Sunday, November 3, 2013

Brandy Apple Cake

Like most bloggers, when the season changes, certain flavors and ingredients come to mind. A little cold snap has arrived and with that came the thought of apple brandy.

This particular recipe makes good use of that ingredient.  Even though the recipe calls for regular brandy, I feel that apple brandy is a better way to tie flavors together. The other complimentary and main ingredients that make up this cake are dried as well as fresh apples, toasted pecans and raisins.  I am not really a fan of raisins in baked goods, but I was more agreeable to them after I tasted the cake.

As you can see by the above picture, there is a more fruit to batter ratio than normal.  The batter is just enough to hold all the spices and bind everything together.  Perhaps this should have been referred to as a bar recipe since there is so little batter.  It is not your big fluffy cake, quite the opposite- a chewy cake. Also, even though once piece is quite tasty as is, the brown sugar brandy sauce is something you should not omit.

Brandy Apple Cake
adapted from In the Sweet Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients/ Cake
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 medium or 1 1/2 large tart cooking apples (Rome Beauty, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp)
1 cup dried apple slices or half rings
1 cup raisins
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup apple or regular brandy
2 large eggs
1 cup butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

Ingredients/Brown Sugar Brandy Sauce
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tbs brandy
1/3 cup cubed butter

Prepare a 9X13 inch pan by buttering the interior.  Line the bottom and long sides with parchment, leaving a 2 inch overhang. Butter the face up side of the paper as well.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Pour the brandy in a small bowl and stir in the raisins.  Let sit for 45 minutes then stir in the dried apple rings.  Do not drain and set aside.

In another bowl sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.  Set this bowl aside as well.

Whisk two eggs together in the bowl of a stand mixer.  In another bowl, blend together both sugars.  Stir the melted butter into the eggs. Add the 2 types of sugars and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Batter should be thick and pale when done.

Toast the pecans in the oven until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Then core each apple.  Peel one and leave the other one ( or 1/2 one if using large apples) unpeeled.  Chop apples into 1/2 inch pieces. 

Reserve out 3 tbs of the sifted ingredients.  Add 1/2 of the remaining sifted mixture to the sugar egg batter.  Repeat with the 2nd half making sure there are no dry streaks.  Add the dried fruit and brandy mixture, pecans and apples.  Sprinkle the remaining flour on top.  Fold the ingredients together until no dry streaks remain and pecans and apples are evenly distributed.

Fill prepared pan with the batter and smooth it out evenly.  Bake for about 1 hr and 10 minutes to 1 hr and 20 minutes.  Cake is done when it starts to pull away from pan and springs back when lightly touched. Place pan on cooling rack for cake to cool.

For the sauce, place a saucepan over low heat and add butter.  Stir until butter is melted and add heavy cream.  Add both types of sugars and continue to cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Once dissolved, turn the heat up to medium and continue stirring.  Mixture should come to a gentle boil.  Let mixture cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in brandy.

Lift cake out of pan, using parchment paper overhangs. Cut out pieces of cake and place each on a plate and then drizzle the warm brandy sauce over the top then serve.
                          **LAST YEAR: Streusel Topped Babka**