I am not a cake person. I would trade a red velvet cheesecake for a cookie anytime. I somehow dislike the light airy sponginess. So, when it comes to the cakes that I would eat are those that are dense, fudgy or custardy. More like a brownie or a parisian flan consistency. For this Thanksgiving special, I decided to make a simple French apple cake.
Call me weird, but I am that type of person who adore very simple cakes without all the fancy frosting or decorations. Don't get me wrong tho. I do admire cakes with excellent frosting art. I love how this cake draws natural flavors from the apples. It is custardy, not too overly sweet and the apples add a nice crunch.
I am using a mixture of apples; gala and granny smith. Granny smith tends to be on the tart side and while this cake depends entirely on the apples for flavors, I would highly recommend use a sweeter red apple in the mix. Gala is a great choice. I decided not to peel the Gala apples cos I like the contrast between peeled and unpeeled. I am also using a mixture of sugar. Again, contrast between granulated and dark muscovado sugar. I decided to serve my apple cake with apricot compote, vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of beurre noisette. Beurre noisette is actually browned butter. I think we should get started with the recipe instead of me talking too much.
(Make one 8 inch cake)
Unsalted Butter, 115g + More For Greasing
Bleached All Purpose Flour, 110g
Baking Powder, 1 TSP
Sea Salt, Pinch
Eggs Room Temperature, 2
Granulated Sugar, 60g
Dark Muscovado Sugar, 60g
Brandy, 3 TBSP
Pure Vanilla Paste, 1 TSP
Granny Smith Apples Peeled Cored Diced, 2
Red Gala Apples Cored Diced, 3
8" Spring Cake Pan
Cast Iron Skillet / Pan
Hand / Stand Mixer
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius or 350 fahrenheit.
Grease the cake pan generously with butter and set aside.
In a skillet over medium low heat, add butter.
Swirl to melt the butter gently.
Once melted, continue cooking until butter start to brown.
*You can actually see that the milk starts to separated and the milk solids start to caramelize.*
Remove from heat.
Pour into a bowl thru' a coffee filter over a fine strainer.
Discard any residue.
Reserve a few TBSP for serving (optional).
Measure the melted butter again.
Add water if necessary to retain the weight as 115g.
Set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder and salt.
Mix to combine well.
In another large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, whisk eggs until foamy.
Add in sugar and continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
Add in brandy and vanilla paste.
Give it a final whisk.
Add in half of the flour mixture and half of the melted butter.
Using a spatula, fold to combine well making sure no large lumps.
Add in the remaining half of the flour mixture and melted butter.
Fold to combine well.
Make sure no large lumps.
*You can pass the batter thru a fine strainer just to make sure.*
Add in the apples.
Mix to coat the apples well with the batter.
Transfer into the cake pan.
Wack into the oven and bake for about 50 mins to an hr.
Or until the cake is browned and if you insert a skewer into the cake, it comes out clean.
*Keep an eye on the cake, as different ovens may varies and the cake can turn from being browned to burnt very fast.*
Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
Slice and serve with apricot compote, vanilla bean ice cream and beurre noisette (browned butter).
To make the apricot compote, place 500g of apricots (fresh, washed, halved and pitted) in a medium sauce pot. Add 1/4 cup of water and about 1/4 cup of granulated sugar (adjust to preference). Add in a stick of cinnamon and 3 cloves. Stir to combine well and until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a slow simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 mins.