Thursday, December 9, 2010

Italian Apple Cake

Anyone who has ever been to my house knows that more often then not an unknown or new face will pop up out of nowhere. It started six years ago and continues to this day, my home has become a bed and breakfast of sorts or the 'European Youth (not so youthful) Hostel' as my friends so eloquently refer to it. Some guests are here for just a few days, many return, others stay for months at a time and on the rare occasion, some are so deeply despised that just the utterance of their name can make me shudder. Regardless of the circumstance, it is fair to say that in my house you are more likely to find a face you don't recognize than one you do. This can be nice in moments of solitude, providing the unique comfort that only a conversation with a stranger can offer; a void filled, even if just for a moment. The guests can also be a cumbersome pain, like when they don't pick up on the fact that you may like to have coffee in quiet in the morning and no, you don't feel like talking. Disconcerting at times, the constant flow of strangers does create one unique opportunity, a reason to cook.
Dorie Greenspan Apple Cake
The other day, while working on a batch of granola for a few of my die-hard granola fans (yes, they exist and I love them), I discovered that an Italian guest would be arriving only a few days later. There are a lot of things I like about Italians, they tend to be good looking, they have lovely accents, and most importantly, they eat cake for breakfast. We also eat cake for breakfast, I suppose, but we like to name it something more 'acceptable' like muffin or loaf. Not my Italian brethren though. Nope, they take last night's dessert put it on the table in the morning and call that breakfast. Right on. Since my granola had already been allocated, I figured I had no choice but to make this guest a breakfast cake.
Dorie Greenspan Apple Cake
I have been wanting to make a cake like this one since I ate for breakfast when I was living in Italy. My favorite part? The very high fruit to batter ratio, the apples are the stars and the batter merely there to bind the thing together. It's lightly sweetened and delicate, verging almost more on a pudding than on a cake. It's everything I look for in a sweet, at any time of day. Lucky for me, in her new book Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan writes a recipe for a cake just like the one I was looking to make. She dubs it 'French Apple Cake,' which I took the liberty to change to Italian Apple Cake, the only thing to change in an otherwise flawless recipe. So try it and try having it for breakfast too. If anyone questions you, just tell them that's how the Italians do it, that'll show 'em.
Dorie Greenspan Apple Cake

Italian Apple Cake
yield 1, 8-inch cake

from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan, found on David Lebovitz

3/4 cup (110g) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples (a mix of varieties)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (115g) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven.
2. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1-inch pieces.
5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter
6. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
7. Fold in the apple cubes until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top a little with a spatula.
8. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.

Serving: Serve wedges of the cake just by itself, or with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Storage: The cake will keep for up to three days covered. Since the top is very moist, it’s best to store it under a cake dome or overturned bowl.


Anonymous said...

Finally, Frenchie, we missed you, the cake is delicious !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Semplicemente deliziosa!!!Grazie per avermela fatta trovare pronta per la colazione tutte le mattine!Irene