Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple Cake

This apple cake is different than any I have ever had before.

Imagine 75% apples and 25% batter. Yeah. I'm serious.

I never expected it because the recipe seemed so simple... but as soon as I saw the bowl full of apples next to the bowl full of batter I knew something different was going to happen with this cake. 

And the lack of cinnamon!! What kind of apple cake doesn't have cinnamon!?

The kind of apple cake that screams vanilla-rum. You heard me. Vanilla-rum. This was the first time that I tasted the combination and wow! It's truly a show stopper.

I need to point out to you something very important about any kind of fruit dessert. The end result will be only as good as the fruit you use. SO! If you have unripe fruit, you won't get the most flavor out of your dessert. More importantly with this cake... if your apples are dry and gross, they will be in your cake too. So use GOOD apples. Or you'll be kicking yourself in your butt!

This is truly a special cake. One that looks rustic, but rocks a surprisingly sophisticated flavor. And with the simplicity of the batter, you would never know how great this cake was unless somebody told you. 

I'm telling you. This cake is great.

It is quite moist and dense so please be sure not to cover it with plastic wrap or something similar. It might get soggy. I assume you don't like soggy cake. Am I right? Good. I simply placed a cloth loosely over the cake because there is no way I can let something sit out uncovered. I just can't. I get shaky. 

This is definitely one of those cakes that is the best the day it is made. So try serving it when you have company. Unless you already have a household full of guests that will readily scarf it up.  

Also, one quick note- this calls for a 8" springform pan. I used a 9". No biggie. Just check it 5 minutes sooner.

Let me show you how easy this cake is:

Peel and slice 4 good apples. They can be any apple. They can all be different if you want even. Then you'll want to melt some butter. Mix your dry ingredients. Then mix your wet ingredients. 

Stir in half the flour to the wet ingredients. Then half the butter... then the other half of the flour, followed by the other half of the butter. Finish by folding in the apple slices. That's it! 

Once you pour it into the pan, spread the batter and apple slices out as evenly as possible. You'll have something that looks as beautiful as this. 

Bake it for about 50 minutes or until it is gorgeous golden brown. Doesn't it just look so rustic or delicious!?

Check out how moist that cake looks. And forget about getting a bite without any apple slices. It'll never happen. 

Now the real way to dress up this cake is with sweetened whipped cream, but all I had was some powdered sugar. So feel free to go that route too. 

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake
adapted from "Around my French Table" by Dorie Greenspan
Print Recipe

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.

Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.

Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.

The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.

The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature and, according to my husband, gets more comforting with each passing day. However long you keep the cake, it’s best not to cover it — it’s too moist. Leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.

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