September 26, 2007

Very Apple Coffe Cake

Whenever Jesse returns from a work trip to LA, I like to use it as an excuse to make some scrumptious treat and serve it to him as a surprise. Last time around, I made flourless chocolate cupcakes, and this time I was originally planning to make German chocolate cupckes (which I've been wanting to make for-ever-er!). But since he is due to return in the morning just after I leave for work, I decided a coffee cake was in order. An apple coffee cake, to be specific, in celebration of the return of fresh apples to the farmers market.

In my health-seeking quest to ban oil and butter and tons of eggs from my baked goods, I decided to try using applesauce as the primary wet ingredient, and to complicate things further, applesauce I made myself. I've done this before, for apple muffins, and figured it would work just as well for a cake. Of course, butter came creeping back in for the crumbly topping, but a coffee cake just wouldn't be complete without that.

I just did a taste test with my roommate - it's on the right track, but the bottom and sides of the cake turned out tough and chewy. Not sure why - maybe I baked it too long, maybe I needed more lubricant in the pan, maybe this is what whole wheat flour does, maybe the batter really did need oil or butter? Hm guess those apple muffins were tough too. I need Alton Brown to explain the science of it all! I don't know, but leaving out the bottom of the cake, it tastes yummy, especially the crumbly top. Will get a final verdict from Jesse tomorrow, but I have the feeling he'll be pleased. And get ready for tomorrow's post, Welcome Back Jesse Part 2: Dinner.(Apologies for blurry picture - my lighting sucks.)

1 large apple (I used Cortlandt, recommended by the farmer I bought it from)
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp honey (buckwheat honey from the Greenmarket)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg (local free range organic yum!)
1/2 cup soy milk or organic milk
1 small apple

Crumbly Topping
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup steel-cut rolled oats

Peel, core, and dice apple. Combine apple with other ingredients in a saucepan, cover, and very lightly simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When apples are tender, approximately 25 minutes later, mash with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Sometime before the applesauce is done, preheat the oven to 350.

Meanwhile, combine dry cake ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients for the crumbly topping and then cream butter into the mixture. Also core an apple (do not peel) and cut into thin slices. Also prepare a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray on bottom.

Stir egg and milk into the applesauce. Then beat the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Pour half the batter into the cake pan, spreading evenly. Arrange apple slices in a layer on top, and then pour remaining batter over it, again spreading evenly. Arrange crumbly mixture evenly on top, pressing it in slightly. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. Enjoy with your next morning coffee for breakfast.

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