I was sent a lovely gift from the apple producers in Europe as they are promoting European Apples here in the UAE. It was really nice to get such a fresh healthy treat after indulging in way too many Iftars these days... and especially since apples in the UAE are not cheap (as they are all imported). I ate a few crispy and crunchy on their own...some with fresh slices of parmigian cheese, and then a few others sprinkled in salads, usually with toasted walnuts, endive and feta cheese.
However, ever since I was a kid, my favorite way to eat an apple, is in baked in a cake. When I told B that I was going to make an apple cake, he asked, "You mean and apple pie"? No. Apple cake is very popular in Italy (and elsewhere in Europe), so my mother would make it often as a fairly easy and quick way to create something pretty special, while chasing after her three kids. Since my mom is living 12 time zones away and I had an impromptu dinner party to attend to, for this cake I used Dorie Greenspan's, recipe, below. I knew that Dorie can always be trusted.
One of my favorite things about this cake, is that the sweetness of the fresh fruit really comes through. And of course the accent of just a little vanilla and a splash of rum doesn't hurt. It is the perfect light cake to have after dinner with a dab of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Or for breakfast the next day with your coffee or tea.
With apple season, just around the corner, keep this recipe in your back pocket. You will be amazed at the simple deliciousness. The texture and look of the cake will also depend on the size of your apples and the ratio of your apples to batter. I went a little heavier on the apples. , I know I am going out on a limb here, but I would even try it with other fruits too...once you master apples. The possibilities could go on to pears and firmer stone fruits like peaches and apricots...
B was feeling enlightened with his "new" apple cake (not pie) discovery, and as the a guy who is not shy about agreeing to take home any offered leftovers, he was pretty upset that there were only a few crumbs and my dirty cake plate at the end of the night. Thanks Dorie G!
Apple Cake adapted from Dorie Greenspan
3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tablespoons rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center.
2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet (I only had a 9.5-inch pan, so my cake was a bit thinner).
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Peel and core and dice the apples into 1-inch 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 apples until they are well-coated and scrape it all into your prepared pan. Then smooth the top with a spatula.
8. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick 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 it, making sure that your now perfectly caramelized apples are not stuck to the sides of the pan.