Southern Apple Cake

Fresh Apple Cake with Pecans and Brown Sugar Glaze

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups finely chopped apples
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
For the Glaze:
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons evaporated milk, or half and half, or milk

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch pan, or two 8- or 9-inch cake pans, round or square. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, soda, and salt, and stir with a fork to mix everything together well.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk, a wooden spoon, or an electric mixer at low speed until pale yellow and foamy. Add the oil and the vanilla, and beat them together well. Stir in the sugar-flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix the batter, stopping as soon as the flour disappears. Add the apples and nuts, stir to mix them into the batter until fairly uniform, and scrape the batter into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, springs back when touched lightly near the center, and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Place the cake on a wire cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel. Make the glaze while the cake is hot. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Spoon the glaze all over the hot-from-the-oven cake. Let the glazed cake cool completely, and serve in squares right from the pan.

Makes one 9 x 13-inch cake

From Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations. Chronicle Books 2007. Copyright Nancie McDermott. All rights reserved.

French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
One 9-inch (23 cm) cake
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Dorie doesn’t specify any type of apple but instead advises that you should use a mix of them. I don’t know what kind mine were since I’d picked them myself (they’re pictured at the top). The rum is really vital for the taste, and the cake would be not as interesting without it. If you’re avoiding alcohol, you could double to triple up on the vanilla to compensate.

I also like this recipe because you can make it with ingredients easily on hand. Being American, I was tempted to add a dusting of ground cinnamon to the apples, but then it wouldn’t be authentically French. Hence I decided a dollop of crème fraîche alongside to be rather nice.
3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples, a mix of varieties
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.
5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter
6. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
7. Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.
8. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.
Serving: Serve wedges of the cake just by itself, or with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Storage: The cake will keep for up to three days covered. Since the top is very moist, it’s best to store it under a cake dome or overturned bowl.

German Apple-Almond Cake

German Apple-Almond Cake (Apfel-Marzipan-Kuchen)
10 to 12 servings
Adapted from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

I used a mix of apples, some tart, some less-so. Do use good-quality, flavorful apples, preferably ones from a farmers’ market, which taste better than supermarket varieties. For suggestions on which apples to use, ask the people at the farm stand or choose those that have a fragrance. Apples are related to roses, so often have a faint, yet lovely, rosy smell. If your apples are small, use 6 of them.

Luisa recommends grating the almond paste, which I didn’t do, so I had to run the mixture through a food processor. Since my almond paste was “artisanal” it wasn’t as moist as what you buy at the grocery story, so that may have been the culprit. So I recommend grating the almond paste in step #4.
4 medium apples, (1 3/4 pounds, 800g)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
7 ounces (200g) almond paste
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoons almond extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup, 3 tablespoons (150g) flour
9 tablespoons (80g) cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum free
1/4 cup (75g) apricot jam, strained if lumpy
1. Butter a 9- to 10-inch (23cm) springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Peel and core the apples. Divide the lemon juice into two separate bowls. Slice two of the peeled and cored apples into 1/2-inch (1,25cm) slices, and toss the apple slices in one bowl of lemon juice. Dice the other two apples into 1/3-inch (1cm) cubes. Toss in the other bowl of lemon juice.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
4. Using a grater with large holes, grate the almond paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and salt and mix until the almond paste is finely broken up.
5. Add the melted butter, almond extract, and lemon zest, and continue mixing until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
6. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the almond batter mixture by hand, then fold in the diced apples, along with any lemon juice in the bowl.
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place the sliced apples in concentric circles on top of the batter, pressing them in very lightly.
8. Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
9. Remove the cake from the oven. Warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan and brush it over the top while the cake is hot. Let the cake cool completely, then run a knife around the inside of the cake pan to release the cake, and remove the sides of the cake pan.
Serving and storage: This cake is so moist, it doesn’t require any accompaniment. However softly whipped cream, perhaps lightly spiced with cinnamon or allspice and a bit of vanilla or Cognac, would be welcome. Cinnamon ice cream would be lovely. The cake can be kept at room temperature for 3-4 days. Avoid freezing it, which could make it soggy.

FAQs

Can I make my own almond paste?

