Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saying "Thank You" with Apple Cake!

It seemed only appropriate that I return the generosity of my friend who introduced me to Japanese eggplant... I mean, that is what my momma would want me to do. In the name of good manners, I was willing to bite the bullet and come up with something do offer in exchange. Of course, that thought logically led me to think of a baked good. What better way to repay kindness than with some sugar (and that goes double for homemade goods deprived college students!)

Okay, it only happens to be a minor detail that I was actually LOOKING for an excuse to whip up this apple cake. I loved the recipe from the moment I saw it: Fresh apples. A hint of orange. Some chopped walnuts... Channeling Ina Garten, "What could be bad about that?"

What may be the very best part about the recipe-- I soon discovered-- was that it portions perfectly into three mini-loaf pans. What does this mean? If you guessed one to share, one to enjoy now and another to enjoy later then you are a winner (and are getting to know me all too well)!

I got the original recipe from "Food Republik", but as with any recipe, I took it on as a bit of a challenge, tweaking the original to fit my personal preferences. That is where walnuts and a little bit of maple syrup enter the picture. So then, feel free to adjust it to will or whim. I'm thinking next time I would love to incorporate some caramel or even some dried cranberries. Fortunately apples lend themselves wonderfully to a variety of flavors, so the possibilities are as endless as apples are available!

The primary adjustment I made, and with great success, was substituting the oil that is called for with applesauce. This is quite possibly one of the greatest tricks my mom ever taught me in the kitchen, and so simple to follow: an equal amount of applesauce can be substituted when a recipe calls for oil. I personally have never noticed a difference in taste, and actually prefer the lightness and underlying "appleness" that the applesauce contributes. This exchange lends itself best to cakes, breads, and brownies than cookies, although it can be done.

Onward to the apple cake! Oh, the lingering smell of cinnamon that fills the kitchen is enough to try this recipe... and that is before even getting to the taste. Let me just summarize by saying I wrote this recipe down as:

The Best Cinnamon Apple Cake...
and "best" is a serious matter


For apples...
  • 3 apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
For batter...
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • scant 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel apples, cut into chunks, mix with cinnamon, sugar, and syrup.
  • In separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and salt.
  • In another bowl, mix applesauce, orange juice, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry, add eggs and stir together.
  • Pour half of batter into single greased loaf pan (or divide half of batter evenly among three mini-loaf pans, as I did). Top with half of apples, add rest of batter, spreading over top of apples. Finally, top with remaining apples, arranging evenly.
  • Bake 1.25 to 1.5 hours, until toothpick comes out clean.
    NOTE: If apples are browning too quickly, tent with foil.
There it is: a simple, satisfying, and slightly healthifyed apple cake. Great when topped with a scoop of ice cream; even better when shared with a friend!

1 comment:

  1. That apple cake needs to be tested at my house! Sounds and looks delicious!