Monday, October 13, 2014

Apple Cake with Butter Cream Icing & Toasted Pecans

Fresh apples are baked into this moist and delicious spiced cake, then draped with a butter cream icing and topped with warm toasted pecans, for a simply sensational dessert that celebrates autumn's seasonal abundance of apples. Inspired by a delicious Apple Cake that my friend Mary Ellen prepared for a recent book club evening, she kindly sent me the recipe having received rave reviews from the entire group that night. Rich, moist and densely textured, this apple studded cake is excellent on it's own, but the sweet silky smooth butter cream frosting and warm toasted sugared pecans takes this dessert to the ultimate level of divine decadence — Autumn never tasted so good!

Flour, sugars, baking soda, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are mixed together in a large bowl 

In another bowl 2 large eggs are whisked until light and frothy

1/2 cup of canola oil is added to the eggs...

...and the mixture is whisked again until combined

Royal Gala apples are used in this apple cake recipe

The apples are peeled, seeded and chopped into a 1/2-inch dice

The wet and dry ingredients are mixed together, and then the chopped apples are folded into the batter

The batter is pressed into a greased cake pan and then baked at 350°F for 35-40 minutes

The apple cake is placed on a cooling rack once it's removed from the oven

The cake is loosened from the pan and turned onto a decorative plate, ready to be iced and garnished

Half a cup of butter is melted until lightly golden

Icing sugar, vanilla and whipping cream are added to the butter to make the frosting

A cup of pecans are sautéed in a teaspoon of oil with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt

Apple Cake with Butter Cream Icing & Toasted Pecans

Serves 6-8

Apple cake:
1 1/2 cups flour, white or whole wheat 
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2 royal gala apples, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

Pecan topping:
3/4 cup pecan halves
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour one round or square 8-inch pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a separate bowl, whisk two eggs until light yellow and foamy, then whisk in the oil until it’s completely combined.

Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture, then fold in the chopped apple. The cake batter will be very thick, almost the consistency of cookie dough. Stir until there is no dry flour left and then press the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. When the cake is done, set it aside in its pan on a cooling rack.

While the cake is baking, prepare the pecan topping by warming 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pecans to the frying pan and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Stir the pecans until the sugar has dissolved and the pecans are toasted, then remove from heat and set aside.

To prepare the icing, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Swirl in the the butter until it begins to turn a light golden brown and smells slightly toasted. Remove the pan from heat and immediately stir in the icing sugar. Then add the whipping cream and vanilla and whisk until smooth. If the icing is not the right consistency to pour, whisk in a little more whipping cream, one teaspoon at a time.

The icing can be poured over the cake while still in the pan, or with the cake on a serving platter. Before adding the icing, use a toothpick to poke holes over the surface of the cake, then pour the warm icing over the warm cake. Allow the icing to set before topping with toasted pecan mixture.

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