Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake…

There’s a lot going on in my life right now so over the next few months I may not be able to meet my weekly goal of publishing a new recipe. I will try to publish as often as I can but rest assured I will get back to my weekly postings asap. I do have some time to post today and so I chose a recipe that my husband went bonkers over. When your husband turns to you and says, “Hon, this cake is really, REALLY good” you know you hit the jackpot!

I never tried making a coffee cake before so I was a little leery. But judging by the results I will certainly be making one again soon. There were a few tricks in getting this right and I’ll share them in my lessons learned. So let’s talk apple cinnamon coffee cake…

Lesson Learned 1 – The hardest part of the recipe is spreading the batter in the pan: The first layer of batter you spread over the bottom of a springform pan lined with parchment paper. It was an interesting trick trying to keep the parchment paper in place while spreading the batter. What I wound up doing was dolloping the batter in various spots over the parchment paper and spreading it with my right hand while holding the parchment paper down near one of the edges of the pan with my left index finger. After a while I got the hang of it but just be warned it may be an interesting journey starting out.

Then the next hardest part is spreading the second layer of batter over the apples and crumble. My advice is to make sure you dollop batter all around the pan versus putting all the batter in the center and then trying to spread it out. Remember on the second layer you will get part of the crumble mixed in with the batter. Don’t worry about that. You can’t avoid it.

Lesson Learned 2 – A little bit of batter goes a long way: This recipe does not have a lot of batter. When you spread the batter on the bottom it creates a very thin layer. But the combination of the batter, apples and crumble creates a substantive cake. Just be forewarned that the layer of batter on the bottom will be thin so don’t worry about that.

Slice the apples in small chunksLesson Learned 2 – Cut your apples into small pieces: You want to make sure that the apples cook and so you need to slice them in small pieces. I normally do this part of the recipe first. Then in order to prevent the apples from oxidizing while I get everything else ready, I squeeze just a little bit of fresh lemon juice over them and make sure all the apples are lightly coated with the juice. By doing this the apples will retain their color until you are ready to add them into the cake.

Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paperLesson Learned 4: Make sure you prepare the pan so the cake can be easily removed once it has cooled: You need to do a couple of things to prepare the springform pan. First you need to grease the sides and the bottom. Second you need to cover the bottom with parchment paper. I start out by opening the latch on the pan and removing the bottom. I normally take a piece of parchment paper, put it over the bottom part and trace the outline of it onto the paper. Then I just cut out the what I outlined. I do that first before greasing the pan. Then I reassemble the pan, grease the bottom and sides and then put the parchment paper in place to cover the bottom.

Lesson Learned 5 – The layering of the cake is a process: Let me show you that process in the pictures below…

The first layer with the batter and diced apples

The first layer with the batter and diced apples

The first layer completed with batter, apples and crumble

The first layer completed with batter, apples and crumble

The second layer of batter on top of the crumble

The second layer of batter on top of the crumble

Ready to go into the oven

Ready to go into the oven

The finished coffee cake

The finished coffee cake

Assembling this may be a little tricky but I guarantee you the end result is worth it. Try it and tell me what you think…

APPLE CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: Medium
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INGREDIENTS

Crumble:

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 small granny smith apples, peeled and diced small

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sliced almonds for the very top (not added to the crumble mixture)

The Batter:

4 Tbs. unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 extra large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

The Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1-2 Tbs. heavy cream (use the smaller amount for a thicker glaze)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and set aside. Peel and dice the apples. Pour the lemon juice over the diced apples and stir until all the pieces of apple are coated. Set aside.

For the crumble, whisk together all of the dry ingredients except the sliced almonds. Add the melted butter and vanilla and stir until combined. Set aside.

For the batter, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat the mixture until well combined. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.

Dollop half the batter around the bottom of the springform pan and spread to evenly distribute. Distribute the apple chunks evenly over the batter and sprinkle about 1 cup of the crumble on top of the apples. Spread the remaining half of the batter over the top of the crumble (it will be easier if you dollop the batter around the pan before spreading). Spread the remaining crumble over the batter. Distribute the sliced almonds evenly over the crumble.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake before unlocking the springform pan.

