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Warm Fruit Spice Cake With Brûléed Topping

Winter 2011
201101035.jpg
food and drink

BY: Monda Rosenberg

A wedge of spicy apple cake with a warm buttery-nut topping is the perfect note to wind up a cold-weather dinner party. We’ve designed it so you can bake the cake ahead, then just before serving spread on the topping and broil to bubbly goodness—while you’re making the coffee, perhaps.

CAKE
2 medium-size apples
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) each of granulated and light brown sugars or 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1 1/2. tsp (7 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt
½ cup (125 mL) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk

TOPPING
1/2 cup (125 mL) light brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose fl our
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) coarsely chopped
1/4 whole blanched almonds
1/4 cup (50 mL) melted butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) water

1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2 Spray or lightly oil a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment or waxed paper and oil again. Peel the apples, then coarsely grate. You need about 1½ cups (375 mL) of grated apple, no more. (The apples brown quickly so do not grate them until you are ready to start making the cake.)

3 Measure the flour, sugars, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt into a bowl. Stir together until evenly blended. Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Then beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. Gradually beat in about a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the milk. Beat just until incorporated after each addition. Repeat additions, ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the grated apple. Turn batter into the cake pan and smooth the surface as best you can. Then bang the pan on the counter several times to get rid of air pockets.

4 Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until the cake comes away from the sides of the pan and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out fairly clean. A bit of apple may stick to it. Place pan on a cake rack for 15 minutes to cool. Then run a thin knife blade between the cake and the edge of the pan. Turn the cake out of the pan and remove the paper liner. Invert and set on a cake rack to cool completely. The cake will keep well at room temperature for at least a day. Cover once it is cool.

5 For the brûlée topping, measure the brown sugar, flour and salt into a bowl. Stir until evenly blended. Stir in the nuts. Slowly stir in the butter and water. You can do this before your dinner party and leave at room temperature until you are ready to spread it on the cake.

6 Just before serving, position an oven rack so it is about 6 inches (15 cm) from the broiler element and preheat the broiler. Place the cake on a baking sheet. Spread the nut mixture over the top of the cake almost to the edges. Place under the broiler and broil just until the nuts start to brown and the mixture bubbles. This will take no more than 3 to 4 minutes. Watch closely because it can burn quickly. Best served warm but will keep well for a day.

Makes 8 to 10 wedges

201101035.jpg
food and drink

Warm Fruit Spice Cake With Brûléed Topping

Winter 2011

BY: Monda Rosenberg

A wedge of spicy apple cake with a warm buttery-nut topping is the perfect note to wind up a cold-weather dinner party. We’ve designed it so you can bake the cake ahead, then just before serving spread on the topping and broil to bubbly goodness—while you’re making the coffee, perhaps.

CAKE
2 medium-size apples
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) each of granulated and light brown sugars or 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1 1/2. tsp (7 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt
½ cup (125 mL) butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk

TOPPING
1/2 cup (125 mL) light brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose fl our
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) coarsely chopped
1/4 whole blanched almonds
1/4 cup (50 mL) melted butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) water

1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2 Spray or lightly oil a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment or waxed paper and oil again. Peel the apples, then coarsely grate. You need about 1½ cups (375 mL) of grated apple, no more. (The apples brown quickly so do not grate them until you are ready to start making the cake.)

3 Measure the flour, sugars, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt into a bowl. Stir together until evenly blended. Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Then beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. Gradually beat in about a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the milk. Beat just until incorporated after each addition. Repeat additions, ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the grated apple. Turn batter into the cake pan and smooth the surface as best you can. Then bang the pan on the counter several times to get rid of air pockets.

4 Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until the cake comes away from the sides of the pan and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out fairly clean. A bit of apple may stick to it. Place pan on a cake rack for 15 minutes to cool. Then run a thin knife blade between the cake and the edge of the pan. Turn the cake out of the pan and remove the paper liner. Invert and set on a cake rack to cool completely. The cake will keep well at room temperature for at least a day. Cover once it is cool.

5 For the brûlée topping, measure the brown sugar, flour and salt into a bowl. Stir until evenly blended. Stir in the nuts. Slowly stir in the butter and water. You can do this before your dinner party and leave at room temperature until you are ready to spread it on the cake.

6 Just before serving, position an oven rack so it is about 6 inches (15 cm) from the broiler element and preheat the broiler. Place the cake on a baking sheet. Spread the nut mixture over the top of the cake almost to the edges. Place under the broiler and broil just until the nuts start to brown and the mixture bubbles. This will take no more than 3 to 4 minutes. Watch closely because it can burn quickly. Best served warm but will keep well for a day.

Makes 8 to 10 wedges

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