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Baking With Apples

Spiced apple cake with cream cheese frosting

(Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff)
September 29, 2010

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Makes one 9-by-13-inch cake

With its spiced, apple-rich batter and cinnamon-scented frosting, this cake shows off the apples to their best advantage. Oil keeps the baked texture of the batter fairly firm, with moist, rich results, and extends the keeping time of the cake.

BATTER

Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 baking apples, peeled, seeded, and diced

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves until well blended.

3. In an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the oil and eggs for 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar in two additions, beating for 1 minute after each. Add the brown sugar and beat 1 minute more. Blend in the vanilla.

4. With the mixer on its low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 2 additions.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Use the spatula to stir in the apples.

6. Spoon the batter into the pan. Spread it evenly.

7. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake is clean when withdrawn. Set it on a wire rack to cool completely.

FROSTING

2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted with a pinch of salt

1. In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-low speed for 2 minutes.

2. Add the butter and cinnamon, and beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat 1 minute more.

3. With the mixer on medium speed, blend in the milk and beat 1 minute. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar in 2 additions. The frosting should be thick and creamy. Under-beating the mixture at each stage will make a frosting that lacks a creamy-rich consistency. Add extra confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make a mixture that is spreadable.

4. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Cut the cake into squares.

Lisa Yockelson