Posts Tagged ‘Baking First: Peeling apples’

Oh golly, it’s my first actual baking post! I bet you were starting to think there wouldn’t be any actual baking, but here’s me proving you wrong!

So let’s get this baking blog started off with a fruity bang as I bring to you Autumn’s Best Apple Cake!

This is an old family recipe that belongs to my boyfriend’s maternal family. They lived out in New England (you know, where they have seasons and fruit grows on trees and things like that), so after the year’s first apple pickin’, they would make this incredibly easy and incredibly tasty cake! And make it again and again and again, all autumn long.


The first thing you’ll want to do is gather up your ingredients! Wonder Baker Tip: It’s always a good idea to stay organized when you’re baking, so if you have everything out in the beginning, you can separate the things you’ve already used from what you haven’t! (I know that there are goldfish in this picture, but those aren’t part of the recipe. Sorry if that disappoints you).

Next, preheat that oven right up to a toasty 325F

The most important part of this recipe is of course, the apples! Granny Smith apples are your go-to apples for baking, as they are the most crisp and their flavor stays sweet when cooked down, so don’t worry about any surprise sourness. Now, the recipe calls for three large apples, but if you’re a big apple lover, I recommend using four. Not only will that give it a super appley punch, it also leaves you with enough to top off your cake, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

You’re going to need to peel the apples, of course (though personally I love apple peels and ate them all after the peeling was complete), trying hard not to take too much of the flesh. You can use a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, whatever is better for you. I like the paring knife better, but as this was my first time peeling an apple, my boyfriend’s mother took the knife away from me in fear of losing fingers. I took it back though and here I am today, ten fingers all intact. Peeling can be a little nerve-wracking, but take it slow and you’ll get the hang of it.

After you core the apples (which you can do just by taking four large chunks off from around the core), you’re going to dice them up into nice chunks. Start by slicing them up (fancy cooking term: julienning)…

(Watch those fingers!)

…and then turning your slices around and slicing the other way (fancy cooking term: Brunoise). Technically, these are bigger than your average chunks produced by a brunoise, hence dicing!

It’s going to be really hard to not just want to shove your face right in there, but please try to resist, for the cake’s sake.

Now it’s time to start working on the batter!

3 eggs

1 and 1/4 cups of vegetable oil

and a sweet two whole cups of sugar! Don’t worry about any chunks like that, it’ll all get blended up.

Take note that this part of the batter is very strange. It’s a big thick gloop that’s tough to mix, especially if you’re doing it by hand. But don’t worry, it’s supposed to be like that!

Once you have a nice blend, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and then let your mixer (or your arms) whirl until you have a uniform, very thick mixture.

It’ll look something like this.

Note: I made this cake twice, the first time with my manly arms and the second time with this handy dandy kitchen aid. I found that the kitchen aid whipped much more air into the mixture than I did and it actually did affect the outcome of the cake. They were both delicious, but the cake that was mixed by hand was a little bit denser and the batter was a darker color at the end. It’s completely to your preference and means which way you prepare the batter, though my boyfriend said he preferred the one mixed by hand (but only by a little bit!).

Onto the dry ingredients! This part tends to get really messy 🙂

In a different large bowl, combine:

3 cups of All-Purpose Flour. I have a small bag of flour that is nigh on impossible to get a whole cup into, so I used this nifty little scoop! You can use a half cup or a big soup spoon if you like, or you can plunge right in. A lot little flour on the counter is nothing to be worried about.

1 teaspoon of baking soda. Another difficult extraction. I could probably make my life easier if I just opened the top of the box, but I like to just hover over the sink and hope that most of the powder falls into the spoon.

1 teaspoon of salt

and just shy of a teaspoon of cinnamon. Or a whole teaspoon, whatever your tastes are.

Give your dry ingredients a gentle whisk, just to blend it up, and then you can start adding to your wet bowl

I like to add the dry stuff in thirds, just to keep from getting flour all over myself as the mixer gets going.

After you’ve blended up your batter, it’s time to grease and flour your pan! This was another one of my baking firsts, so I had Nick’s mom show me how the pros do it.

Greasing first. For best results, you’ll want to use butter. And I mean real, made from real cream from a real cow, salted and full of delciousness butter. This will give the edges of your cake a real creamy buttery taste, and who doesnt want that?

Just rub the butter all over your pan (the recipe calls for a bundt pan, but I don’t see any reason why you couldnt make this in any cake pan you wanted. Bundt cake is just a more fun thing to say, don’t you think?), paying special care to get it in the grooves and curves. That’s where your cake is likely to stick, so grease it up good.

Next is flouring. You could use your All-Purpose Flour, but we had this nifty shaker stuff specifically for flouring baking pans and the like. Just shake it in and, working over the sink, turn and tap your pan until you have a thin even coating. You’ll be able to see the spots you missed with the butter, but a few missed spots shouldn’t be a problem.

Voila, your pan is ready to receive the batter bounty! Let’s finish it up with the good stuff.

Go ahead and toss in all your apple chunks and fold them into the batter, leaving out a decent handful to adorn the top of your cake before it bakes. To fold, just use a spatula to move the batter from the bottom of the bowl up to the top! You’re not stirring, you’re just making sure the fruit chunks get well immersed in your batter.

Then add a cupful of chopped pecans and fold those nubbins in! Ah, apples and nuts and cake, such a divine combination.

When your batter is smothering all the add ins, it’s time for the pan. Your batter is just a tad too thick to pour, so try and do a nice even scooping from the bowl to the pan. Wonder Baker Tip: If you have too much on one side, take the pan and gently spin it on the counter, if you’re confident, or the floor. The centrifugal motion should even out the batter in the pan.

The time has come for those extra apples to do their thing! Just sprinkle your remaining apple chunks over the top. Now, you may be thinking “But isn’t that the bottom of the bundt cake?”. Why yes, yes it is. But we wonder bakers don’t adhere to the strict rules of cake presentation and if we want this to be the top of our cake, it shall be!

Fruity perfection!

Pop that bad boy into your preheated oven for a whole hour and twenty minutes. Now, depending on your oven, you might want to check on it about five minutes prior, but I found that both times I baked the cake, the full 80 minutes was necessary. This is not a cake you want to undercook because it’s already pretty moist, so not cooking it fully could lead to slight sogginess (though to be honest, it would still taste amazing, so don’t beat yourself up over it). You can do the old “toothpick into the cake, see if it comes out clean” routine, a tried and true test of baking, or keep an eye out for the crispy golden brown edges of your cake signaling it’s finished.

When it’s time to take it out, first admire how beautiful it is!

Ooo! Ahh! Amazing and fragrant and gorgeous cakey greatness!

Then let it cool all the way because, as you astutely noted, you’re going to have to flip it over once you take it out of the pan. Luckily for you, your amazing greasing and flouring make it slip out with absolutely no effort at all. Just upend the pan onto a small, but sturdy, plate, then flip it again onto your serving plate or cake stand! It’s really easy, just don’t get too excited and drop the cake because I’m serious about it popping out easy.

And there you have it my friends, a beautiful and hearty apple cake that everyone will enjoy, unless they have a nut allergy. In that case, you can always forgo the nuts, but I think they add so much to the final product. This cake is really great for a snack and as a breakfast too (seriously, cake for breakfast). And it’s so easy to make, you could really whip it up any time you have apples around.

Oh it’s even prettier on the inside

Happy Eating!

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