Monday, September 10, 2012

The Apple Lady's Apple Cake

Flu bugs are not fun. 

NOT. FUN. my lovelies.

First week back to school and we had already received our first and most enthusiastic 'Welcome Back' pep rally from Team Parasite. 

They arrived at precisely 8.30pm, dressed in their jerseys, helmets, and cheerleading uniforms, complete with pom-poms, razor sharp cletes, and one billion of their most loyal fans, ready to cheer loud, play hard, and take no prisoners. And yes, I said pom-poms, not pom-pons, which is the most ridiculous word ever.

Needless to say, they won the game, battle, and war. It was hardly a contest and I didn't stand a chance. But in all seriousness, I can't remember the last time I was that sick.

It's been a few days since my last bout of grossness and I'm only just accepting the sight of food. When one can't stomach the sight of a cupcake or cookie, you know one is very ill. In fact, it was so bad that my mother-in-law, bless her heart, came over to help out and ended up washing and folding my laundry, which is the BIGGEST no-no in my household. Like, HELL no-no. And I didn't even care. I was that sick.

As I started to gain a pulse again and join the human race, I had to slowly ease myself back onto food. Without going into detail, I found that out of everything I tried to eat, applesauce was the best going down and staying put. 

To show my appreciation to apples, I decided to murder a bushel and make a lovely French apple cake. Gâteau aux Pomme. The French always manage to make everything sound so much nicer...and sexier. September is also apple month, so it just made sense to make this. 

An apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away. Well, I've had my fair share of them this week. 

And I dare those disgusting, freeloading leeches to come back. 

Recipe adapted and slightly modified from The Paris Cookbook 

I'm not sure why they call this a cake as it's more like a flan. 

½ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
A pinch of fine sea salt or regular table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract - I used the seeds of a vanilla bean
2 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup whole milk
Zest of 1 scrubbed lemon
2 pounds (4 to 6) baking apple, cored, peeled,and cut into thin slices

⅓ cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 425º F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir to blend. Add vanilla extract/vanilla seeds, eggs, oil, milk and lemon zest; stir until well blended. Add apples and stir to coat them with batter. 

Spoon or place the mixture into prepared pan. I placed them in a uniform layer so once the cake was cut, the slices would yield a neater look. Bake until cake is golden and firm, about 25 to 35 minutes. Mine took 30 minutes. 

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, egg, melted butter and lemon zest and juice; stir to blend. Set aside.

Remove cake from oven and pour topping mixture over it. Return cake to oven and bake until top is a deep golden brown and cake feels quite firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 10 minutes. Be sure to keep watch as the topping WILL caramelize quite quickly. I love little bits of crispy apple and topping, so I left mine in a couple minutes longer, but if you want it a nice golden color, take out after designated time. 

Transfer cake pan to a rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then run a knife around the sides of pan, and release and remove springform ring, Serve warm or at room temperature. Top with powdered sugar, homemade whipped cream, or warm cream.

Yield: 8 servings.

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