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This past weekend I finally crossed of #8 on my 30 before 31 list! I completed my 12th recipe from cookbooks I already owned. It actually turned out to be a more difficult challenge than I’d anticipated: I am much more inclined to check out what is in my pantry then bake accordingly than I am to go buy all of the ingredients and then have a set bake day. Regardless, I did it, going out on one of my favorite recipes of this whole thing, a quick and easy Apple Pecan Cake.
- I made a couple of changes to the basic recipe to really bring this cake home. First of all, I used brown sugar instead of white for that rich molasses-y taste that pairs so well with apples. Next I cut out the allspice (since I don’t really care for it) and doubled the cinnamon. I also added a tablespoon of vanilla extract, I don’t know that it made much of a difference, but…..it’s what I did.
- The mix was a bit unusual, so much apple! You couldn’t really pour it into the plan, you had to plop it out in chunks and press it as level as a possible so that it can bake evenly.
- I bake pretty regularly, but this recipe got the most enthusiastic response out of Andy that I’ve seen in a while. He ate four pieces the day I baked it. Clearly I need to add this to my regular rotation.
I am putting in a little extra effort these days to get as many items crossed off as I can, although there will be a couple that I know I won’t be achieving. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Let me open with this: looks are not everything. This cake may look fine, but what you can’t see is that there are random crystalized chunks of sugar all over the top of this. A lovely molar threatening crunch that I did not find all that appealing. What happened you might ask? I was an idiot, and I thought that I could just watch the video. In the video, they show the sugar/water mixture magically turn a beautiful golden brown; in reality, not so much. I missed the “no stirring” part, and since my mixture was staring to get a little dark on the bottom, I stirred it. Then as I was pouring it out into the top of my pan, it started to turn into candy chunks. Fun part, I ran out of sugar making the cake batter (so I couldn’t remake it), so I just threw everything in the oven and hoped for the best.
The actual recipe:
6 Tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature,
plus more for greasing
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ¾ cups sugar
⅓ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Thoroughly butter a 9-inch cast-iron pan and arrange the apple slices in the bottom of the pan, cut-side down. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.
In a sauce pan, combine 1 cup sugar with ⅓ cup water and bring to a boil until it turns light brown, about 10 minutes. Swirl the pan but do not stir. Pour over the apples.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the remaining sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in the eggs and whip until smooth. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add ⅓ of the flour mixture and alternate between the milk and flour until all of the flour has disappeared. Stir in vanilla and pour on top of the apples.
Bake until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes then flip onto an appropriate size plate and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
- All in all, I will probably give this another try. It was just a bad situation on a not great day, and issues aside, the taste was okay. Andy even gleefully claimed the cake as “his” when I told him I wanted to toss the rest of it. It’s been his dessert and breakfast for the past couple of days.
The down side to having Monday off: This week feels SUPER long. I don’t know why, it just does. I know next week is going to be a little crazy, driving to NC, driving back from NC, baking, packing, cooking and unpacking. There is going to be a lot to do. What does this have to do with today’s recipe. Nothing. I guess I could stretch it and say that this is a day in need of comfort food and this cake, especially when warm, is most definitely comfort food; but considering my “get up and go” got up and went like 4 hours ago….It’s more of a break and bake cookie day. We’ve got it down to a science at Casa Bucior.
Apple Spice Cake
Yield = 1 bundt pan, serves 8 to 10
Butter for greasing pan
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting pan
1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups peeled, cored and thickly sliced tart apples, like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith*
1 cup chopped pecans
*I used Granny Smith apples for my cake.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch bunt pan. Beat the oil, butter and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
2. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, spices and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples and pecans, and stir until combined.
3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for an hour to an 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if desired.