November 17, 2010

Thankful & French Apple Cake

The holidays are upon us and in my opinion, there's no better way to celebrate than with food, family, and friends. I'm lucky enough to have a huge family who enjoys each others' company(for the most part) and thankful that they appreciate food just as much as I do. There's no doubt there will be over 6 different desserts to choose from at our family's Thanksgiving dinner(not including some chocolate koalas with macadamia nuts I picked up in Australia). Even so, I'm a baking fiend and will be adding my own contribution to the dessert buffet. 
This recipe kind of scared me at first since it has 3 tablespoons of rum and not much batter. I'm not one for booze in my cakes. Just ask my Paris travel companions about my first baba au rhum experience...gagging ensued and I stole my mom's profiteroles covered in chocolate. To my pleasant surprise, you couldn't necessarily taste the alcohol but it did give the cake a certain je ne sais quoi. The type of flavor your guests will ponder, "why is this dessert so deliciously different?" but never put their finger on it. 
The finished product is extremely light, not overly sweet, and tart from the green apples. I refuse to put spray-bottle whipped cream on anything so I subdued some fresh cream into peaks as fluffy as clouds with some brown sugar. After trying about 10 fingers worth of whipped cream(What? I had to make sure the sweetness level was right!) I heaped it onto the warm cake with a sprinkling of cinnamon. 

French Apple Cake 
(Original recipe by Dorie Greenspan, adapted by David Lebovitz thennn me) 
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples (I prefer tart Granny Smiths)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract(I'm just obsessed with apple and almond together)
8 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
ground cinnamon (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Heavily butter an 8 or 9-inch spring-form pan and place it on a baking sheet. 
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
Peel and core the apples, then dice them into 1 inch pieces. 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum, vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the butter. Stir in remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the butter.
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 as best you can with a spatula. 
Bake the cake for 50 minutes 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 edges to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the pan. The cake is rather delicate with all the apples so cut carefully and serve with your choice of topping. ie. Whipped cream, ice cream , or as David suggests, creme fraiche. 
Thank you all for reading and following my blog! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

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