Monday, December 23, 2013

Diced Apple Cake

It's almost Christmas! Eek! Have you done all of your Christmas shopping yet? My family isn't huge on presents in general so it's not a big deal and none of it stresses us out. If we can think of something fun or if someone specifically requests something (usually out of necessity) then we'll make a baby-sized production of it. The funnest Christmas gift I bought this year was a toy for George Michael (my dog). I got him this stuffing-less beaver toy whose head squeaks and whose giant tail is filled with crunchy-sounding plastic. I know GM is going to love it.

Honestly, for me, Christmas is more about the food (my gosh, prime rib, I'm drooling) than the presents so the best part is planning, cooking, and consuming Christmas dinner. Oh, and duh, Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus, duh, but that's a touchy subject for a lot of people so I won't get into it. I do enjoy all of the holiday cheer in the air though. It's nice.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, my coworker, who originally hails from Illinois and has an apple tree in the backyard of his Illinois home, brought me a huge bag of apples from said tree. How lucky is he that there's an apple tree in his backyard? He warned me that they were a bit on the soft side so they were probably better for baking than for eating fresh. I wasn't in the mood to make pie or applesauce or any of the "usual" stuff so I decided to make a cake using a LOT of apple and I came up with the following:
Ingredients:
6 medium-sized apples
3 eggs
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup powdered sugar
+ whipped cream (optional)

Start by peeling the apples, removing the cores, and dicing them into little cubes. I used a melon baller to core the apples because I don't have a corer. It works just as well.
Grease a pan - I used a springform pan - and then throw the diced apples right into the pan. If you're using a normal pan (meaning not a springform pan) I would recommend lining it with parchment paper as well. This will just make it a bit easier to flip the cake out of the pan later on.
In a big bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and honey. Beat with an electric mixer (or by hand if you have the stamina) until the mixture goes from a rich yellow to a pale yellow. There is no chemical leavening agent in this batter. The batter will only rise by mechanical leavening, like a genoise batter (e.g. Madeleines).
Once the mixture is pale, beat in the vanilla extract.
Dump in the flour, salt, and cinnamon and then use a spoon or spatula to mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir just long enough to barely combine the ingredients together. Lumps are okay. Mixing too much will deflate the air that was incorporated into the egg and sugar mixture and result in a dense dough.
Pour the batter over the apples and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Give the pan a little jiggle to make sure the batter reaches the bottom and gets in between all of the apple pieces. Bake the cake at 350F for 45 minutes or until browned and lovely and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
You can flip out the cake while it's still hot, like I did, if you used a springform pan. You might need to wait a little bit if you're trying to flip the cake out of a non-springform pan.
Dust the cake with plenty of powdered sugar to make it look all lovely and festive - like a dusting of snow - and then serve. It's amazing when it's still warm.
I plopped a nice big dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon just for some flair.
And then, it's time to dig in.
This cake is SO apple-y. The ratio of cake to apple is like, 1:5, but that's what I like about it. It's not overly sugary, it's just got a lot of natural sweetness from the apples. This would be an amazing cake to eat for breakfast for that v. reason and it would be delicious with a cup of tea (I'd probably go with chai). And you know, it's sort of healthy, because it's mostly apple, so you can't feel overly guilty for indulging in a second slice.
Here's the recipe page:

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