Apple cake

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This cake turns out moist and dense with a thick crust that is somewhat cookie like, thanks to the generous amount of both sugar and oil in the batter.

Apples

  • 4-5 cups apple chunks (see instructions below; I used 3 medium Granny Smiths and 2 medium Empires)
  • 3 Tbsps granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsps ground cinnamon

Cake Batter

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped & toasted walnuts (optional; I used pecans because that's what I had on hand)

1. Peel apples and dice them into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks. In a large bowl, toss apples with the sugar and cinnamon and set aside. The sugar will draw juices out of the apples which will further sweeten and moisten the cake.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cake pan (9x9 square pan, 9" springform pan, maybe a 10" tube pan) well with butter and then lightly flour the surface. Better yet, line the bottom with parchment and then grease the parchment well.

3. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

4. Beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until thick and well combined. Briskly whisk in canola oil until emulsified.

5. Fold dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. The batter will be quite thick at this point.

6. Add nuts, if using, until just combined.

7. Decide how to layer the apples and batter. It's probably easiest, for cake removal purposes, to have a layer of cake on the bottom. If you will be turning the cake upside down to remove it from the pan, this means that an apple layer should be at the bottom. However, in the case of a springform pan, you might be able to slide the parchment (and cake) directly off the removable bottom, in which case the batter should be the bottom-most layer.

8. Layer batter and apples alternately -- two of each. Because the batter is thick, it will be difficult to spread over the apple chunks. Therefore, better to dollop spoonfuls of batter over the apples at equal intervals and spread the dollops to fill the spaces.

9. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tester comes out cleanly.

Notes

References
I drew upon two recipes I found online to make an apple cake to satisfy my pregnant sister's craving for an apple cake, something she'd never eaten before. I would have made an applesauce spice cake, but had no apple cider nor the motivation to make applesauce, which I prefer to do rather than use the runny stuff from a jar.
Cake Pan
As one recipe calls for a tube pan and the other a 13x9 pan, I figured my adaptation would make enough batter for two loaf pans. I was wrong. I think this would work best in a 9" springform pan, or possibly one 9x5 loaf pan. (UPDATE: I made this in a 9" springform lined with a parchment circle, and that worked very nicely. No leakage at all.)
For Next Time
I would add more autumn baking spices to the batter, including ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cloves.
Depending on how I ordered the batter/apple layers, I might also add a streusel topping with oats, toasted pecans or walnuts, and some finely chopped candied ginger. This would probably work best as a topping for a cake batter layer, not for an apple layer.