I am told that fall is coming in most parts of world, heralded by trees dressed in flaming reds and yellows, foggy clear-aired mornings, and apples. Glorious apples. I’m a WA girl at heart, and the knowledge that I cannot make my yearly pilgrimage to Wenatchee for a box of freshly picked Honeycrisps and MacIntoshes is beyond depressing. Here in Savannah, the oak trees always look the same, and I am told that we may get a taste (but only that) of fall come October. At least the humidity is fading.
However, it is not impossible to create the end result of an apple buying spree even here in GA. Yep, you guessed where this is going: gluten free apple cake. A moist, homey, spice- and apple-laden cake with a whiff of browned butter, a solid foundation of whole grain flours, and a surprise caramelized apple top. (Are you running for your favorite sweater and a pumpkin spice latte yet?) Here’s the recipe…
Autumn Apple Cake
If you need this cake to be dairy-free, sub applesauce for the sour cream and canola or melted coconut oil for the butter. A flax egg replacer or Ener-G Egg Replacer should do the trick to make this fully vegan.
2 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1 stick (1/2 c.) + 2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar + 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. milk (I used light vanilla soy)
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1/2 c. millet flour
1/4 c. buckwheat flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 10″ springform pan with parchment. Oil the sides and set aside.
2. Dice apples and stop once you have approximately 2 c. Slice remaining apples thinly into crescents.
3. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and pour over parchment in pan. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. brown sugar evenly over butter and set aside. Arrange sliced apples over sugar in a rosetta of sorts, and set pan aside.
4. Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes, until milk solids turn brown and butter starts emitting a nutty aroma. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before; the trick is to keep a close eye on the process, as it turns quickly from melted butter to browned. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or some cheesecloth and discard browned solids. Pour butter into your mixing bowl and allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes.
|Browned butter adds a je ne sais quoi appeal.|
5. Mix wet ingredients together with browned butter until uniform. Sift dry ingredients together and mix into wet ingredients in two additions, stirring well after each. Fold in diced apples.
6. Pour Blob batter over surface of apple slices in prepared pan. Smooth with a spatula, being careful not to disturb the apples underneath. Bake 45 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before removing ring. Allow to cool until just warm to the touch before upending onto to a serving plate and peeling off the parchment.
Enjoy a slice with your favorite autumn beverage in accompaniment. To avoid eating it all at once, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and freeze for later enjoyment.
Yield: One 10″ cake; 12 servings.