Heirloom Apple Cake – Exclusive Full Circle Recipe
If you’re bringing dessert or hosting a fall brunch and looking for an alternative to the usual pumpkin (anything), try this wonderful, fall cake that will satisfy the whole crowd. The lush flavor and pretty presentation will seem like you slaved for hours, but this is a no fuss recipe—basically slice, mix, pour and bake. A perfect starter recipe for the beginning baker – but more than delicious for the culinary connoisseur.
Have a few different apples on hand? Perfect! A mix of crisp, sweet and tart varieties makes this recipe even simpler to pull together. Now, walk in with this warm apple cake and some freshly whipped cream and be ready for accolades a’plenty.
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (from 4-5 seed pods)
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, browned and cooled* see note in post
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, spices and salt together in small bowl.
- Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s even-ish.
- Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Carefully run a knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature.
- The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or ice cream. I made some cinnamon ice cream to go with this the first time and it was pretty heavenly.
No apples but plenty of pears? Go ahead and substitute crisp, sliced pears. Mix the varieties if you like. This batter and the browned butter marry perfectly with apples or pears.
*Note: Browning butter is essentially caramelizing the milk solids. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, then cook over low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until butter has a nutty aroma and the milk solids have turned to a light, caramel color.