Saturday, September 27, 2014

French Apple Cake

French Apple Cake
Apples are everywhere all through the year, but at the beginning of Fall they are absolutely the best. They're fresh and that's always the secret to fantastic food. Our state doesn't have an apple harvest of any import, certainly not like the NW, but we have those fresh delicious orbs available through our local produce purveyors. Which makes me happy. And while shopping the other day, I picked up a couple of varieties, Honey Crisp & Gala. My intention was to use them for an apple recipe I'd never made before. Then I began my quest. I did what I usually do, searched cookbooks on hand and trolled the Internet for ideas. This recipe really caught my attention; I actually saw it on Pinterest and followed a very long and winding trail through several blogs where it had been featured over and over. It is a recipe by chef/author Dorie Greenspan which she adapted from a cake made by a friend in France, Marie-Helene. It seems the lady didn't want to share the recipe, so she found a way to enjoy the cake by playing around with what she did know about it and this, her final receipt. It's in Dorie's cookbook, Around My French Table. The ingredient list is small and easily things you would have in the pantry, which makes it all the more desirable as a keeper recipe.

You definitely want to try this cake...simple, straightforward, a genuine apple experience. There are no warm spices in this recipe, the apple shines as the star of each slice with a back note of rum and vanilla. And as it's baking, the aroma, oh my! So lets get to the recipe, shall we?

French Apple Cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 apples
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons unsalted butter

The method as I prepared the ingredients:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper (my favorite) or into a small bowl. Peel, core and cut the apples into chunks. Melt the butter and cool slightly. Into a mixing bowl add the eggs and sugar and whisk until well combined. Splash in the rum and vanilla and stir. Add half the flour mixture and half the melted butter. Stir to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and butter and stir until you achieve a smooth batter. Toss in the apples and fold in gently with a spatula. Pour into a buttered and floured pan, place into a pre-heated oven set at 350 degrees and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. The top of the cake will be nicely browned and slightly firm to the touch. Remove and cool before slicing. 

Note: Three things actually... 1) It is recommended to use a springform pan for this cake and if I planned on serving it as a special dessert for guests I would certainly heed that suggestion. But Mama's VERY old cake pan was calling to me today and so I used it. 2) Use different apples for this, which creates a textural difference in the way they bake. I used only the two I had on hand, but you could use four different types.  3) Whipped creme would be gilding the lily, but it would also be divine!

Mama's old cake pan

To begin...

Apple chunks on waxed paper waiting for the batter

First mixing of wet and dry

In go the apples for the folding

Into Mama's old pan ~ I would love to share a slice with her today
Ready for the oven ~ As you can see it's all about apples

I bet you'd love a slice of this beauty

A slice on Mama's Blue Willow ~ A snowy dusting of powdered sugar

It slices like a dream ~ Almost pudding like texture
I'll definitely make this again ~ So delicious

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