Saturday, 15 September 2012

Apple Cake

Happy Fall!! Well, it isn't technically the autumn yet, but it sure feels like it today in southern Ontario. The perfect day to go for a chilly morning walk all bundled up with a coffee, and then come home and make this cake.  This cake is literally chock a block full of apple-y goodness.  This is one of our beloved fall recipes....we talk about it the rest of the year, waiting for fall so we can make it again. My husband, who rarely bakes, used to make this for himself all the time when I was living in England one year. This cake is easy to make, but don't say I didn't warn you - it's addictive.

Apple Cake

2 eggs
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil (I use vegetable)
3 tbsp orange juice (optional)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
8 apples
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup icing sugar (for topping)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Beat eggs with granulated sugar and vanilla in a separate bowl.
Add the oil and orange juice to the egg mixture, mix well.

Peel and slice the apples into the baking dish - I use a deep oval casserole dish, but have also used a 9x13 glass dish. The recipe calls for 8 apples, I usually find 6 good sized apples to be enough, but the more the merrier!  I use Granny Smith apples, but a combination of grannies and another kind should work well, any kind you would normally use in pie will work just fine.

Once the apples are sliced and ready in the dish, combine the egg mixture with flour mixture.  It will be thick. Slowly pour the mixture over top the apples.  Make sure that the apples are mostly covered by the thick mixture, as best you can.  It will look like there couldn't possibly be enough cake batter - but it's going to be OK - the cake will bake up around the apples....mmmm.

Top the batter with a mixture of cinnamon and icing sugar, and bake in a 350F oven for approximately 60 minutes.  If your dish is shallow, check closer to 50 minutes.  Today, mine took 63 minutes until the cake tester came out clean.

Enjoy the apple baking season while it's here!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Banana Rum Cake with Browned Butter Icing

A deliciously moist banana cake with a hint of rum, with a rich browned butter rummy frosting.

Browned butter? You say what?! Please let me introduce will change your life, or at least your cake. It adds a nutty, almost caramel flavour.  The rum adds a pleasant kick.

Can you see the delicious brown butter flecks?!

My first or possibly second piece...
The original recipe is for a two layer round cake, but I opted for a single layer, iced only on the top, and it was plenty rich enough for the two of us!                              

I used 3 bananas, 2 eggs, and only 3/4 cup of brown sugar for the cake. The rest of the recipe I halved. The sugar in the icing more than makes up for using less sugar in the cake itself. I also used 5% cream in place of the heavy cream and only a splash or two to get the right consistency.

Here is the original recipe from Joy the Baker cookbook.  (I adore Joy, I have tried many of her recipes, and they never ever disappoint. You can buy her cookbook on amazon.)

Banana Rum Cake with Brown Butter Frosting         
Preheat the oven to 350 
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cup mashed bananas (about 4 medium)
3 Tbsp rum
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp buttermilk

For the Brown Butter Frosting:
3/4 cup salted butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp rum
1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add mashed bananas and rum and blend for another minute, until thoroughly combined.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Add the buttermilk and beat on low until the mixture just begins to come together.  Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until the mixture is almost entirely incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish blending the ingredients with a spatula.  Fold in the pecans.
  • Divide the batter between the cake pans.  Bake for 30 minutes on alternating racks, switching the cakes halfway through baking.  When a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven.  Let cakes rest in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the Brown Butter Frosting: in a medium saucepan over medium heat melt butter until browned in color and nutty in fragrance.  Pour browned butter into a small bowl to cool.  The browned bits will add color and character to the frosting.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add powdered sugar, turn mixer on low, and add brown butter in a stream.  Increase speed to medium and add vanilla and rum.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low, and slowly add cream.  Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy.  If the mixture is too thick, add a touch of cream.  If the mixture is too thin, add a touch more powdered sugar.  Spread between the layers and on top and sides of cake.