Thursday, October 9, 2008
Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze
Lots of baking over the past few days, but very little blogging. That's what four 12-hour shifts in a row will do to ya. Well, at least to me.
Not getting home until 5:30 or 6:00 and being ready for bed by 8:00 leaves a very small window for baking. Most people would probably just say forget it, but by the time I get home I am tired of sitting still and want to do something active. Plus, Chris is usually in the kitchen working on dinner when I get home so it's a perfect opportunity for us to catch up after a long day and we can normally work in the kitchen together without getting in each others way too much.
The time constraints do make it a little more challenging, but that's why I focus on quick recipes for those days. This apple cake was a bit more time consuming than bar cookies (like the Hello Dolly bars I made one day but didn't take pictures of -- I mostly used the Smitten recipe, but I put mine in a 9x13 pan and used a full cup of sweetened condensed milk), but I really wanted to use more of the apples that we got at the u-pick farm and it was still early in the week so I had a little more energy than I had by the last shift.
Once I had the apples peeled and chopped the cake came together in a flash and since it is a sheet cake baked in a 9x13 pan it was done 45 minutes. The glaze took a while to make as well, but I made that while the cake was baking, and since you pour the glaze on the cake while both are still hot it worked out fine.
I pulled the recipe from my Southern Cakes book and in general I liked it quite a bit. I was a bit concerned though because the recipe didn't have any spices in it, and an apple cake without cinnamon in it seemed a wrong to me, so I added a teaspoon. The batter still tasted a bit bland, but it all came together quite nicely the next day after everything had cooled and set up, so if I make it again I will add cinnamon, but probably not more than a teaspoon.
The cake was moist, appley, cinnamony and covered with a sweet, caramel, crunchy glaze icing -- what's not to love?
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 tsps vanilla extract
3 cups finely chopped apples
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
Brown Sugar Glaze
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp evaporated milk, half and half, or cream
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 inch pan, or two 8 or 9 inch round pans. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and slat, and stir with a fork to mix everything well.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a wooden spoon or a mixer at low speed until pale yellow and frothy. Add the oil and vanilla and beat well. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon and continue stirring the batter until it disappears. Add the apples and nuts and stir to mix them into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown.
To make the glaze combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring often until the mixture comes to a gentle boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
Spoon the hot glaze over the hot cake and let it cool completely.