Friday, October 28, 2011

Brown Sugar Apple Upside Down Coffee Cake

Layering brown sugar & apples
I'm not a big baker. My bread is so-so, and my cakes often come out somewhat flat. However, once in a long while I get a real itch to bake something, anything. Today is one of those days. It's snowy out, and by baking I can convince myself that I don't really need to go get wet out there moving fallen branches. I'm doing something USEFUL. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I snagged a coffee cake recipe off the internet, but during the production of said cake, I made an error. However, due to the Fates loving me, the error turned out great. Aren't you glad I kept impeccable notes, so you can reproduce this delicious thing? I knew you were!

Mixing the ingredients
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup room-temperature butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins (or 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped nuts)
  • 1 apple sliced thin
  • extra brown sugar for layering bundt pan
The batter goes into the pan
Cream the butter (or margarine) with the sugars. I used my MixMaster and it went pretty easily. My butter was a bit cold, though, and it got a bit grainy. The addition of the applesauce fixed that, though. Once the sugar is creamed, add the applesauce and beat well until smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder and baking soda, vanilla, and your spices. Mix well, then add raisins and/or nuts. 

While all that is mixing, spray the bottom of your favorite bundt pan or grease it with butter. Put a layer of brown sugar down, and on top of it, add thin sliced apples in a ring, all the way around. I made mine pretty but I suppose you could as easily put chopped apples or not be so Martha Stewart about the whole thing. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Freshly out of the oven
Pour the batter carefully on top of the brown sugar-apple layers. It will be quite thick batter, as this is a dense coffee cake. Smooth it out a bit with a spatula, then slide the whole thing into the oven for about 45 minutes (start checking at 40 minutes - mine went to 47 minutes for a perfect consistency). Check for readiness with a wooden skewer, piece of raw spaghetti or a knife inserted into the cake. When it comes out clean (ie free of batter) it's ready. I strongly suggest licking the implements while you're waiting for it to bake, by the way. I did. I don't even feel the least bit guilty about it, either!

The finished product!
When it's ready, take the cake out and set to rest in a cool spot for five minutes, then turn out onto a plate. I hope yours turns out looking as darned impressive as mine did, because I just know my family is going to go ape over this. The only change I would suggest making is that you lightly dust the greased pan with flour before putting in the toppings and batter. Mine stuck a bit on one side (and I was forced to eat the caramelized bits... a true sacrifice on my part, but I'd do it again... for the family, you know...). I think the flour would eliminate that, although I'm not entirely certain.

This should be served warm in my opinion. It has the consistency and flavor of a nice spice cake, being somewhat dense. However, it looks beautiful and would definitely grace a Thanksgiving table well. I intend to do just that for this Thanksgiving, in fact, with the center hole filled with flowers or a candle or some such other frippery. Yay me!

More images of the results of my baking. I can't wait for dessert!