Summer is a time for light, frothy, insubstantial cakes like angel food. But come fall, I want something rich and substantial. Something to eat curled up on the couch under a blanket, watching horror movies on DVD. Something like this apple bundt cake with maple icing.
7 apples (we used Jonathan and Granny Smith)
1 1/2 cups oil (we use olive pomace)
2 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose or cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup golden raisins
maple icing (or powdered sugar)
Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Peel and core the apples.
I usually cut them through the middle then cut the seeds out with a paring knife. My wife was doing this cake, and she makes four cuts around the core. Much faster than my method.
Toss them in the food processor and chop into small pieces, but not applesauce.
If you have fresh cinnamon, grate it.
I’ve got to say this. Back in September I mentioned that I didn’t have a microplane, and pointed out that it was on my wishlist. Well, Denise in Nashville took me seriously and sent it to me. Thank you Denise!
Where was I? Oh, right, cinnamon. Use fresh if you can. And grate it over a larger plate than what we used. Lemon zest falls straight down. Cinnamon … not so much.
Combine the oil and sugar and stir to make sure there are no lumps.
Add the eggs and stir again.
Add the cinnamon, salt and baking soda and stir.
Now some of you out there are bakers, and you’re thinking, “Hey, you’re supposed to sift the dry ingredients together first. That way the baking soda gets evenly distributed so the cake rises evenly.”
Yeah, I know. I said the same thing. But my wife has made this cake before, and she says she never sifts first. Can’t argue with results. (But make sure you stir thoroughly, okay?)
Add the flour one cup at a time, stirring until just incorporated after each addition.
If you over-mix, you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and the cake will be chewy. If you try to add the flour all at once, you’ll have to beat it for a while to get it all in, and some of it will start getting gluten-ey and tough.
We should have added the vanilla a few steps back. No big deal, just mix it in with the flour. (But yes, it should have gone in with the eggs.)
Add the chopped apples all in one batch and stir until it’s evenly distributed.
Last step is to add the raisins and barely mix them in.
Butter and flour a bundt cake pan or a ring pan.
Pour the batter in, making sure it’s even all the way around.
Bake at 350° for 1 1/4 hours, until it springs back when you press on it lightly.
You can check with a toothpick that it’s cooked all the way through, but if you hit a piece of apple — nearly impossible to miss with this recipe — you could come out with a wet toothpick even if it’s done.
Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack.
Let it cool until you can handle it, then move it onto a serving plate or pedestal. Put that on a turntable if you have it, otherwise you’ll probably need a little help to put the icing on. Drizzle it in-and-out from the hole in the center to the outer edge, while turning the cake in a circle.
Let the icing set up and harden before serving.
Cut straight down, not with a sawing motion, or you could knock all the icing off. And you’ll want the icing.
Serve on it’s own, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
And that’s it.
Oh, wait, one more thing. My wife thought the center looked really creepy after the icing set up. I promised I’d put this picture up and ask what you think it looks like.
So … what does it look like to you?