Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Apple Cake

This weekend, to celebrate our beautiful New England autumn, I went apple-picking! I have friends in New Hampshire, so I went north and picked up some Gala, Cortland, Honeycrisp, and McIntosh apples at Alyson’s Apple Orchard in Walpole, NH. Now I have bags of apples sitting in my suite, ready for eating, cooking, and baking.

I didn't want to make apple pie, apple crumble, or apple sauce- been there, done that. I ended up with a hybridization of an apple coffe cake that called for cake mix (the original recipe is here) and an actual cake recipe. The pre-packaged yellow cake mix saves on time a little, but you may or may not know (or want to know) what goes into it. This time I chose to make the yellow cake mixture from scratch: Both versions are shown below. The cake-mix version results in a slightly more coffee cake-like texture, while the scratch version produces a softer consistency.

Apple Cake


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk


1 package (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix

4 large eggs
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
6 apples - peeled, cored and sliced thin (in the direction of your choice)
cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, additional sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

If you ARE NOT using the cake mix:

1. In a large mixing bowl combine the softened butter and 1 cup of sugar; blend together until smooth and fully mixed.
2. Add vanilla, ½ cup milk, eggs, and sour cream; blend well until smooth. Add flour, pudding mix, and baking powder; again, mix until smooth. Continue to step 3.

If you ARE using the cake mix:

3. Combine cake mix and pudding powder in mixing bowl.

4. Add eggs, butter, sour cream; mix until smooth.

5. If the batter is too thick (thicker than a thin pudding), add milk in very small amounts until the proper consistency is achieved. Do not add too much, or else it won’t cook properly.

6. Pour half of cake mix into a bundt pan or a baking pan/dish at LEAST 125 cubic inches- I used a too-small 9" cake pan out of desperation, and I didn't use all the batter. I went out the next day and bought a bigger glass baking dish- I'll make this again soon and update with any comments on that.

7. Sprinkle sugar and spices lightly over the batter in the pan; layer half or more of the apples on top of the spices, and sprinkle those with more sugar and spice.

8. Pour the other half of the batter on top of the apple layer. Layer remaining apples with sugar and spices on top of cake batter.

9. Bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for at least an hour- mine took about an hour and a half.

Due to the pudding mix, the texture comes out half-way between a cake and pudding, at least in the full version. My suite-mates liked it a lot, and it gets even better after it sits for a day or so at room temperature. Also, the cake may sink a little after being removed from the oven, so if you really hate that and plan on making this repeatedly, consider reducing the baking powder to 1 tsp.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Brownie Blues

I can cook nearly anything I have so far set my mind to. I've made up recipes.






These are dry and thin and not good enough.

Maybe it's because I use raw sugar?

I just don't know...