Friday, October 8, 2010
Apple Cake with Lemon Sauce
First up, is another recipe card from Great-Grammie's recipe box. After a few hitches earlier this week with her fig square recipe, I thought I would go with an easy one. (I'm coming back to those fig squares, even if I have to make several batches to get it right!) The original apple cake recipe was a little fuzzy on the details, listing "apple slices" and "lemon sauce" but not including the number of apples or how to make the lemon sauce. (I think the lemon sauce recipe may be lost to the annals of cookery). Honestly, as Great-Grammie's recipes go, a few missing instructions are usually the least of my worries.
I was surprised how great this cake came out. While I was mixing the batter, it seemed a little plain; I was worried it wouldn't have enough flavor. I couldn't have been more wrong. The cake itself was light and bouncy, so much so, it was tricky to get out of the pan, squishing down under the pressure of my spatula and popping right back up when I took the spatula away. The apples were also a surprise. I thought they would be dried out, which they were a little, but they were still crisp and juicy when I bit into them. The cinnamon and lemon sauce gave everything a little depth and moisture, which made me want to lick my fingertips and dab up any stray, sticky crumbs. Now I understand what Mom meant when she said, "This cake never got cold in our house."
(Adapted from Great-Grammie's recipe)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, well beaten
7/8 cup milk (2% or whole)
2 small apples, cored and sliced (I used Jonagold)*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1998)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 or 2 lemons)
2 or 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1/2 cup sugar. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Mix eggs, milk and dry ingredients with creamed butter and sugar alternatively. Pour batter into greased baking pan. Press apple slices into batter in concentric circles, starting at the outside then moving into the middle. Mix together 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over cake. Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with lemon sauce.
*To keep your apple slices from turning brown while they wait to be added to your cake, put them in a bowl of water with a couple of splashes of lemon juice. I cut up my apples last, but, of course, forgot to preheat the oven, so they had to wait a bit before being added to the cake.
In a small saucepan, mix together sugar and cornstarch; add water and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes until the mixture gets thick. Add lemon juice and grated peel. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Spoon over pieces of cake.
Makes about 9 servings.