Let the cake cool completely before adding the glaze. To make the glaze combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze all over the cake. Slice and enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Apple Walnut Cake…

Well, apple season is just about over for me. By that I mean I am no longer getting bags and bags of apples from my neighbor. All in all it’s been a great season. During it I finally made a decent apple pie, ventured into making my first batch of homemade applesauce, and had fun experimenting with some different apple desserts.

My final apple recipe for the season is an apple walnut cake. I found a basic recipe that I edited for my tastes and wound up with a delightful loaf cake.

The batter...

The batter…

Recipe rating: A- This is a very flavorful cake. I gave it a minus because I had to adjust the baking time to two times longer than what was called for in the original recipe. I read some of the reviews of the original recipe online and decided, as one person mentioned, to bake this in an 8×4 versus a 9×5 pan. There was no mention that doing this significantly changed the baking time. The person writing the review said she wanted a more compact loaf that would give taller slices. That’s what I wanted as well. The only other adjustments I made was adding some additional cinnamon and some walnuts. I was really surprised that it took so long to bake (an hour). Just keep that in mind if you decide to make this. Is it worth the baking time? Definitely, yes!

Lesson Learned 1- Cut the apples into small chunks: This recipe calls for only one apple so make sure you either get a decent sized one or you can use two small apples. I used a medium/large granny smith apple when making this recipe and I had more than enough. You want to cut the apple into small chunks so they will cook completely. I drizzled a little bit of lemon juice over my apple chunks to keep them from turning brown before I could add them to the cake batter.

IMG_1204Lesson Learned 2 – Get down and dirty when you swirl the batter: The process for making this recipe is similar to any boxed sweet bread you buy, that being you add half the mixture to the bottom of the pan, add the apples and brown sugar mixture, add the rest of the batter and put the remaining apple and brown sugar mixture on top. Then you’re supposed to either swirl the batter with a knife or your finger. Forget the knife – it will not do the trick. Stick your finger (clean of course) down deep into the batter and really swirl it around. The apples require a little elbow grease to move them. I have struggled with this swirling technique with many cakes and finally using my finger, going deep into the batter and using a little bit of strength I finally got the results I wanted. Don’t waste your time with a knife. Use your finger and don’t be afraid to really get down into the batter and swirl it.

Lesson Learned 3 – Don’t be afraid to adjust the amount of cinnamon: I really like the flavor of apples and cinnamon and I really like the cinnamon flavor to be pronounced. The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I used two and it tasted divine. You wind up swirling the cinnamon and brown sugar through the cake at the end. I just don’t think 1 teaspoon is enough to get a nice blend of cinnamon throughout the entire cake.

This is another great Fall apple recipe. It is very easy to mix – just be aware that it may take longer to bake then anticipated. As with any other cake, it is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy this one!

Apple Walnut Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2 extra large room temperature eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 large apple peeled and chopped

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour an 8 x 4 loaf pan. (If using a professional grade non-stick pan like I do there is no need to do this). Mix brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Peel and core the apple. Chop into small pieces. Drizzle pieces with a small amount of lemon juice and stir to make sure all pieces are coated. Set aside.

Beat sugar and butter together until creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla extract.

Sift together flour and baking powder. Stir into butter mixture. Add the milk and mix until the batter is smooth. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Put half of the apple pieces on top and pat them into the batter. Sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Pour in the remaining batter and top with the rest of the apples and brown sugar mixture. Using your finger, swirl the apples and brown sugar mixture throughout the batter making sure to go deep into the pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

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acake

Apple Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

The other day I opened my front door and lo and behold a bag of apples magically appeared on my porch. My neighbor across the street has apple trees in his backyard and was nice enough to share a bag of them with us. I had no idea what type of apples they were but when I tasted one I knew it would lend itself to baking. But what to make – applesauce, apple crisps, apple streusel – the possibilities were endless.

IMG_0273I decided to make an apple cake that is really a combination of two recipes that I found on Pinterest. One intrigued me because of the spices and the other because it included pecans. So why not just take the best out of both recipes and make a new one, right? Well, surprisingly it worked out even better than I thought it would.

