Friday, 5 January 2018

Apple Praline Cake

Can you face a cake so soon after Christmas? This is one I have been fiddling around with off and on all fall. I first made it about 20 years ago and thought it was the best apple cake I  had ever had. When I tried it again, I had a lot of trouble with it. No matter how long I baked it, it came out soggy and "under done" in the middle, even when I baked it until the edges were positively dry. As I've posted this recipe, it calls for a lot longer baking time than the original but hopefully not long enough to over-do the edges.

The other thing I did this time was stop trying to use Cortland apples. Every attempt with Cortland apples failed  (which is really too bad because we bought a bushel of them). I'm pretty sure the apples I used that first time were Mutzu, but I have not seen them around lately and Mum suggested I try Royal Gala. I hated to buy more apples when I still have a vegetable drawer full of them, but I did it. This final cake has the Royal Gala apples in it, and I'm happy to report that although the middle had a faint hint of dampness, it was by no means soggy and I'm going to call this a win. However if anyone tries this with Mutzu or other apples I would really like to hear how they work out as this is plainly a recipe where the apples matter. I can say I would not use Macintosh, as they are well known for turning to complete mush when baked. Northern Spy is another one I would be willing to try, or maybe Empire.

8 to 12 servings
2 hours - 30 minutes prep time

Apple Praline Cake

Make the Cake:
1 3/4 cups soft unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup Sucanat or dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 to 6 medium apples, see notes above

Measure the flour and mix in the baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter and beat in the Sucanat. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract. It will look rather curdled. That's okay.

Line the bottom of an 8" springform pan with parchment paper, and butter the bottom and sides. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl big enough to hold the apples. Peel, core, and slice the apples and toss them with the cinnamon sugar.

Mix the flour into the butter and eggs. It will form a fairly stiff dough, and pull away from the sides of the bowl into a ball. Scrape it all out into the prepared pan. Wet your hand in cold water and pat it out evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Stick the apple slices into the cake, standing upright. Start around the outer edge and work your way into the middle. It's probably best to leave a little spot in the middle that is apple-free, but in general the apple pieces can be pretty tightly packed. Press them down slightly to be an even height, but about 2/3 of apple will still be above the level of the cake. This too is okay.

Bake the cake for 1 hour. Check that it looks well set in the middle before proceeding; if necessary give it up to 10 minutes more baking.

Make the Praline Topping: 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg

About 15 minutes before the cake has baked for 1 hour, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg.

When the cake is baked as described above, take it out of the oven but do not turn the oven off. Drizzle the topping all over the top of the cake. It will want to be in big glops, but even this is okay - it will spread and settle in the heat of the oven. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes,  until the topping is lightly browned all over.

Let the cake cool on a rack before attempting to remove it from the pan.


Anonymous said...

I really love, love your blog & unique recipes! I have been following you & making your versatile lovely recipes for a few years now & this one looks amazing! MMMM!

Anonymous said...

I recently tried this cake, using boskoop apples. It's really delicious! It turned out quite well, with no excess moisture, but there were a few caveats which I noted in my post:

Sophie said...

I made it a few days ago & my husband & mom dad & >i all loved it so much! Very wonderful! x

Ferdzy said...

Glad to hear it worked out well for you, Adavara and Sophie.