I walked outside the other day, the sunlight was a little different, not so bright, not so in your face. The light had taken on a warm orange hue. Even if temperatures are high, it just doesn’t seem as hot, the day’s end is a little earlier. There is a crispness in the air and colors seem more vibrant. That’s when I sense fall has arrived. I love the fall, it means APPLES! Remember the scene from Forrest Gump with Bubba reciting what you could do with shrimp? Well, that’s how I am with apples. You can bake it, cook it, juice it, put it in salads, pancakes, casseroles, eat it out of hand. There’s apple pie, apple dumpling, apple cake, fried apples, sautéed apples, applesauce, apple crisp, caramel apples….yep, love them apples.
Growing up there was the one apple to rule them all, the Red Delicious (ok, so I grew up in the city). I didn’t know other varieties existed, when Golden Delicious apples started showing up, that was a major deal. Now the varieties are endless, Jonagold, Empire, Mutsu, Pink Lady, the list keeps growing. When I make an apple pie I use at least 3 different varieties, I look for a balance of tart and sweet, apples that hold their shape and some that breakdown as the pie bakes. Apparently, I just don’t micromanage my kids I seem to be an apple pie micromanager as well…sigh.
We were invited to Rosh Hosannah celebration the other evening, I volunteered to make dessert. Not enough time to make a pie (recipe for apple pie will be in a later post, promise), I decided on a simple French Apple Cake I found on Once Upon a Chef. A perfect way to bring in the New Year.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling over cake
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 2 sweet baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Fuji or Golden Delicious work or combination)
- Confectioners' sugar (optional), for decorating cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch springform or regular cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and rum. Don't worry if the batter looks grainy. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped apples.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool until just warm. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan if using. Using a fine sieve, dust with Confectioners' sugar (if using).
- Cake can be served warm or room temperature, with or without lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.