RECIPE RATING: A+ The cake came out great. The apples were moist but not mushy and the spices complimented the apples perfectly. The next time I make this I may add a little more cinnamon but as written it is still a fabulous cake. I took most of it to work and it was gone in less than an hour. The cream cheese frosting was a great compliment to the cake.

It’s Fall, there are plenty of apples out there – so don’t wait – you’ve just got to try this one!

LESSON LEARNED 1- Don’t be afraid to experiment: I say this with a caveat. Remember that baking is not like cooking. The amounts need to be relatively exact for the end result to be good. Eyeballing it is simply not recommended for baking. You must measure your ingredients. Experiment wisely.

That being said, when I was searching for recipes I found two apple cake recipes that basically had the same proportions for the main ingredients (flour, sugar, oil) but had different spices. I decided to used the main ingredients from one (it used two eggs instead of three) and I also added the spices from the other (cinnamon and allspice). One of the recipes only had vanilla as a spice and I just could not imagine baking apples without cinnamon and allspice. So I borrowed the spices from one recipe and incorporated it into the other while eliminating the vanilla (although I imagine you could put that in as well). It worked like a charm.

IMG_0277LESSON LEARNED 2 – Cut the apples into small pieces: I learned this lesson the hard way a few years ago. If you cut the pieces too big they won’t cook and the cake won’t taste as good. Cut them into nice small pieces and they will cook beautifully, moist but not mushy, within the allotted time. Also, make sure you peel the apples. Tough apple peels in a cake just don’t cut it in my estimation.

LESSON LEARNED 3: Use lemon juice to keep your apples from turning brown: This recipe calls for three cups of diced apples which takes a little time to prepare. During that time if you don’t sprinkle them with some lemon juice they will begin to turn brown. In order to avoid that take either some fresh or bottled lemon juice and sprinkle it sparingly on top of the apples. Stir the apples so that the lemon juice is incorporated thoroughly. You may have to do this process a couple of times because of the amount of apples but you need just a little lemon juice to keep the apples from browning.

LESSON LEARNED 4: Keep your nuts fresh by putting them in the freezer: Let’s face it nuts are expensive. Rarely do I finish a package of nuts in a recipe. I used to keep the leftover package in my pantry until the next time I needed them and then wondered why they tasted funky when I went to use them. I found out along the way that nuts have oil in them and if you don’t freeze them they will become rancid. Freezing leftover nuts makes them last much longer. And because they are frozen you don’t have to be dust them with flour in order to incorporate them throughout the batter.

IMG_0291LESSON LEARNED 5 – The batter will be thick:  I was actually surprised to see the thickness of this batter. You will need to spread it to fill a 9×13 pan. Make sure you spread it evenly and get it into all the corners.

This is a perfect Fall recipe. The cake is moist and flavorful and the cream cheese frosting is to die for. One of my co-workers said that he could just eat the frosting it was that good. If you try this one I’m sure it will become a Fall staple in your home.

A friend of mine also gave me a recipe for apple chips. I think I may try that as well. What is your favorite apple recipe?

 

[recipe: title=”Apple Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting” servings=”16-20″ time=”75 Minutes Including Prep” difficulty=”Easy”]

CAKE INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

3 cups chopped apples

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

lemon juice to coat the diced apples

FROSTING:

1 package cream cheese

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp. vanilla

dash of heavy cream (you can substitute with milk)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan (you can also use cooking spray). Peel and dice apples. Put a dash of lemon juice on them to prevent browning. Combine oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Add vanilla if desired. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Add dry ingredients incrementally into wet ingredients until combined.

Fold in pecans and apples. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before adding frosting. (about 2 hours).

For the frosting: Sift powdered sugar. Beat sugar and cream cheese until combined. Add dashes of heavy cream until you get your desired consistency. (I prefer heavy cream to milk and I feel it gives a thicker, more lush frosting). Spread on top of cake. Enjoy!

