The mister returned home from his San Diego March Madness weekend (which lasted 5 days!) looking a little green under the gills...apparently there was a bit more madness that went on than he confessed to! He lugged his over-stuffed bag upstairs and proceeded to pull out a half dozen new T-shirts and ball caps for his favorite teams. His closet can now double as a Sports Authority! While the mister was away...drum roll...I cleaned the garage. (Obviously you can see there is something really wrong with our marriage...San Diego vs clean the garage!!!) I tossed everything that wasn't nailed down and took 4 loads of crappola to Good Will. Our garage is now a thing of beauty and I'm tempted to leave the garage doors up to show off my garage-scaping-skills! When I was all done, I made cake. Apple Pie Cake. It's pie and cake - the perfect marriage if there ever was one!
This recipe's original name is French Apple Cake but after tasting it, I had to change the name to reflect the taste...it really is apple pie in cake. If you like apple pie you'll love this! The apples are peeled, cored, nuked until soft, then they are left to cool and marinate in a bit of rum. If you don't want to use real rum you can use rum extract. My apples were mashed into 1/2-inch bits so when I bit into a piece of cake I got a nice piece or two of apple.
While the apples are being microwaved/cooled, which takes all of 10 minutes, the batter is made. Browned butter is the key to this batter - browned butter! OMG! It give this cake such an amazing flavor, I'm tempted to use browned butter in everything from now on!
When I made Italian Almond Cake a while back (which put me into a little cake baking mode) I baked it in my little cake pans and I liked it so much that way that I decided to bake the Apple Pie Cake the same way. You can also use a 9-inch cake pan and just make one large cake but I think you can see that having four little cakes is SO much better...that way you can eat an entire cake and not feel guilty! (I used two 6-inch and two 4-inch cake pans for my little cakes.)
This is a very easy cake to make - simple, almost rustic looking, but it tastes like it came from an exclusive French bakery! The next time you get a hankering for apple pie, make this cake instead, you'll thank me. Serve it with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream or serve it naked - this one is worthy of five dangs on the Ol' Meter my friends because it's dang, dang, dang, dang, dang good!
Apple Pie Cake - Adapted from Hungry Rabbit
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8 inch thick crosswise (Fuji and Honey Crisp work great, too)
4 tablespoons rum
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs, room temperature (did you know that if you put cold-from-the-fridge in a cup of hot water for 3 to 4 minutes the eggs will be room temp!?)
10 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pans, (either one 9-inch pan or four smaller pans, I used two 6-inch and two 4-inch) whichever size you are using, and line bottoms with parchment, then grease parchment. Place pans on rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes, being careful not to let it burn; remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Place prepared apples in a microwave-safe dish, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until apples are soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and drizzle 1 tablespoon of rum over apples, then sprinkle lemon juice over apples, toss to coat and allow to cool about 10 minutes.
While apples and butter are cooling, make the batter: In a small bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, browned butter, milk, remaining 3 tablespoons of rum and vanilla together until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Batter will be thin. Fold in cooled apples. Pour batter into pan(s) and sprinkle remaining tablespoon of sugar evenly over top(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake(s) comes out clean and top(s) is golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cook for 15 minutes in pans, then run a knife around the sides of pan and invert cake(s) onto wire rack to cool completely.