Believe it or not, I’m still working my way through the apples I picked at Mountain Orchards back in September. I’m astonished by how long these apples have kept but I’m perfectly happy to continue finding new uses for them.
You might remember when I suggested you put your apple-picking haul to good use by throwing them in a glass of alcohol; this time, I’m recommending you throw some alcohol in with your apples, in cake form.
There are A LOT of apples in this cake and the end result is a dense, subtly sweet cake. This recipe can be prepared in a cast iron pan or a spring-form pan. I love the look of serving directly out of a skillet but didn’t have one on hand when I was whipping this up.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with the apple slices you set into the top of the cake before popping it into the oven. I fanned mine out around the edge but have seen beautiful examples with the apples placed cut side down – exposing the colour of the peel on the top of the cake.
In any case, I would definitely recommend serving this warm – bonus points for a side of French vanilla ice cream. This is a perfect fall dessert and pairs beautifully with a boozy coffee of some kind or even a hot cup of Earl Grey is you’re teetotaling.
Bourbon Apple Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs - at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons bourbon - Calvados, rum, or cognac work well too
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup buttermilk - at room temperature
- 3 medium Ambrosia apples - Honeycrisp works too
- 1 stick - 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- confectioners sugar - for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place a piece of parchment paper into an 8-or 9-inch spring-form cake pan and grease with butter.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in the granulated sugar, bourbon, and vanilla extract. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
Peel, halve, and core 2 1/2 of the apples, then cut them into 1/2-inch-thick cubes. Reserve the remaining half apple (unpeeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices) for the top.
Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined, then gently fold in half of the melted butter. Repeat with the remaining flour and butter. Gently fold in the cubed apples, reserving the slices. Transfer the batter to the pan and arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake until the cake turns a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes. Transfer the skillet to a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes. The cake may be served warm or at room temperature; whichever you choose, be sure to dust with confectioners sugar before serving.
Recipe adapted from: Calderone, Athena. "Cardamom Cognac Cake". Cook Beautiful. Harry N. Abrams, 2017.
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