Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple Spice Cake

It still feels like summer around here (83 degrees yesterday!), but fall is starting to creep in, little by little. While summer is still my favorite season, there are lots of things I love about autumn in NYC:

1) I get to legitimately start thinking about what I want to be for Halloween. Anyone have any ideas?

2) I have an excuse to purchase a $5 pashmina or a $10 hat from the guy on the corner, because I "forgot" mine this morning and now I'm a little chilly.


I'm sorry, California, but your apples simply don't compare to the ones we get out here. Also, because we New Yorkers walk everywhere, our commutes take us right through the middle of farmer's markets. That means there are juicy, orchard-fresh, bigger-than-your-fist sized apples everywhere we go. And don't even get me started on the apple cider donuts...

Needless to say, I could barely wait until after Labor Day to try this apple spice bundt cake. The cake turned out beautifully: moist, dense, spicy with cinnamon, and with a pleasing variety of textures thanks to the chewy apple chunks and crunchy nuts. Since I was traveling with this cake, I paired it with a caramel glaze, but I'm sure it would also be fabulous served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce as the original recipe suggests.

In the end, I'm not sure I like this cake as much as mine and Becky's signature apple cake, which is more like carrot cake made with apples (hopefully we'll post that soon!), but this is definitely a crowd pleaser perfect for fall dinner parties, or even a brunch.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I can hear the apples in my fridge from all the way over here. They are screaming "Eat me! Eat me!" I think I'll go put one of them out of their misery.


Apple Spice Cake
Cake adapted from Martha Stewart
Glaze adapted from All Recipes
Serves 10

For cake:
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 to 4 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3 cups)
1 cup chopped assorted toasted nuts, such as pecans and walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray with flour

For caramel glaze:
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside.
2. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. Combine vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs; mix on high speed with an electric mixer until lemon yellow.
4. With mixer on medium speed, gradually shake in dry ingredients until just incorporated.

5. Add apples and, if desired, nuts, to batter; mix to combine. Add vanilla, mixing until incorporated.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes.

7. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; turn cake right-side up to cool completely on rack.

To make caramel glaze:
8. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in heavy cream and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously for 90 seconds, or until sugar is a deep amber color. If you start to smell burned sugar, take the caramel off the heat immediately.

9. Remove from heat and beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. If mixture is too thick to pour, add more cream 1 teaspoon at a time.

10. Working very quickly, pour glaze over cake. (This glaze hardens super fast!)

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