You’d think I’d be tired of posting recipes after last week, but nope. They give me an easy out I love recipes.
Beloved is not all that crazy about pies, and even less enthusiastic about fruit pies. He likes cake. However, apples are dirt cheap this time of year and if you’re not putting them in a pie, well – you put them in cake (besides, we’ll be eating apple pie when Jolly comes to visit next week since it’s her all-time favorite dessert). If you put them in THIS cake, you will spend lots of time cursing me for ruining your diet again saying “yum, yum.”
BECAUSE YUM, YUM.
And also because, well, the strudel recipe I was considering was a wee bit intimidating. Which doesn’t mean I won’t make it, it just means I’ll have to hyperventilate into a paper bag beforehand and I didn’t have one handy when I originally read the recipe.
This is a very sweet and tender butter cake, so use firm, tart cooking apples (Granny Smith, Newton Pippin, etc.) for the topping. Refrigerate leftovers, but bring the cake to room temperature for 15 – to 30 minutes before eating; butter cakes are difficult to slice and have a dense texture when refrigerated.
Note: a “scant” measurement is just a little less; fill the measuring cup or spoon just a tad bit less than completely full.
Apple Upside Down Cake
serves 8 to 10
3 1/4 cups tart cooking apples; peeled, cored and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 2 large apples)
scant 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups bleached, all-purpose flour, sifted into the cup and leveled off
scant 1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Grease a 9″ round cake pan; line the bottom with parchment paper and grease that as well.
In a medium bowl, toss the apples, cinnamon and brown sugar together; allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 1 1/2 hours. Drain the apples, reserving the liquid, and arrange or spread them in the bottom of the cake pan.
In a small, heavy saucepan, heat the reserved liquid from the apples over medium-high heat, bringing it to a boil. Swirl the mixture, but do not stir, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture reduces by about half, thickens and is a nice amber color. Swirl the 4 tablespoons of butter in until melted, then pour evenly over the apples in the cake pan. Set aside.
Place a rack in the lower third, then preheat the oven to 350° F.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if using a hand mixer), cream the softened (9 tablespoons) butter with the sugar at medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color. Beat the egg yolks in, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
On low speed (or by hand, if not using a stand mixer), stir in the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, until just incorporated. There should be no lumps, but do not overmix. Resist the temptation to eat the batter straight from the bowl (yeah, it’s THAT good) and spread it over the apples in the cake pan.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and a wire tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire cake rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin, flexible metal spatula between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen it, and carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate; leave the pan in place for 1 or 2 minutes before lifting it off. If the parchment still covers the apples, carefully peel it off. If any of the apple slices have stuck to the pan, use the spatula to place them back on the cake.
Serve warm or at room temperature; sprinkle with toasted walnuts, if desired.