Mom makes apple cake
I’ve been a Dorie Greenspan fan ever since Bill gave me her Baking with Julia for our 10th wedding anniversary back in 1996. Every recipe I have tried from that book has been terrific, so I was pretty excited when I tore the paper off of Bill’s Christmas present this year and found Baking, From My Home to Yours.
Of course, as you all know, I’ve been on Weight Watchers since before Christmas and have scarcely allowed a morsel of flour and butter to pass my lips except for the goodies we made for the party and the cheating I do in the middle of the night, which lately has been pretzel rods dipped into Nutella and a more delicious snack you won’t find anywhere.
But a dinner party does call for some baking, and I dipped into my new cookbook when we had guests over recently. I was actually looking for some sort of chocolate-pecan tart since I have about five pounds of pecans left over from making Christmas cookies, but while searching for it ran across a recipe for what Greenspan calls a Double Apple Bundt Cake. I know, we were already eating dumplings and rolls with our salad, and now I’m serving cake for dessert, so it was a carbohydrate-rich dinner, but people crave carbohydrates in this cold weather, don’t they? And the cake was dense and fruity and had nuts and raisins in it, so it wasn’t like a pound cake or something.
It also appealed to me because I’ve been looking for an updated version of an old family favorite, a recipe given to us by a neighbor when I was in high school and we were living in central Florida, called Ida-Jane’s Apple Cake. I stopped liking Ida-Jane’s cake because it’s made with a cup of oil and I just don’t like baked goods made with oil any more. This recipe calls for butter and apple butter, yet in other respects is a lot like Ida-Jane’s cake. I used the brown sugar–caramel glaze from the Ida-Jane recipe because it’s simply yummy, rather than the insipid-sounding confectioner’s sugar glaze in the Greenspan book. In retrospect I might skip the raisins and use a few more nuts (I toasted the nuts, which the recipe does not call for).
Double Apple Bundt Cake, from Baking, From My Home to Yours
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup store-bought apple butter, spiced or plain
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and grated
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (I toasted them, also)
- 1/2 cup plump, moist raisins, (dark or golden)
For the caramel glaze:
- 1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350º F. Butter and flour a 9-10 inch bundt pan. Don’t place pan on a baking sheet; you want the oven’s heat to circulate through the bundt’s inner tube.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.
Working with stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed, for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth, thick, and pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition; you’ll have a light, fluffy batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the apple butter – don’t worry if it curdles the batter. Still on low, add the grated apples and mix to completely blend. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins. Turn the batter into the bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter with the spatula.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. (This took a little longer in my oven.) Transfer the cake to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and frosting with caramel glaze. Cool completely before serving. Greenspan says cake is better if allowed to ripen for one day.
To make glaze: Bring butter, sugar, and milk to boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over hot cake. This really runs so put strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake.