December 3, 2013

Apple Spice Cake

The chilly months of fall are definitely my favorite time of the year for baking!  The comforting scent of cinnamon and nutmeg, the warmth from the oven-the kitchen is always the best place to be!  I always love baking with apples.  The Northern Spies are not only my number one pie apple, but they work great for any baked good-nicely tart and really hold their shape well.  This is a recipe I adapted from King Arthur Flour.  I knew it would be a winner as I've never tried anything from King Arthur that didn't turn out great.  It has an incredibly soft texture and is soooo yummy!  The original recipe calls for a glaze, but I thought it would be good on its own, with a dusting of powdered sugar.  Even better, how about a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Edy's Slow Churned Vanilla Bean is awesome!) and a drizzle of caramel to top it off.  By the way, the picture of the apples are not Spies-they're not the prettiest apple to photograph, and I wanted to get a nice picture for my daughter to sketch.  These apples are Cameos, a modern sweet apple that was only recently discovered in the state of Washington.  They're now one of my favorite eating apples.  They taste a lot like Honey Crisp only they're much less expensive.  

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
1/2 cup canola oil
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 cups (about 2 large) peeled and cored tart apples,
cut into 1/2" chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 10", 10 to 15-cup capacity tube pan with cooking spray.  This would be like an angel food pan.  Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together the butter, oil, sugar, spices, salt, and baking powder until light and fluffy.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  The batter should look nice and fluffy.  Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl, then beat in half the flour.  Add half of the applesauce, scrape down the bowl, then add remaining flour and applesauce.  Fold in the chopped apples.  Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes.  A cake tester inserted in center should come out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

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