Friday, November 9, 2012

Apple Custard Cake

For me, apple season starts in September.  Even though it's still hot around here, I want a spicy apple cake in the oven ~ cinnamon and ginger aromas wafting about the house.   This past September when The Baker said he was going to try a new apple cake recipe, I was ready for the apple dessert feasting to begin!!  While I was out hunting and gathering, he was home peeling and preparing.  I was gone just long enough for those lovely spicy aromas to be full blown upon my return.  When I walked into the house with the groceries, I thought he hadn't started.  Then I noticed the oven was on and I snuck a peek (not recommended) and there was a cake just starting to turn a golden brown.  Did he forget the spices?  I asked.  I did put it delicately!  He pointed out that the recipe didn't call for any spice.  The first taste?  Oh my!  It was so delicious that I asked him to prepare it for my book club meeting this week.  There were eight happy ladies who left only a small piece as The Baker's reward.

Apple Custard Cake by The Baker as adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 8 wedges then sliced into 1/8" pieces, crosswise
1 Tbsp apple brandy
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg plus two yolks
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
Confectioner's sugar for dusting on top
Sour Cream
Light brown sugar

1.  Heat oven to 325.  Spray a 9 inch springform pan with oil.  Place pan on a baking sheet lined with foil since a small amount of the batter sometimes leaks out.  Microwave the apple slices until they are slightly soft and transparent (3 minutes in our microwave but can vary).  Toss the apples with the apple brandy and lemon juice.  Cool.
2.  Whisk 1 cup of the flour with the one cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until well mixed.  In another bowl, whisk the whole egg, oil, milk and vanilla until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Transfer one cup of the batter to a separate bowl and set aside.
3.  Add the egg yolks to the remaining batter and whisk to combine.  Using a spatula, gently fold in the cooled apple slices.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly, pressing on the apples to create an even and compact surface.
4.  Whisk the remaining 2 Tbsp flour into the cup of reserved batter and pour into the pan.  Smooth out.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar evenly over the cake.
5.  Bake in the middle of the oven until the center of cake is set (test with a toothpick until it comes out clean) and the top is brown.  In our oven, this takes a little over an hour to an hour and ten minutes.  Cool in the pan for about five minutes only.  Run a spatula around the edges to loosen and then cool in the pan, until completely cooled--about an hour.  Unmold onto a cake stand and sprinkle the confectioner's sugar over the top.
NOTE:  To kick it up a notch, stir light brown sugar (to taste) into sour cream and drizzle over a slice.  Quite unnecessary but delicious.