Friday, September 19, 2008

Honey Whole Wheat Spiced Apple Cake

I'm on snack duty for my kid's classroom this week and decided on the spur of the moment this morning to whip up a tasty treat using our CSA apples. Could I just use the muffin mix in the freezer? Nooooooo. I had to get all complicated and try a new recipe, one which I would modify on the fly. Luckily, it all worked out fine and it's actually quite delicious. I'm just sayin', if you only get up at 6:30am and the cakes need to bake for 60-70 minutes? Well, you'd better start peeling the apples. Oh, and TGIF!

This cake is very moist and dense. You can definitely tell it's got cream cheese in it. And it's not too sweet, which is a plus for moi, but if you want a little extra treat, you might want to whip up the Vanilla Glaze that I skipped (recipe at the end). I was shooting for something along the lines of a whole wheat apple bread that I could pass off as a cake for the five year old crowd. Not to get all Jessica Seinfeld on you. I'm not hiding anything besides whole wheat pastry flour in there. Although dramatically altered, this recipe is based on the Spiced Apple Coffee Cake recipe in the Williams-Sonoma Muffins book that my darling SIL gave me some years back.

Honey Whole Wheat Spiced Apple Cake

(recipe adapted to make enough to serve a full kindergarten class, with enough for 2 teachers and the principal, plus a tiny cake pan to reserve for younger sibling)

5 1/4 Cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
9 tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith or Braeburn, 3 lbs. (I used 3 1/4 lbs., to be precise) total weight before peeling, coring, and coarsely chopping said apples
6 TBSP strained fresh orange, lemon, or apple juice (or, in my case, the remnants of a tube of frozen OJ I have had in the freezer for approximately 7 months)
1 Cup honey
2 tsp nutmeg
4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temp
16 oz cream cheese at room temp
8 oz plain yogurt (notice that I ran out of cream cheese but if I had enough I would probably just use 24 oz cream cheese and omit this yogurt)
Another 1 cup honey
4 tsp vanilla extract
6 large eggs (I used a dozen of the Polyface medium eggs but they are really small)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans. I used the kind with the little scraper built in that you can run around the bottom to get the pans out but I didn't really need that feature, as it turns out. Original recipe says you can use square baking pans or dishes. You kind of have to keep an eye on the cake to make sure it doesn't burn/the inside is done anyways, so use what you've got.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, toss the apples with the juice. Add 1 cup honey, the nutmeg, and the cinnamon.

In another bowl (a big one), using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, cream cheese, yogurt if you're using it, other 1 cup honey, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 increments and beat well until smooth. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the apples gently until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and spread evenly.

Bake until the top is golden brown, 60-70 minutes. I used a convection oven and it was ready in less than an hour. I was a little worried the edges would burn and I was horribly late for drop-off, dogwalk, and work, so I yanked those puppies out of there at about 52 minutes if my memory serves me correctly. General common sense like a toothpick coming out clean if you insert it into the center of the cake applies. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Like I said, I was worried about my edges, so I actually flipped the cakes out of their pans and cooled them upside down on the racks, giving them a fairly interesting latticework on the top. I'm not sure I'd recommend that strategy. Regardless, I'd get the cakes out after 5 minutes cause like I said, it's a dense little snack.

Vanilla Glaze, as promised, for those of you who'd like to add the refined sugar right on back into the recipe I diligently made all honey and whole wheat-y:

In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted; 2 TBSP condensed skim milk, warmed; and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth and pourable. Drizzle over your still-warm cake.

Still good later in the day for an after-school snack!

5 comments:

Mrs. G. said...

Mmmmmmm....

meagan said...

Apple cake is traditionally served at Rosh Hashanah. What a timely, yummy recipe! We're going to go apple picking before the holiday and then I think we'll give it a try. Thanks for posting it.

Tech Savvy Mama said...

We went apple picking yesterday and while I just made an apple cake, your recipe sounds divine! I'm definitely going to use my leftover Staymans in your recipe. Thanks! :)

Nora Bee said...

I was just looking for a quick spice cake recipe for this morning, too. I'm a little too late! (ended up with banana cupcakes b/c of the long cooking time with regular cake).

Mindful Momma said...

Sounds fabulous! I'm always on the lookout for yummy, healthy cakes! I whipped up a cake the other day out of day-old fruit salad - you know when things start to get a little mushy, especially the bananas. It turned out great!