Tuesday, August 14
Is it too early to talk apples?
I'm still basking in sultry summer afternoons and tiptoeing barefoot through the evening grass, hoping to catch a few Perseid meteors streaking across the sky.
I love this time of year. I live for it. I want to bottle up these balmy days in huge mason jars, and come January, February, and March, I'd revel in the scent of fresh-cut grass, the sound of water lapping at a wooden deck, and the sweet warm taste of hand-plucked berries. Love!
Alas, my camera is still not fixed, so for the time being, I'm going to share recipes and photos that have been waiting patiently in an old SD card...some are a bit off-season. Apologies.
Now, lets discuss the cake, shall we?!
I made this recipe a long time ago, but trust me, I have an excellent memory when it comes to food (and for what songs were playing during seemingly random life moments). It's a simple cake, yes. And maybe it's even a bit homely. But it's filled with throat-warming spice, sweet apples, and assertive walnuts. If you've never had penuche frosting before, it's basically a sweet, butterscotch-like fudge. As soon as it cools off, it hardens, softy, into something crackly and wonderful. It's the perfect companion to apples, and cinnamon, and all things autumn. Summer won't mind if you have apples in August, she's not as damaged as winter when it comes heeding time constraints and overstayed welcomes.
Last but not least, you may notice that une Gamine has a brand new look! (Again.) :) This simple, beautiful design is by Ana, of Blog Milk. Thank you, Ana! XO
for the cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 room temperature eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or, 1 teaspoon of vanilla)
1 1/2 cups chopped apples (I used Pink Ladies)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
for the penuche
1/2 cup packed, brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I like salty butterscotch and caramel...if you prefer, you can reduce the amount or not use any salt at all.)
3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon heavy cream (half & half is okay too)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with foil or parchment paper. [Note: If you're using foil, apply a light coating of butter.]
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or any large mixing bowl if you're using a hand held), beat the eggs on medium speed until light and foamy. Add the oil and almond extract, and beat on medium speed until well combined. (About 3-5 minutes.)
Add the flour mixture. Use a large wooden spoon, or rubber spatula to fold/stir in the dry ingredients until all the streaks of flour have disappeared. Fold in the chopped apples and nuts.
Scrape the chunky batter into the pan, evening out the surface as much as possible.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. As the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze.
Glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, salt, butter, vanilla, and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it reaches a gentle boil. Continue cooking at the gentle boiling point for about 3-5 minutes. (It will thicken up beautifully.)
Spoon the hot glaze over the still-warm cake. The glaze sets very fast, so spread it around immediately, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Allow the cake and glaze to cool completely before serving.
Source: Lick The Bowl Good