Makes me think of Apples…
Yes, I know there are a ton of apple cake recipes out there already, but this turned out better than I imagined.
It’s not quite Rosh Hashanah, and this is not kosher because it contains dairy. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) If you really want to make this without dairy, I suggest coconut oil for the butter, and cream of coconut for the sour cream, and reducing the sugar somewhat, because cream of coconut is really sweet.
I was going to make a caramel sauce to drizzle over it, but it honestly doesn’t need it.
Truth be told, the roasted apples in these were supposed to be made into steamed apple dumplings last weekend. I initially roasted the apples when I made the last post, then (figuratively) ran out of steam! Luckily, they kept surprisingly well in our fridge!
I searched online and found these, only they were muffins, so I tweaked it a little to make it a cake.
From the initial roasting, I had some buttery, cinnamon-flavored apple liquid that I decided to thicken slightly by heating it over a stove to reduce. The result was a cinnamon-y and caramel-y sauce that I then used in the batter.
Initially, I was a little skeptical on whether the apples would still be good, but I’ve read somewhere that roasting beforehand sometimes helps apples keep their shape by drawing out some of the liquid and concentrating the flavor. And I think that’s exactly what happened. Even though they were soft, there was really distinct apple flavor in these!
What do I like about this cake? The cake is sweet and moist, but the texture is not too heavy. The apples are soft and flavorful, and the top is shiny and crackly like the tops of brownies, which is due to the sprinkling of demerara sugar. Optional, but strongly suggested.
I realize that the roasting of the apples might lengthen the time to make this, but if you do this recipe incrementally by roasting the apples the day before, it seems much easier. You can also just do the recipe without roasting the apples beforehand, but you may need to adjust the recipe for water content, and it might not be as good. So says I, a non-expert who hasn’t experimented with this at all, but that’s my best guess.
Roasted Apple Cake
For the roasted apples:
3 medium to large honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (substitute coconut oil for nondairy)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cake:
3 pre-roasted apples, with thickened “sauce” (see recipe below)
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature (substitute coconut oil for nondairy)
1 cup sugar (reduce to 1/2 cup if using cream of coconut)
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (substitute cream of cream for nondairy, decreasing sugar by half)
demerara sugar, to sprinkle on top of cake before baking, optional
For the roasted apples, first preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel and core three medium to large honeycrisp (or similar apples of your choice) apples. Place apples in a oven safe small dish, such as a 8 x 8 square pan and add about 3/4 cup of water into the pan so that the apples are wading upright in a shallow pool of water.
Combine 2 Tablespoons butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar, and the 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Rub together with clean fingers and combine thoroughly and put little log shaped portions of the mixture into the center of each cored apple.
Bake uncovered for about an hour at 375 degrees F., until the apples are tender.
Can either be used once it is completely cool, or else use the next few days. Store covered in a refrigerator. I sliced mine into roughly 1-inch cubes.
Reserve the liquid from the pan and add to a small saucepan on medium high heat. Add a couple of Tablespoons of maple syrup and continue to stir until incorporated. Continue to simmer until liquid is reduced to about half. Cool and store covered in refrigerator if not using right away.
When ready to make the cake, Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If apples and liquid have been stored in the fridge, bring them out on the counter to get it to room temperature.
Prepare a 8 x 8 -inch square pan by greasing bottom, then lining with parchment, allowing it to hang out from opposite sides of pan, then greasing parchment paper or using a baking spray to spray sides and bottom. Set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium bowl and stir several times with a whisk to evenly combine all the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Cream the butter with the sugar with a hand-held electric beater until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined thoroughly. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix briefly to ensure all ingredients are combined.
Add the vanilla and mix again, thoroughly.
To the apples, add about 2 tablespoons of the reduced liquid and fold in with a spatula. Add the rest of the reserved liquid into the sour cream and whisk to incorporate.
Alternating with the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture, start and end with the flour mixture, adding first about 1/3 of the flour mixture, then mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, then adding 1/2 of the sour cream mixture, mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl as well, followed by repeating the same process a couple of more times: the second 3rd of the flour mixture, mixing, etc., followed by the rest of the sour cream mixture, mixing, etc., and the final 3rd of the flour mixture, mixing briefly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
When all the flour is incorporated, add the apples and simply fold them in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level with a back of a spoon or small offset spatula. The pan will be almost full of the batter, but that’s okay, because it will not rise much.
Optional, but strongly suggested: Sprinkle demerara or turbinado sugar thoroughly at the surface of the cake before baking. This creates a nice crisp/crunchy exterior, similar to brownies.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for roughly one hour. Ovens vary, so start checking at 50 minutes and every 5 minutes, or until toothpick test come out clean. Mine took about 1 hour and 2 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve with a light dusting of confectioners sugar and/or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. Or plain. I like it plain, but that’s just me.