.
- Turn out of pan onto a cutting board or baking sheet; invert cake onto rack, top side up.
- Cool completely.
- I poured caramel sauce on top and served it.
- 3 φλ. αλεύρι για όλες τις χρήσεις
- 2 κ.γ. μαγειρική σόδα
- ½ κ.γ. αλάτι
- 1½ κ.γ. κανέλα
- 1¼ κ.γ. κάρδαμο τριμμένο
- 1 φλ. βούτυρο σε θερμοκρασία δωματίου
- 2 φλ. καστανή ζάχαρη
- ¼ φλ. μέλι
- 2 μεγάλα αυγά
- 2 φλ. Σάλτσα μήλου
- Σάλτσα καραμέλας για γαρνιτούρα
- Προθερμαίνετε το φούρνο στους 175˚C.
- Σε ένα μπολ, προσθέτουμε το αλεύρι, τη σόδα, αλάτι, κανέλα και κάρδαμο.
- Αφήνουμε στην άκρη.
- Με το μίξερ, χτυπάμε βούτυρο, μαύρη ζάχαρη και μέλι μέχρι να αφρατέψουν.
- Προσθέτουμε τα αυγά, ένα τη φορά, και τα ενσωματώνουμε κάθε φορά.
- Με το μίξερ σε χαμηλή ταχύτητα, προσθέτουμε σταδιακά μίγμα άλευρου και χτυπάμε λίγο μέχρι να ομογενοποιηθούν.
- Ρίχνουμε τη σάλτσα μήλου και ανακατεύουμε καλά.
- Βουτυρώνουμε και αλευρώνουμε ένα ταψί για κέικ 23cm.
- Ρίχνουμε το μίγμα στο ταψί.
- Ψήνουμε έως ότου βγαίνει το μαχαίρι καθαρό αλλά ελαφρώς υγρό, 50-60 λεπτά.
- Αφήστε το 10 λεπτά να κρυώσει.
- Βγάλτε επάνω σε μία σχάρα
- Αφήνουμε να κρυώσει εντελώς.
- Εγώ έριξα σιρόπι καραμέλας από πάνω και το σέρβιρα.