Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Apple Cake with Maple Frosting

Apple Cake with Maple Frosting - made February 1, 2010 from Chocolatier Magazine, October 2006 issue

This is the 3rd apple cake recipe I've tried in a little over a week. What can I say, I can get a little obsessive when I'm trying out different recipes. The advantage of making the same type of thing in a short timeframe is you can really compare the different recipes and see what you like and what suits you. Although I have to admit, I took some liberties with this one since I don't believe in adding all those spices to the same cake. So I left out the cloves (and the walnuts) in the cake and omitted the maple flavoring, ginger and nutmeg from the frosting. Just went with good ol' cinnamon for the cream cheese frosting.

I liked this cake - the flavor was good although it had a softer texture than the other two cakes and was more fragile (i.e. not a good care package cake to send through the mail). I baked it for about 30 minutes but it could probably have been baked a little longer. At 30 minutes in my oven, the edges were done but the middle was still a bit soft. Once the cake was cool, the edges were fine but the middle was a little mushy. Because the cake texture was so soft, the apples were more of a contrast, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I always use Granny Smith apples for baking since they're more firm and don't turn into mush when being baked. I'm glad I didn't overspice it as I thought the cake tasted just fine with my modifications. For the frosting, make sure your cream cheese and butter are well blended before adding the powdered sugar. This is one time where you should try to have your ingredients at room temperature. Otherwise, your frosting will be more prone to lumps if you just beat them cold and don't mix them well enough. I also added about 1/2 cup more powdered sugar than the recipe called for because with only 1 cup, the frosting still seemed a bit too soft and runny.

Apple Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups peeled and chopped (1/3" pieces) Granny Smith apples (about 2 apples)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Maple Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon maple flavoring
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1. Make cake: Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 9" square baking pan. Dust pan with flour.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. In bowl of electric mixer, using paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions and mixing just until blended. Remove bowl from mixer stand and stir in chopped apples and walnuts.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake cake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
5. Make frosting: In bowl of electric mixer, using paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth. Add vanilla extract, maple flavoring, spices and salt. Reduce speed to low, add confectioners' sugar and beat until well blended. Raise speed to high and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
6. Assemble cake: Frost top of cooled cake with frosting. Cut into squares and serve directly from pan.

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