I never hesitate to lead with and further explain my ineptitude for the skills baking requires. The chemistry metaphor for baking is so perfect, that I’m only slightly embarrassed to tell you I almost failed chemistry in high school, shocker. Truth be told, my failures in both subjects are most often the result of impatience and casual lack of focus. So when I was handed the job of preparing the dessert for a recent get-together with friends, I decided to buckle-down and forget my previous failures. I was determined to make something not only edible, but downright delicious.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (Spring Hollow Farm)
- 1 1/2 unsweetened apple sauce (homemade, Bardenhagen Farms)
- 4 apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced (Bardenhagen Farms)
- 4-6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter
Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups heavy cream (Shetlers Dairy)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
1. Butter two 8″ round cake pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves
3. In another bowl, or mixer beat together butter and sugar, drop in your eggs one at a time and beat at a low speed until combined.
4. Add applesauce and continue to blend at a low speed.
5. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients until combined, then divide the batter evenly into the baking pans
6. Cook the cakes for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
7. Apple Filling: While the cakes are cooking place apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a saucepan on high heat. Stir and cover the pan for about 2 minutes.
8. Cook on high heat, while stirring consistently, until the juice from the apples has cooked down into a syrup, but be careful not to burn. Set the mixture aside to cool.
9. If the cakes are fully cooked, cool them in the pans for 15 minutes and then invert them onto a cooling rack until they’ve cooled completely.
10. Whipped Cream Frosting: In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract at a medium speed until smooth. Slowly add the cream and continue to beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.
To Assemble the Cake:
1. Trim the tops of the cakes to make them flat (if necessary)
2. Place one cake top side down on serving platter
3. Arrange the apple slices overlapping on top of the cake, starting from the inside and moving outwards. Place a quarter of the cream filling on top of the apples and spread evenly
4. Place the second cake top-side down and ice the cake using a spoon. Place the cake in the refrigerator to set the icing.
5. Then devour.
Needless to say, with a little more intention and focus the spiced apple cake turned out great. It had the right texture, the right sweetness, everything I was looking for. I guess its all about the lesson learned, and of course the cake, but the lesson too. A little focus and intention goes a long way. And to my high school chemistry teacher, whose face I distinctly remember and whose name I’ve since forgotten (go, figure..) thank you for the inspiration. I may not have retained the elements of the periodic table but I’ve since taken away a great lesson from your classroom and my kitchen.
A little intention, makes a world of difference.