I’ve not done it but it takes a very powerful machine (food processor) to get it as finely ground as purchased almond paste. Luisa has a recipe in her book (page 264) for those who want to give it a go. In the United States, I like Love ‘n Bake, but the tubes and packages of it sold in supermarkets (such as Solo or Odense brands) are generally of good quality, too.

Can I use marzipan?

Most marzipan is meant for modeling, so has more sugar (and sometimes glucose) added, to make it more pliable. So use almond paste, not marzipan. Nigella Lawson says that almond paste in England is called marzipan. So check that link for advisements if you live in the United Kingdom.

Can I make this without nuts?

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a nut-free substitute for almond paste.

Does it matter if my almond paste is blanched or unblanched?

It’s generally a matter of preference and what’s available. Either will work in this recipe. Unblanched almond paste is darker in color, but harder to find.

Is there a good way to remove this from the pan, for presenting and serving?

You can run a knife or spatula underneath the kuchen to remove it from the pan bottom and lift it slightly with a spatula, then futz underneath to peel off the parchment paper and slide it onto a serving platter. (It sounds complicated, but it actually quite easy as the cake is not fragile. You can also use a glass bottom springform pan and omit the parchment paper.

Shredded Apple Jam

Apple Chhundo / Shredded Apple Jam

This recipe makes enough for four people to enjoy with dinner. About a quarter cup? A lot depends on the type and size of apples you use. This lasts in the fridge for months (the same way a normal jam or jelly you buy would last), or at room temperature for around a week (in Chicago!!! That would be around 70 degrees F!).

If you have ever had mango (keri) chhundo, you will love this recipe. The proper type of mango (kachi keri) to make a pickle (athana/achar) is not frequently available in the US. However, apples are plentiful all year round.

This recipe taste great with naan, rice, bread (toasted), roti, paratha, poori, veggies, or really anything. I personally enjoy eating spoonfuls by itself, the way a normal person would eat Nutella. YMMV.

Note: Sugar and salt amounts depend on the type of apple you use and how sweet or tart it is. A Granny Smith apple would require more sugar than a Macintosh, for example. Start at the bottom of the scale and work your way up, tasting the jam along the way. (You can add more sugar and salt than I’ve suggested, as I said, it depends on your taste :)) (If you want to be super fancy, you can add some ghol/jaggery in addition to the sugar — just a few tsp will make a huge difference in taste. If you don’t have ghol, you can use brown sugar. Whatever you like. If you are partial to molasses cookies, you will like the recipe with brown sugar or ghol. If you are partial to sugar cookies, you will like it with plain sugar. Experiment to find what you like best).

Note: This recipe is pretty mild, but full of spices. It is not hot the way most people think of Indian food as being. My family and I are from Chicago, and do not eat spicy food. If you want to increase the heat quotient, increase the amount of paprika, or add a red chili pepper (dried) to the vaghar. Most Indian people in India add chili peppers to vaghar, that is why the food is so darn spicy. My family and I do not do this. It is horrible, like cooking with chili oil. However, if that is your thing, go for it! If you absolutely (for health reasons or whatever) cannot tolerate hot food, omit the paprika. If you cannot tolerate spicy food, omit the cinnamon, black pepper, clove, and paprika. Don’t worry, it will still taste good without it 😉

Ingredients:

1 apple, shredded (use a hard apple, like Macintosh, Granny Smith, Red Delicious)
1/4 tsp mustard seeds (rye)
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldar)
1/8 tsp asafoetida (hing)
3 whole black pepper
1 in cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (depending on taste)
2-3 tbsp sugar (depending on taste)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 bay leaves

Directions:

  1. Vaghar – put oil on heated pot until oil is hot. Add mustard seeds (they will splatter). Add fenugreek seeds. Add cumin. Add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, black pepper. Add turmeric and asafoetida. Add paprika.
  2. Add shredded apple. Let cook until all moisture is gone.
  3. Add paprika, salt and sugar.
  4. Let cook until all moisture is gone. Sugar will lose water and then thicken into jam consistency.
  5. It takes a few minutes after you add the sugar until the sugar comes together in a thick syrup.
  6. Remove from stove.
  7. Enjoy!

NOTE: I usually enjoy with with poori and a nice hot cup of Indian tea.

