December 2, 2010 § 2 Comments
I made this cake for Thanksgiving last year, and it has probably been the most discussed menu item from our Thanksgiving last year (with the possible exception of my sweet potato pucks, a.k.a., biscuits). It has been discussed so often, I had no option but to make it again this year. So, this cake was the first menu item that I planned for this year’s Thanksgiving. Despite this advance planning, we planned so many other menu items, that no one had any room for apple cake. Seriously! No one had any room! Who knew such a thing could happen at Thanksgiving? I do think this was partly my fault, as the other dessert I prepared was both generous and tasty and had a shorter shelf life than the cake, so everyone enjoyed that instead (it should also make an appearance on the blog one of these days). Amazingly, I was not sad that no one had any cake on Thanksgiving. Why? Mostly because this cake is the best thing to happen to breakfast since toasted bread. Seriously. A slice of this moist and crusty cake is the perfect way to start a morning sugar high to amp you up for holiday shopping. Somewhat miraculously, we were able to make this cake last a whole week, and I finally enjoyed the last piece this evening. It doesn’t disappoint after dinner either.
This recipe is from Lara Atkins and was published in Food&Wine. I follow her recipe pretty closely, although I did make some alterations in the suggested cake accessories. She recommends topping the cake with a toffee sauce and some carmelized apples. Although I love this toffee sauce (and I’ve previously discussed its use as the perfect dipping sauce for cinnamon-sugar doughdrops) and carmelized apples, this cake is very moist and a bit on the sweet side, so I found that adding more sugary toppings not really necessary. Instead, I whipped up some cinnamon cream that was not too sweet and found this to be a great complement.
Toffee apple cake
Yields 10-12 slices
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 medium Gala apples ( or other baking apples, such as 2 large Granny Smith apples)—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform tube pan. *
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and granulated sugar. Continue whisking and add the eggs one at a time.
4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add the diced apples and fold in to the batter.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees F for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in to the cake comes out clean.
6. During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the toffee glaze for the cake. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream. While stirring, bring to a boil.
7. Once the glaze has started to boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and let cook slightly. Do not take it out of the pan.
9. Place the cake in the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Poke the top of the cake with a toothpick and pour the hot glaze over the cake. Allow the glaze to seep in to the cake for at least two hours.
10. Release the cake from the pan, slice and serve with cinnamon whipped cream. The cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap.
*I did not have the best pan option for this and baked it in a 9-inch bundt pan. This worked ok, but I think a tube cake pan would work better.
Cinnamon whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix the cream, sugar and cinnamon at a moderate speed with the whisk attachment until the cream forms soft peaks. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
October 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
It was a rainy weekend here in the Bay Area. What better way to spend it than lounging in a comfy chair, drinking tea and watching the rain drip down the window? Sounds lovely, but somewhat sadly, that’s not how I spent my weekend. Even so, I still made some scones that would complete this little daydream of mine, and enjoyed them perfectly well on the go from one place to another. I used a variation of Martha Stewart’s scone recipe as a base, and then spiced it up a bit. Here’s what you need for these comforting fall treats:
- 3/4 cup peeled and diced apples (2 small or 1 large)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 6 tblsp granulated sugar
- 1 tblsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 8 tblsp chilled, unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup half-and half, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, 5 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
4. Cut the chilled butter in to small pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter in to the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form.
5. Stir in 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half until just moistened. Add the apples and mix until they are evenly distributed.
7. Using a dough scraper or sharp knife, cut the round in to 8 sections. Transfer the pieces to the lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining half-and-half. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
8. Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.
Notes on these scones: I think these turned out quite well, and there are very few changes I would consider making to the recipe. Some things I might tweak for next time would be to add more oats. Or maybe to incorporate a toasted oat topping, instead of the sugar crystals, just to highlight the oat flavor a tiny bit more. It might also be possible to get away with using less butter, but I didn’t want to risk it for this particular batch…maybe next time. Or maybe not.