Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Just in time for Fall...Browned Butter Apple Cider Cake

It's time, I am ready to embrace fall.  Give me all of the apples and pumpkin spice.  Bring on the flannel, vests and boots.  It's time for college football Saturdays with cider and bourbon or beer.  As a child and even until recent years I thought summer was my favorite season, but I truly have a growing love for fall.  I love that the days roll from warm into chilly nights, and they leave you wishing for a bonfire and s'mores.  

There is also just something about the changing of the seasons, which makes me feel like you can start fresh again.  That you can try to once again start paying attention to the little things in life that often times mean the most.  Fall to me is a time to settle down a bit, to dig back into work and refocus on how I want to finish out the year.  It has left me revisiting my goals for the year, and left me wanting to hangout with my family and friends, which is exactly what fall lends itself so well to.   So this past weekend, not only was there football, but there were friends and family to tailgate and spend the day with...which is pretty much the perfect fall day.

Football season = Go PIRATES!

This need to embrace fall is one of the reasons I had the urge to make this cake.  When the recipe popped up in my inbox from Food and Wine, I knew I would make it soon.  The only thing I wanted to modify was using browned butter instead of plain unsalted butter in the cake.  The cake came out a little dense, but has a nice crumb at the same time.  It is nice and not overly sweet with yummy chunks of apple throughout.  The only thing I might change for next time is adding some toasted and chopped pecans.  If you like coffee cake and apple cider, I would definitely recommend giving this cake a try.  Enjoy!

Peel, cut, cook...

then fold in the apples and pour the batter into the prepared pan this cake goes in the oven.

Look at that side profile.

Browned Butter Apple Cider Cake: (modified from Food & Wine)
1 cup apple cider
2 sticks unsalted butter, browned and brought back to room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium Granny Smith apples, pealed cored and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 cups all purpose floor
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Cider Syrup
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment.

2.  In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.

3.  In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the apples, the granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the apples cool slightly.

4.  In a medium bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour with the whole-wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt.

5.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the remaining 2 sticks of butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. (The batter will look broken.) Beat in the cooled reduced apple cider and vanilla until just combined. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cooked apples.

6.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and using a spatula, smooth the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and let cool slightly, about 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto a large plate and remove the parchment paper. Invert the cake back onto the wire cooling rack and let cool completely.

While the cake is baking, make the syrup.

7.  In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until reduced to ¼ cup, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until it melts. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and salt until smooth. Let cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Pour the syrup over the cake and serve.

Note: This cake does great if you heat it up for about 15-20 second in the microwave.  I served it at the office and let people put the syrup on as they served themselves cake.

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