NOTE: Most people can’t taste the difference between this apple chhundo and a normal gujarati keri chhundo. 😉

Apple Cake

YIELD: A 9×13 sheet cake

CAKE
2 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples
1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans

FROSTING
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ pan.
  2. To make the cake: Mix all of the ingredients except the apples and nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Beat until well combined; the mixture will be very stiff, and may even be crumbly.
  4. Add the apples and nuts, and mix until the apples release some of their juice and the stiff mixture becomes a thick batter, somewhere between cookie dough and brownie batter in consistency.
  5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing it with your wet fingers.
  6. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few wet crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool completely; don’t remove the cake from the pan.
  8. To make the frosting: Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts.
  9. Add the milk, bring to a boil, and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes, stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat well; if the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar. Spread on the cake while frosting is still warm.
    Yield: about 2 dozen servings.

Kicked Up Apple Crisp

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I’m of Indian origin, and I like spices. For most American recipes, I generally double, triple or quadruple the amount of spices specified. Most people don’t, spices are expensive, and they don’t know which spice blends well with others. The below recipe is, IMHO, what a proper apple crisp should taste like. If you don’t like spices, simply omit them, or minimally use 1/2 tsp cinnamon only.

This is my original recipe. Enjoy!

Note: Always use McCormick spices for best flavors. Yes, it is worth the money, and yes, it makes a difference. If you can’t afford McCormick, just omit the spices altogether. Bad spices will really mar the flavor of your baking, and totally undermine the work you put into your meal.

This is a one dish (the pyrex brownie pan) and one bowl (for the dry ingredients) recipe. No measuring cup or anything to clean, just use a big tablespoon and a knife to cut the bIMG_20160320_164016utter. Spices are not measured either, just sprinkle evenly straight from the bottle.

Important: do not substitute other apple types for the granny smith apples. Yes, it makes a difference. Granny smith apples are preferred in baking because they don’t get mushy when you bake them. See picture of the apples at right, fork cut after baking:

Also, granny smith apples are tart, so if you sub in something else, the sugar content will have to be adjusted. I like the blend of sweet and sour and spicy the granny smith apples provide. It makes the dessert feel less sweet (and easier to finish a whole pan by yourself!)

Yield: One 8×8 brownie pan full.

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Ingredients:

FILLING:

2 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
1/2 tsp allspice, ground
1/4 tsp clove, ground
1/4 stick butter, softened
1/4 tsp lemon juice (fresh!)

TOPPING:

4 big tablespoons all purpose flour
6 big tablespoons quaker oats
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line up sliced apples in bottom of pyrex pan. One layer is sufficient. Eat any extras. You will generally use 1.5 large granny smith apples for the one layer, or 2 small granny smith apples.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice over the apples.
  3. Sprinkle spices over the apples.
  4. Dot butter over the apples.
  5. It should look like this:IMG_20160320_155744
  6. Now mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands and smush it all together. When it is all mixed well, and there isn’t any loose flour or oatmeal wandering around, you are done. It should look like this (you can see the tablespoon I used to measure the flour and oatmeal in the picture too):IMG_20160320_155751
  7. Now lay the flour mixture over the apples in the pan in a nice even layer. It won’t be perfect. It doesn’t matter. In the oven, it’ll mix and ooze deliciously regardless. It looks like this before you put it in the oven:IMG_20160320_160038
  8. Bake 375 F for 25 min. It will ooze and bubble deliciously.
  9. Enjoy hot out of the oven. Tastes great covered with whipping cream (liquid or whipped), ice cream, or yogurt, drizzled with caramel sauce.
  10. Enjoy!

This dessert is super fast and super easy, it takes 15 minutes to put together.

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Bake it just as you and your family are sitting down to dinner, and by the time you finish, a nice hot dessert will be ready for you!

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I love serving this to guests and to family for the holidays, or bringing it to a potluck. If you omit the spices, the apple crisp still tastes good, and becomes a very economical option for gifting. Yum yum yum! Enjoy!

Blondie’s Apple Chips

From: http://fortheloveofblonde.com/2015/11/24/baked-apple-chips/

Ingredients:

Apples
Cinnamon 3 tsp
Sugar 3 tbsp

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 260 F.
  2. Slice apples thinly.
  3. Dip into cinnamon sugar mix (if desired).
  4. Bake 1.5-2 hours, or until edges curl up and dry.

NOTE: I’ve done this with pineapple slices straight out of the can, and it works SO WELL.