I really wasn’t even planning on doing this recipe as a post. Heck, I wasn’t even planning on baking this cake at all until a couple of hours ago, but since it can be difficult for me to predict when a baking mood will hit and when I’ll have some ingredients on hand that I’d like to use up rather than toss out, it looks like we find ourselves with a freshly baked fall cake as a little bonus recipe this week. It’s a sweet treat that’s so deliciously irresistible that it just had to be shared. So what do you say; shall we have our cake and eat it, too?
Somehow, that combination of apples and spice baking away in a cake or other fall dessert always reminds me a bit of an apple orchard that fries up some of those delectable and addictive apple donuts or fritters on the weekends. It’s one of the coziest scents that I can think of, one that contains the darker, more caramel-y nuances of the combination of butter, brown sugar, cider and cinnamon. And I absolutely adore being able to use fresh-pressed apple juice in the actual batter of something that I’m making with apples, like in last year’s little gem-of-a-recipe for Old Mill Apple Cider Hushpuppies — it provides extra flavor, and a sweet, soft moistness. Fresh apples are grated for this particular cake, and their juice is squeezed out and used in the actual batter and also as a light “syrup” that’s poured over top of the cake while it’s still warm. Talk about “fresh-pressed” juiciness at it’s best. And while this cake is baking, while it’s taking its sweet time puffing and browning in the oven, its aroma utterly fills ever room in the vicinity of the kitchen with that warm, spiced, “home-made” scent — and what could be more inviting and mouth-watering? Let me tell you, that “country apple pie” scented aromatherapy candle in your kitchen has nothing on this little Apple Cider Spice Cake.
Apple Cider Spice Cake wasn’t even on my mind until just a short while ago. Frankly, it came as an inspiration when I decided to clean out the fruit drawer of my refrigerator and get rid of those gala apples that had been in there for a couple of weeks. Go figure. I guess those little apples had a lot left to offer, and a real life of meaning post fruit drawer after all — what a delicious fall dessert they’ve produced! And I love when that happens. But even more, I love to be able to share the results with you when it does.
Now for that cake…
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Apple Cider Spice Cake
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(Serves about 12)
7 gala apples, unpeeled
2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ¼ cup brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided use
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sour Cream Drizzle (recipe below)
2-3 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional garnish)
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and mist a bundt pan, or similar style cake pan, with cooking spray.
-Begin by grating the unpeeled gala apples using a box grater, and add them into a bowl; prepare two more small bowls, and take a handful of the grated apples, and squeeze as much of the juice out of them into one of the other bowls as possible; place the squeezed-out apples into the other bowl; repeat the process until all the grated apples have been squeezed of their juice, and set them aside for a moment.
-Strain the squeezed-out juice, and reserve it. (You should have roughly ¾ of a cup of juice.)
-In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon, and whisk to aerate and blend; set aside for a moment.
-To a large bowl, add the 1 ¼ cups brown sugar, the granulated sugar, the eggs and the vanilla, and with a hand mixer, beat those ingredients on low for about 2 minutes until fluffy; next, add in the melted butter, and continue to mix for another 30 seconds or so, until incorporated.
-To the sugar/egg/butter mixture, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, and carefully mix that until incorporated; add another 1/3, and mix to incorporate, then the final 1/3 and again mix to incorporate well.
-Finally, add the grated apples into the batter along with about 6 tablespoons (¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons) of the reserved apple juice squeezed from the grated apples, and fold those in with a spatula until well blended.
-Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean; allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack, and poke a few holes with the wooden skewer into the top of it.
-While the cake is still warm, combine the remainder of the reserved apple juice (roughly ½ cup) with the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a small sauce pan, and allow it to very gently simmer for a few minutes until glossy and reduced by almost half; pour this juice reduction over the cake very slowly, allowing it to absorb into the cake, but don’t worry if it doesn’t completely absorb—it will continue to do so as the cake cools; allow the cake to cool completely before glazing decoratively with the Sour Cream Drizzle, and garnishing with chopped walnuts, if desired.
Sour Cream Drizzle ingredients:
4 ½ tablespoons sour cream
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
-In a small bowl, carefully combine the sour cream and the powdered sugar with a whisk until smooth; keep in fridge until ready to glaze your cake.