Sunday, September 27, 2009

Martha's Apple Spice Cake

In the words of my husband, here are his choice words concerning this little Autumnal indulgence:

"Don't give away to friends, leave on the counter and enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack the an entire week."

This was an interesting method, this recipe of Martha Stewart's was- all the apple spice cakes I've ever made in the past required simply some shredded apple, cut up apple, etc... ...I suppose those of you who are true homemaking goddess's already whip up your own mayo, your own yogurt, but for Pete's sake, your own applesauce? Heaven knows I don't do any of those things, but I'm converted now. It's easier than boiling up pasta!

Homemade applesauce, if you're wondering, is on the same level as homemade chicken noodle soup, i.e. it's that ___ good.

And it really wasn't labor intensive. In this recipe, as you are making the applesauce, try to keep the applesauce as "chunky" as possible; I think that provides a more moist texture to the cake, as opposed to pureeing the applesauce. Just my two cents. Okay, enough talking, Miller. Here are the instructions to extra calories.

Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

1 3/4 cups sugar + 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 lbs McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup butter, room temperature (unsalted)
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey
4 large eggs

In a medium saucepan spread 1/3 cup sugar in an even layer. Cook over medium high heat, without stirring, until sugar begins to turn golden and melt around the edges. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir until melted and mixture is translucent golden amber. Add apple chunks and lemon juice, and stir to coat the apple pieces with caramel. Cover and cook over low heat until apples fall apart (I had to add more sugar to my pan at this point because some of it had hardened). Continue stirring often, until the apples fall apart and become an "applesauce" texture. Remove from heat and let cool completely (you should have 1 1/2 cups of applesauce).

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter 2 9" inch round cake pans (or, I tried to make these into cupcakes, so I did half the batter in cupcake molds, half in a cake pan). Grease each pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, the remaining 1 3/4 cups sugar, and honey on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Scrap down the sides of bowl, mix again. Add eggs, one at a time.

With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined, being extremely cautious not to over mix the blessed batter. Add the cooled applesauce and fold in. Divide the batter among pans. Bake until the center is just down (do the toothpick test)- about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in pans for about 20 minutes, and then invert cakes and let cool completely on wire racks.

Frost with a cream cheese or mascaporne cheese frosting.

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