Sunday, May 21, 2017

An Apple Multiple Times a Day?

I eat an apple every day either with my lunch or for a snack, and I can confirm that the adage is true--an apple a day does keep the doctor away. This could also be due to the fact that unless one of my appendages is falling off, I refuse to step foot in a hospital...but I'd like to thank the apples first and foremost. It had been awhile since I had eaten or even made an apple-based dessert, but I wasn't jonesing for a pie since we had that last week. This then led me to ponder one of life's great mysteries--why aren't there more apple desserts? Why must it just be the pie where we let apples shine? Why do I think this is one of life's great mysteries? Do I care too much about dessert? Does one bad apple really spoil the whole bunch? Somehow the answer to all of these questions was yes, even where it didn't make any sense. But I took that yes and I turned it into a cake. A delicious, apple-filled cake. A cake so good it can stand on its own, or be served a la mode, or even become a syrup sponge for breakfast. A shining example of how you can eat an apple a day, multiple times a day! Take that, healthcare industry.
It's also pretty! And although that does nothing for taste, it still accounts for something.
And now's the part where I get to boast that you get to top the cake with ice cream, syrup, or powdered sugar because one slice is only 170 calories. A slice of apple cake a day will also keep the stretchy pants at bay! This is an 8" round cake, but it is a bit tall, and I knew there was no way I could eat it without trying it with ice cream and caramel drizzle at some point, so this whole cake breaks down into 170 calories per slice for 10 slices total. And now I'm doing apple math. Something I haven't done since elementary school where I always questioned why one person would have 15 apples and if another person took 4 of those apples how many person one would have I would ever share my apples with anyone. I might need them all for snacking. Kate doesn't share food!
Especially if it contains brown sugar.
This cake does not require any crazy ingredients; hell, it barely even requires any sugar. Which is sometimes a cautionary tale in how to dessert properly, but I promise you this is plenty decadent thanks to lemon zest and Golden Delicious apples. To make this culinary masterpiece, gather up:
  • 2 large Golden Delicious apples (~1.5 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I like the taste of dark better than light since it has more molasses in it and packs more flavor) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup of loosely packed flour
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup + 1 TBS  skim milk
Start by greasing an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan and preheating the oven to 350. In your stand mixer bowl, dump the eggs, sugar, and zest of the large lemon. Save the rest of the need it in a minute! Whip on medium high for 5-10 minutes, until your mixture goes from looking like this:
Sad and not at all appetizing.
 To this:
Fluffy and downright tasty-looking.
While your mixture is getting all poofy and delicious in the mixer, peel your apples and core them. Slice into thin, uniform size:
Saving some of the prettiest slices for the top of the cake, naturally.
Take your lemon, cut it into slices, and squeeze over your apple slices to keep them from getting that weird brown funk that normally occurs when apples sit out for too long. No one wants to eat a cake with funky apples. Once you're done mixing the eggs, sugar, and lemon zest, dump in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Blend on low while pouring in all the milk. Up the speed on your mixer a bit and blend until everything is nicely incorporated. Finish up by folding (by hand!!) in all but about 12 slices of apple into the cake batter.
Would eat with a spoon.
Bang your pan on the counter to distribute batter and apples evenly throughout the pan. Then take the apple slices you set aside, and place them into the top of the batter. I just made a simple circular pattern, but feel free to get crazy with it and make a work of art. I was getting too hungry for cake at this point to channel my inner Van Gogh.
Plus I thought this looked pretty in its simplicity. That's also what I'm going with.

And brown sugar sprinkles make everything look 10 times more appetizing anyway.
I sprinkled an additional tablespoon (included in calorie count) of brown sugar on top of everything because it was either that or the tablespoon of sugar was going directly into my mouth. I told you, I was hungry. Now, bake in the center of your oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the cake cleanly.
Your house will smell like the most American of dreams.
So apple pie fresh out of the oven is such a quintessentially American smell...but I just out-America-ed apple pie. My house smelled so deliciously apple-y, George Washington would have been proud. Or at the very least, mildly amused by my steadfast determination to enjoy apples. Let your cake cool on a cooling rack for about a half an hour, then, find some powdered sugar and dust a bit on top:
Much like brown sugar sprinkles, this is mostly just to make the cake even prettier.
 Serve yourself a slice after you dust it with sugar and it is still fresh from the oven. It will change you as a person, I promise. The lemon zest mixes with the apples and hint of brown sugar to create a taste that is leaps and bounds above a simple apple pie filling. Not to mention its ensconced in cake and not pie crust. Unfortunately, cake can't stay piping hot out of the oven forever, but luckily, there is this wonderful invention called the microwave. I see you're familiar with this concept. I've been storing my cake in the fridge and reheating for 30 seconds a slice.
You can't even tell its microwaved!
 Is it still good? You bet your apple-bottomed jeans they are. Want to make it even better? Add apple's best friend, caramel, to the top of the cake with a nice drizzle of caramel syrup. If it's before 11 a.m. and you feel like someone might judge you for using caramel syrup that early in the day (maybe it's been a rough morning and you just need it, okay?!), you can always opt for a nice drizzle of maple syrup instead. Not gonna lie, we've been feasting on this for brunch all weekend, and it pairs perfectly with a cup of hot tea and some scrambled eggs...also swimming in syrup. Just the eggs though. My tea gets honey. I'm not a total heathen. I'm trying to decide which way I enjoy eating this cake the most...plain, for brunch, or for super dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and I really can't decide. I'm simply bananas about apples, so clearly I could eat this with every meal of the day and be one happy, apple-filled camper that never caps out her health insurance premium. Who said eating healthy had to mean giving up taste? Not I. So go forth and make this apple cake! Ditch the pie! Save comparing apples to other apples for another day. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
The apple of my eye is made of cake, and that is in no way surprising.

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