In the introduction to this recipe for Honey Crisp Apple Cake from Fresh from the Market, Laurent Tourondel explains that he adapted this cake from his favorite carrot cake recipe. A quick perusal of the ingredients confirms this—all of the usual carrot cake suspects are represented, even canned pineapple. But this recipe is a little more complex than that. You start by caramelizing the apples in butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, then line your baking dish with the apples, in essence creating a tarte tatin-carrot cake mashup.
Once the batter is poured over the caramelized apples and the cake bakes, you're left with a spiced, super moist cake with a lovely upper crust studded with gooey apple slices. The original recipe called for a Calvados sauce and pumpkin spice ice cream pairing but since the cake was so tasty on its own, you really don't need the extra elements. Sweet apples plus a batter spiked with warm fall spices makes for a cake that really doesn't need anything else, but, of course, a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream never hurt anyone.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Fresh from the Market to give away this week.
- For the apples:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3 Honey Crisp apples, peeled, cored, and halved
- For the cake batter:
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup grated Honey Crisp apple
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup canned crushed pineapple
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Caramelize the Apples: Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Place the apples in the pan, cut side up, and cook over very low heat until the apples are tender and nearly cooked through, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
When the apples are cool enough to handle, slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, keeping the top 1/2-inch of the apple halves intact so that the apple halves stay intact but can be fanned.
Make the Cakes: Preheat the oven to 325 ̊F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap the bottom of six 3-inch ring molds (2 inches high) with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray the inside of the molds with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Place the ring molds on the lined baking sheet.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the remaining ingredients in the mixer bowl at low speed until just combined. Make sure not to overmix the batter.
Place the caramelized apple halves, core side up, in the molds, pressing the apples down to fan out the slices. Divide the batter evenly among the ring molds and bake until a knife inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.
Run a paring knife around the edge of each cake and gently remove the cakes from the molds. Invert the cakes so the apples are facing up.