[/recipe]

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Baking on Facebook (Apple Cinnamon Loaf) …

If you are in forced recuperation like I am (not sure why I’m making it sound like a death sentence) you are constantly looking for things to occupy and enrich your mind while your body heals. And if you’re outside adventures, such a trips to the grocery store, are also limited until you get clearance from the doctor, you need to rely on what you already have at home. And although I love my computer, one can only surf so much before you seek stimulation elsewhere.

Apple Cinnamon Loaf Ingredients

Apple Cinnamon Loaf Ingredients

I found an outlet on, of all places, Facebook. Scrolling through the news feed the other day I came across a recipe for an apple cinnamon loaf. Now I’ve looked at dozens of recipes that people post and generally gloss over most of them but this one intrigued me because not only did is sound very “Fall-ish” and wonderful but also because I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry. So today, instead of being the self-proclaimed Pinterest recipe critic, I am switching my critique to what I found on Facebook.

In a previous blog when I reviewed a Pinterest recipe for Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf, I talked about the technique of mixing fruit with flour so that it disburses throughout the loaf and doesn’t all sink to the bottom. Unfortunately that technique did not work for me when I made it (I attribute it to the use of frozen instead of fresh blueberries). Upon seeing the loaf my husband dubbed it my “sunken berry” cake and although delicious not as pleasing to the eye as I would have wanted. This time I wanted to avoid the dreaded sunken berry (almost sounds like a breakfast cereal, doesn’t it?).

This particular loaf uses a different technique, one that is used frequently in boxed loaf mixes, that of putting half the batter in the pan, adding the spices or fruit and topping and then adding the remaining batter with another layer of topping. This recipe calls for adding a layer of spices and fruit onto half the batter, patting it down, repeating the process and then finally before putting it into the oven using your finger or a spoon and swirling the mixture all around. That sounded interesting. And what technique do you think I used?  Of course, nix the spoon, the finger is so much more fun! Nothing like getting your hands dirty while in the kitchen I always say.

Needless to say, a very simple and full proof recipe. My Rating: A-. What I like about this recipe is that it’s very easy to make and uses staples most of us have in the pantry. Believe it or not I did not have enough vanilla extract for the recipe (who ever runs out of vanilla extract, I mean really?) so I substituted the cinnamon extract I had on hand and it seemed to work fine. And, as always when I make something, there are some lessons learned.

Lesson Learned 1.) I think the recipe needs a couple of boosts to get rid of the minus on the rating.  First, I would specify using a green apple (which I did in the directions below). I had a gala apple on hand and although it worked well I think green apples are your best bet when a recipe calls for using apples.

Lesson Learned 2.) The next time I make this I will try coating the apple chunks with some nutmeg and cinnamon sugar and letting them absorb them before I layer them on the batter. I think that will enhance the flavor of the apple.

Lesson Learned 3.) The recipe calls for 1/3 cup brown sugar not packed. I would recommend packing the brown sugar as I think the cake needed a little more of that sweetness. You may need to add a little more cinnamon to the brown sugar but that is no big deal.

Lesson Learned 4.) The recipe called for the loaf to bake for 30-40 minutes. It took my loaf 45 minutes to render a clean toothpick when inserted in the center.

Lesson Learned 5.) As mentioned in previous critiques, as soon as I am able I am getting a new loaf pan. Hopefully that will help to get a loaf that is evenly baked and not crunchy on the ends.

All in all I was very pleased with the outcome, especially when it turns out well the very first time you make it. This is an easy recipe, one I would recommend to keep in your recipe box.

APPLE CINNAMON LOAF

inside

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup brown sugar packed

1-1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 softened butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup milk

2 apples peeled and chopped, honey crisp or granny smith

Cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg to coat the chopped apple (mixture to taste)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan (or use baking spray).

2. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Chop the apple and lightly coat with a mixture of cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg and set aside.

3. Beat sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Make a well in the center and stir in butter mixture. Once combined, stir in milk until batter is smooth.

5. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan. Top with half the chopped apples. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture on top. Pat apples and brown sugar into the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the apple layer, top with remaining apples and brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat. Swirl batter with your finger or your spoon.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

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