Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Holy spice cake, Batman!

We had our first frost this morning!  The hubby and I decided to sleep with the heat on last night since it was going to dip down into the 30s.  It was nice to wake up all warm and toasty, but hard to get going with morning duties.  Thank goodness I don't have that many things to do.   

In other news, I think I'm going to have to get the dog a sweater. She keeps curling up in a ball and kind of shivers. 

It has been said that a photo is worth a thousand words.  I think that this one may stop your tongue in its tracks and render you speechless.  I'm no food photographer, but this cake just looks amazing, if I may be so bold.  Yes, I'm taking a couple minutes off from my usual lack of self-confidence and overall hypercriticism of everything I bake.  Please don't ruin it. 

This cake is my interpretation of this cake from Joy the Baker.  The main difference is that she used pears when I used apples. 

Apple Spice Cake with Walnut Praline Topping

2 cups flour [1 cup AP and 1 cup White Whole Wheat]
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
3 apples, peeled and diced into about 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray, butter, spray again, and flour bundt pan.  If you have the kind of relationship with your bundt pan that I have with mine, you understand what I mean. 

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.  Beat the butter, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in your mixing bowl on medium high until fluffy, about 3 minutes with your stand mixer.  Add the egg yolks one at a time until well incorporated, then add in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer to low, and then add the flour and buttermilk in alternating fashion.  Be sure this is mixed thoroughly, scraping down the sides if needed.
Fold in the apples and walnuts.

Beat the eggwhites in a separate bowl just until they hold stiff peaks.  Then gently fold them into the cake batter.  Spoon the batter into the bundt pan, smoothing the top, and bake until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.  This will take about 40-50 minutes.

Cool in cake pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Walnut Praline Topping
3/4 cup [packed] golden brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Stir together the sugar, cream, and butter in a small saucepan until it all melts together.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring often.  DO NOT WALK AWAY!  Stir in the walnut pieces and spoon over the cake. 

The cake is best served warm or at room temperature.  I would eat some for breakfast if I had some right now.  It has fruit, nuts, and whole wheat so...that's breakfast in my book.

Here's another look.

I know you are super impressed by my mad photography skills.  I can tell.  Someday I'll upgrade from my point-and-shoot to something legit, but making cakes and sandwiches for people at random intervals in life doesn't exactly expand my bank account. 

In the meantime, make this cake. I'm begging you.  It's so light and moist and mmm....it just tastes like fall.  You don't have to use a bundt cake pan.  In fact, you'll save yourself some grief if you never own one.  I can't tell you how many times I've had a cake get stuck in mine.  And every time it happens I swear I'm never making a bundt cake again. 

But I just can't help myself.  The fancy shape is so homey and old-fashioned.  It makes it taste better, somehow.  You should totally make this cake today.  If you don't have apples, use pears, or maybe even apricots. 

Happy baking, my friend.

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