Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ginger Apple Cake

I love the red and green peels peaking through
I seem to be on an apple binge. I suppose in trying to cook seasonally I may go a little overboard sometimes. I will also admit, I'm a fruit-aholic. It's rare for me to find a fruit I don't like, and by like I mean eat in ridiculous portions. During strawberry season I believe I ate enough strawberries to be part one. So as fall approaches with its squash and root vegetables the fruit selection is fairly slim. Sure there are pears, but there aren't a ton of those around these parts. Then of course there are the incredibly non local bananas, mangos and my personal favorite pomegranates. Apples are the local fruit at the market, so I'm doing my best try as many different recipes as I can. Trying to figure out which type I like best  Jona Gold, Pink Lady, Stayman, Winesap, is a task I am happy to take on.

I love how earthy it looks. Or is that just me? 
When I saw this recipe on 101 Cookbooks, I knew I had to try it. A cake that has only half a cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of butter, whole wheat flour and no frosting? Might I even dare say a healthy cake? I do! I dare! This is about as healthy a cake you can make while still using standard ingredients. This cake really knocked my pants down (Not that hard to do given I'm such a food newbie. Or if you are healthy boyfriend....) It was moist and had a lovely apple fall flavor. The bits of apple chunks were a treat in my mouth, a juicy surprise surrounded by moist cake and subtle ginger flavor. If you are not a fan of ginger, you can just omit it, as it was not in the original recipe. Though you may want to ask yourself why you don't like ginger, what is WRONG with you?! Along with apples, I'm also on a ginger binge tossing it in any recipe I can. I think the ginger and apple pair beautifully together, but the cake will still be delicious without it. This adorable cake would be a great one to bring to a fall party, and I know kids love it too. The cinnamon and apple chunks make it sweet enough that it doesn't taste "healthy". The kids don't need to know it only has half a cup of sugar.
The recipe calls for only red apples, but I did not have enough red ones so I used one green apple. I liked the multi-colored touch, but use all the same type of apple if possible.
Ginger Apple Cake
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

If you don't have whole wheat pastry flour, feel free to substitute all purpose flour. Make sure to leave the peels on the apples, it won't be nearly as pretty without that touch of color.
The Goods: Makes one cake
2 cups sweet crisp red apples, cut into 1/4 inch cubes (peels on)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
Dash Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, lump free
1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted* and roughly chopped (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
3 tablespoons large grain sugar
1 lemon, juiced

The Deal:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees, racks in the middle. Butter and flour one 9-inch square baking dish or tart pan. Place chopped apples in a bowl of water and lemon juice, set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Then whisk in butter and ginger. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined-careful not to over mix. Drain the apples, then fold apples and half of the walnuts into the cake batter.
Making your batter
Folding in your drained apples and nuts
2. Spoon batter into the prepared pan, pushing it out toward the edges. Sprinkle with most of the large sugar and the remaining nuts. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the cake is just set and a touch golden on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Ready for the oven
*To toast walnuts, place in a skillet on medium heat. Heat until VERY lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes. They should smell toasted. Watch carefully, it's very easy to burn your nuts. (Insert nut joke of your choice here)

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