It's apple season, and I am so excited! I've been watching the branch of my neighbors apple tree carefully all summer. He has a beautiful old tree in the corner of his backyard, and one of its larger branches stretches over into my yard. So when I looked out and saw that the branch was nearly touching the ground because it was so heavy with sweet little apples, I knew it was time to do some picking.
Last year I made a delicious Cardamom Apple Cider Butter from Ashley English's book, Canning & Preservingg. That butter is long gone (it was so good!). So this year I thought, lets deconstruct it. And what better vehicle for those beautiful, rich flavors than a simple apple cake?
After a bit of searching, I found a lovely and easy to prepare recipe by way of France. I liked this one because of its simplicity, it really lets the apples shine through. I would agree with the authors statement that it is really more apple than cake.
So I took the beloved staples of the Cardamom Apple Cider Butter and integrated them into this classic Apple Cake recipe, and I have to say...
... the results are pretty darn fantastic! The subtraction of the rum and the addition of apples marinated in apple cider vinegar, cardamom, cinnamon, and little bit of sugar make for a delicious apple cake that puts the apple front and center.
Recipe: (Adapted form this original recipe)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar (use 1 tablespoon of this for the marinade)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used Braggs)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, or the seed from 2 pods of freshly ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks. After chopping up the apples marinate them for 20 min in the apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, cardamom, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stirring every few minutes to keep the apples coated.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the vanilla. Next, whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples and marinade, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's even-ish.
Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
I whipped up some unsweetened whipping cream and found it to be a delightful combination! Cinnamon or vanilla ice cream could also be great. I will even go so far as to say that this cake would be a great breakfast on the go (minus the whipped cream or ice cream of course).
* Last time in Recipes: 10 Homemade Snacks