Monday, November 12, 2007

Anyday Recipe - get it while it's hot!

I pick up free recipe cards ALL OVER THE PLACE. If I'm standing in line at Starbucks (or Whole Foods or any store/restaurant that has decided to taunt me with free information) and they have a pastry con coffee recipe card (which they're doing more often, now), I grab it and shove it into my back pocket. If the recipe survives the washing machine, or avoids it all together, I've decided it is worth trying!

Sunday I had a DC Craft Mafia meeting and decided to bake a cake. The recipe I used was from a freebie card I picked up at Whole Foods, wherein they described the wonder and joy of cooking with apples. I love apples. I love cake. I even love Whole Foods. So this plan was fool-proof.

The cake was AM-AZ-ING...almost like an apple upside down cake! The apples were cooked before baking, which helped squeeze out the excess steam/water, so the cake didn't turn all mushy after baking. It also gives the caramelization a head-start, rendering an ooey-gooey delightful top to the sour cream cake base (which is moist and delectable!). The recipe suggested a 9-inch cake pan (which I'm assuming means you could bake it in a 9" Pyrex or something) but I decided to use one of those big tart pans/dishes. I made sure to line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch the syrupy drips.

Here's the recipe! Go forth and enjoy (with a warm cup of Irish Breakfast tea, if you're accepting suggestions)!

Blue Ribbon Apple Cake (Whole Foods/Cook’s Country apple guide)

4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing cake pan
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½ inch slices (about 5 cups)

½ cup sour cream
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature

Heat oven to 350°.

For the apples: Place butter in large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter has stopped foaming, add sugar and stir to combine. Continue to cook until sugar turns dark brown (it should look like dark brown sugar), about 2 minutes, swirling pan occasionally. Add salt and apples and fold with spatula to combine. Cook, stirring often, until apples have softened slightly and juices are thickened and syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and spoon apples into prepared cake pan.

For the cake: In small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup sour cream, egg, yokk and vanilla until well combined.

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Use electric mixer on low speed for 15 seconds to blen. Add butter and remaining ¼ cup sour cream and mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. Add sour cream/egg mixture and beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl, until batter is homogenous and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Spoon batter over apples and gently spread out to thin layer that covers apples. Bake until cake is dark golden brown, feels set, and cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center, 35-40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Place serving plate over top of pan and invert. Let cake sit inverted for about a minute without tapping or shaking pan. Cake will slowly detach itself. Once cake is on platter, gently remove pan. Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature.

Next on the list: The Starbucks Cocoa Cinnamon Cake (and this time I'll remember pictures!)

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