Apple Coffee Cake

Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

My favorite way to write about recipes or cooking on this site is by sharing how each recipe intersects my life. That being said, sometimes a recipe lends itself to a more technical write-up, and I think that is the direction I am going to head with today's Apple Coffee Cake recipe.

I've been swamped, so I wanted a recipe that came together fast with big payoff. The Big Book of Vegetarian by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley successfully jumped off the shelf and into my shopping basket the other day. Many of the recipes fit the quick-and-easy bill. As you all know, I'm typically up for the grande culinary adventure, but for once it was refreshing to dive into a book void of obscure, tough to find ingredients. My guess is that 95% of the ingredients listed in this book can be found in most well-stocked supermarkets. A single-store cookbook, bless her.

This spicy cake punctuated with oozy, warm apples jumped out at me immediately. The Tuscan Quiche looked good, so did the Caramelized Onion Flatbread...but in the end, the prospect of baked apples won me over.

Yum.

If you can make a batch of cookies, you can make this cake - in roughly the same amount of steps. I know some of you are intimidated by cakes. Don't be. This is essentially a cookie dough with a little added liquid that makes it more of a batter than a dough. If you think of it this way you can start to think of the batter as a canvas that can accept all sorts of different fruits, spices, zests, or ingredients. Today it is all about apples, but maybe earlier in the year you might want to use plum segments, or nectarines, or big, sweet cherries - change up the spices a bit.

I started out the way I do with many cookie doughs - you know the drill. Sort the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, etc, etc....Sounds familiar right? You end up baking the cake in an 8-inch spring form pan. The apple slices are arranged in a circular pattern on top.

As you can imagine the cake smells delicious - make this cake before a brunch and people will get woozy from the warm cinnamon air and anticipation of freshly baked apples.

I do have a couple tips, things I would do a bit differently next time. The main thing I will do is plunge the apple segments deep into the cake rather than arrange in a circular pattern on top. I suspect that will help keep the cake (and apples) nice and moist. Maybe I will even just stir them right into the batter before pouring into the pan, reserving a few to arrange on top. Because I ran out of room on top (whoops, I was supposed to overlap more), I ended up using less apple than the recipe called for.

The other thing is to really keep an eye on your baking time. I ended up baking for 50 minutes at 350F (after the initial 450F spurt), and if I had let it go much longer the cake would have been dry as a bone. So err on the side of slight under cooking vs. over. The cake will continue to bake on your counter for a while after you pull it out of the oven, so factor that in as well. I also couldn't resist a slight dusting of powdered sugar on top before serving.

Let me know if you give this one a spin, pretty darn tasty.

p.s: For those of you who haven't been recieving email notifications when I update - we should have that fixed sometime this week. My ISP shut off the list because it was getting too big...so we are figuring out the work-around. I will give everyone the heads up when it is back up and functional.

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Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

Heidi notes: I do have a couple tips, things I would do a bit differently next time. The main thing I will do is plunge the apple segments deep into the cake rather than arrange in a circular pattern on top. I suspect that will help keep the cake (and apples) nice and moist. Maybe I will even just stir them right into the batter before pouring into the pan, reserving a few to arrange on top. Because I ran out of room on top (whoops, I was supposed to overlap more), I ended up using less apple than the recipe called for.

The other thing is to really keep an eye on your baking time. I ended up baking for 50 minutes at 350F (after the initial 450F spurt), and if I had let it go much longer the cake would have been dry as a bone. So err on the side of slight under cooking vs. over. The cake will continue to bake on your counter for a while after you pull it out of the oven, so factor that in as well. I also couldn't resist a slight dusting of powdered sugar on top before serving. Serve warm or room temp.

2 medium tart apples such as Granny Smith
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk or plain soy milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup apple jelly, stirred over low heat until smooth

Preheat the oven to 450F. Lightly grease and flour an 8-by-3-inch springform pan. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut each quarter into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until blended. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until smooth.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Arrange the apple wedges, overlapping them slightly, in a circular pattern over the batter. Brush the apples with half of the apple jelly. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes longer, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan. Brush the top of the cake with the remaining apple jelly. Cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature.

Serves 8.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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