Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Project: Experimental Apple Cake

And what a project it was! I had it in my head that I wanted to make apple cake, who knows why, so my mom sent me my great grandmom's recipe that I ate a lot of as a kid. I remember it fondly, but when I looked at the recipe, I was a little put off my the amount of oil since I really wanted to be able to eat this cake for breakfast. So I decided to change things up a bit (albeit with limited recipe developing skills), subbing in some yogurt for half of the oil, switching to whole wheat pastry flour and reducing the sugar drastically. Oh! And I added a topping, cause you know, it sounded like a good idea. Here's the original recipe in case you would like to make it. It's delicious.

Preheat oven 375)
Spray a tube pan (or 2 loaf pans)
5-6 large apples (granny smith) peel and slice thinly
Mix apples in cinnamon and sugar
Mix together 3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup Orange juice
3 tspns. Baking powder
2 1/2 tspns. Vanilla
Pinch of salt

Alternate batter,apples,batter,apples in pan.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until cake tester comes out clean- may take longer-you do want it nice and brown- just keep an eye on it! ENJOY!

And here's what I did:

Preheat oven 375
5-6 large apples (granny smith and honeycrisp) sliced thinly (I left the peel on)
1tsp cinnamon
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 spoonfuls sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tsps baking powder
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour

1. Lightly oil a deep baking sheet (it was the only pan I have that would hold the amount of batter- traditionally, as my mom said, this is done in a tube pan, like what you'd use for Angel Food cake).
2. Mix the apples with the cinnamon and 3 spoonfuls of sugar. Set aside.
3. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet being careful not to over mix.
4. Alternate batter,apples,batter in pan. Mix topping together and spread and press lightly into the batter.
5. Bake for 45-50 min** or until cake tester comes out clean- may take
longer-you do want it nice and brown- just keep an eye on it!

**I baked mine, again in a somewhat shallow pan, for an hour and it was about 10 minutes too long. The bottom is a tad darker than it should be (though it's actually not as dark as it is in the picture), so if I make this again, which I imagine I will, I will aim for closer to 45 or 50.

I realize that baking is a science, and changing recipes can easily result in disaster, but I've decided that it's sometimes okay to take some liberties with recipes. In this case, I tried to keep the ratio of wet to dry the same, I knew I'd be okay with any texture differences caused by using whole wheat flour, and I tasted the apples and decided that they didn't need two cups of sugar—they were plenty sweet. Apart from the fact that I baked it a bit too long, it's really delicious and I ate it for both breakfast and lunch yesterday. I love the crunch of the topping and the fact that while it's definitely different, the flavor memory of the cake I ate as a child is still there. I'm sure I'll make the original someday too, but this was a really fun experiment.

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