Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Recipe: Apple-Brandy Cake

A traditional coffee cake with a twist! Soft, moist cake, tart apples, and sweet streusel topping combine for a delicious experience.


1-1/2 lbs. (.7 kg) tart baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced medium-thin
2 Tbsp. (28 g) butter
2 tsp. (4.7 g) cinnamon

1/2 cup (113.4 g) butter, softened 
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. (14 g) baking powder
1 tsp. (13 g) salt
1/2 cup (118 ml) brandy
1-1/4 cup (296 ml) milk

1 cup (90 g) rolled oats
1/2 cup (90 g) packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp. (57 g) butter, melted


Melt butter over medium heat in a covered skillet. Add apples and mix to coat. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until apples are beginning to soften. The time this takes will vary depending on the apples you have, so check them often and give them a stir. Cool the apple filling to room temperature before adding to the cake batter. If you want you can reserve the cooking liquid to use in the cake batter. Just substitute it for some of the milk. When apples are cool toss with the rest of the cinnamon.

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs. In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir together the brandy, milk, and any reserved apple liquid to make 1-3/4 cup (414 ml) liquid. Alternately add liquid and dry ingredients to the butter mixture, combining well after each addition.

Combine all three ingredients and mix well.

Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish. Pour half of the batter into the pan. It will seem like a thin layer, but it will rise quite a bit in baking. Layer the apples on top of the batter. Drop the remaining cake batter by spoonfuls on top of the apples. Sprinkle streusel evenly on top - the easiest way to do this is with your hands.

Bake in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 35-40 minutes. The toothpick and springback tests don't work for this cake, so cook until the top is golden brown and it looks done. When you smell it the second time it's almost done.

Notes and Substitutions

* You can use whatever apples you have on hand but you may want to reduce the sugar if you use a sweeter apple.

* If you hate peeling fruit you can skip that step, but the skins will make cutting the cake slightly challenging. Unless I'm baking for company I don't peel my apples.

* If you're really in a hurry you can use a can of apple pie filling. Toss it with the cinnamon as directed. No other recipe changes are necessary.

* If you're still in a hurry you can pour all the batter into the pan at once, put the apples on top, and the streusel on the apples. The cake might be just a touch dryer, but it'll still be tasty.

* If you don't want to use alcohol you can substitute soft cider or just use milk to make up the liquid.

* This recipe was developed using lactose-free low-fat milk and salted butter.