Monday 20 September 2010

The Cake Slice September 2010: Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

This cake was particularly special this month as not only did it feature apples – one of my all time favourite foods, but it is also the last cake that The Cake Slice group is baking from our currant cake book - Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. We have been baking from this book for the past year which means next month we will start baking from an exciting new cake book!! As a result we are now accepting new members, so if you are interested in joining The Cake Slice and baking with us then please see the end of this post for details.

Anyway, back to this month’s apple cake. This cake turned out to be the best cake we have made all year – it was divine, the perfect cake to end with on a high note. It consists of a thick glossy batter that it liberally studded with chunks of fresh apple and walnuts which add a wonderful moistness and texture. A brown sugar fudge-like glaze is then poured over the still hot cake and left to absorb and set into a delicate toffee flavoured sugary crust. The cake is then served in generous squares straight from the pan – delicious!

I was tempted to add some cinnamon to the mix as I always feel this should be the natural accompaniment to anything containing apples, but I managed to restrain myself and I’m glad I did. Although the ingredients look fairly simple, this allowed the nuts and apples to really shine through and be the star flavours. I used fresh apples, picked from a friends garden. They were quite sharp and tangy when raw but mellow and softened beautifully in this cake and were the perfect contrast to the sweet sugary topping. I was also surprised at how much flavour the walnuts contributed and it was wonderful to suddenly bite down on a little nugget of one, hidden amongst the light cake and squishy apple pieces.

The batter looks a little strange in its raw state, it was a little gloopy and sticky and reminded me of a choux pastry batter. I was a little dubious it would work but it baked into a lovely textured moist cake. Some of the other bakers had said it was a little oily so I replaced some of the oil stated below with water and this worked well and I didn’t find the cake greasy at all. I also reduced the sugar quite considerably as I didn’t want it too sweet, especially as it had the sweet sugar glaze on top. Even then I still found the cake sweet but the sharp apples balanced it out nicely.

I can’t recommend this cake enough, everyone who tasted it loved it and if you’re an apple fan then I’m sure you’d love it too. Click to see our blogroll for everyone else’s apple cakes.

Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
Fresh Apple Cake
360g plain flour
450g caster sugar (I used 300g)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
330ml vegetable oil (I used 250ml oil & 80ml water)
2 tsp vanilla extract
450g finely chopped, peeled & cored apples (5-6 apples)
115g coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Brown Sugar Glaze
225g light brown sugar
75g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp evaporated or regular milk

Method – Fresh Apple Cake
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan or two 8-9 inch cake pans. (I used a 13x7 inch pan and got a deeper cake.)
In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Stir with a fork to mix everything together well.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer at low speed until pale yellow and foamy. Add the oil and vanilla and beat well. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon and continue stirring the batter just until the flour disappears. Add the apples and nuts, stir to mix them into the batter until fairly uniform. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is golden brown, springs back when touched lightly near the centre and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Place the cake (still in the pans) on a wire rack and spoon over the glaze while still hot.

Method - Brown Sugar Glaze
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Then cook for 3-5 minutes.

To Finish
Spoon the hot glaze all over the hot-from-the-oven cake. Let the glazed cake cool completely before serving straight from the pan.
Makes one 13x9inch sheet cake or two 8-9inch round cakes

New Cake Slice Members: Now onto the exciting bit! If you are interested in joining The Cake Slice group and baking delicious cakes with us for the next year than please email me your name, blog name and blog URL to ‘appleandspice[AT]’ with ‘Cake Slice Member’ as the subject and I will contact you with the details of how to join us! You have until October 20th to sign up.


OvenDelights said...

Your glaze looks so yummy! I'm glad I'm back to baking with this group, really missed everyone!

The Caked Crusader said...

That looks a stunner - I share your love for anything with apples!

Maria♥ said...

I've made something similar and the brown sugar is so lush. This cake looks so delish.


Rachel said...

The glaze looks awesome. I loved the cake too.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

yes, this was a great recipe to close out this book!

Caroline said...

That looks really delicious Katie, and thanks for sharing your amended version too. I love the idea of the brown sugar glaze. I wonder what I could sub instead of walnuts, the crunchy texture seems to have been part of the joy!

I look forward to hearing which book you'll be baking from next so we can continue to enjoy your gorgeous cakes!

naomi said...

This sounds and looks so fall and so good!!! I love the brown sugar glaze on it.

Allison said...

I also thought about adding some cinnamon but ended up omitting it. I think I'll add it next time though to give this cake a little more depth. I have to admit at first I wasn't a huge fan of this cake, but I had a piece the day after I made it and it was much better the second day.

Monica H said...

It doens't get any fresher than freshly picked apples. Your cake looks delicious Katie.

Unknown said...

This cake sure sounds good. Great way to end the year, excited about the new book :)

Helen said...

That cake sounds amazing - perfect for this time of year.

Jodie said...

Yours looks great! That glaze was so yummy!

Petit Filoux said...

Hello! I've just found your blog through the Goddess' Kitchen and I love it!! I've booked marked a few reciped already, can't wait to try them out!!

Future Grown-Up said...

I agree...this was the perfect cake to end with for Nancy's book. Your cake looks scrumptious!

Sam said...

Apple cake could well be my favourite of all cakes, I've never seen one quite like this with the brown sugar glaze, it looks wonderful.

Anita said...

Look at that glaze! yum! That sounds like a great group to join... although I still have trouble finding time for the daring bakers sometimes... maybe one day I'll have enough time to join a few more :)

Chele said...

You have my mouth watering right now - wow! What a great cake. I adore apple cakes but with all those other little added touches .... just popping to the shops to get some apples!

Jan said...

Yum! That looks good...

Elle said...

This is one yummy looking cake and perfect for apples season...which is now where I live. I like that you decreased the oil a bit and the sugar. With that gorgeous topping the sweetness level is probably plenty high! Wonderful that you are starting a new book and accepting new members for Cake Slice, too.

Brownieville Girl said...

Looks wonderful, I love the way you have reduced the fat and sugar content.

Your latest follower :-}

scarlett said...

wow-I'm definitely going to give this on a try!


beauty be told said...

amazing, this is my next apple cake to make!