While it might keep the doctor away, my new saying
is, "An apple a day makes a great cake."
When I first
saw this Apple Honey Cake recipe, I thought it sounded so good I’d make it that
day. It was market day, and we are at peak apple season here in Tucson.
At the market
it occurred to me I hadn't noticed how many apples the recipe required, so I
bought six, figuring it should be more than enough.
I got home
and started prepping for this cake from the Veneto region of Italy.
As I scanned
the left column of the recipe for the number of apples, I kept missing it
because I was looking for a number greater than one. Yes, this
cake calls for only one apple.
it," I thought. The apple just adds moisture and isn't really there for
the flavor. Like using applesauce to reduce the oil or butter in some cakes.
So, I made
the cake with the new mindset that this was going to be a honey spice cake.
I was proven
wrong. The honey was subtly discernible and the apple flavor was great! How
could one apple do so much?
Italian cakes, this is not overly sweet (considering the amount of sugar and
honey in it), and it certainly isn't fancy. Simply dusted with some
confectioner's sugar, it is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, cocoa,
or coffee. I imagine that those who order pumpkin-chai-latte-caramel-macchiatos
will find a slice a perfect seasonal match!
note: I always enjoy a cake that has a little polenta in the batter, as it
makes for a nice, subtly crunchy texture, and this one has it.
unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup fine polenta
each ground cinnamon and ginger
freshly grated nutmeg
1 large tart apple
unsalted butter, softened
extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup light
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup whole
sugar, for topping
to 350°F, and position a rack
in the center. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter, dust it with flour,
and tap to knock out the excess.
In a medium
bowl, whisk the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt, and spices together; set
aside. Peel the apple and grate it, using the medium side of a box grater.
Place grated apple in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and set aside.
butter, olive oil, and sugar together until fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down
the sides of the bowl and beat in the honey until the mixture is smooth and
creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the
sides of the bowl, followed by the vanilla extract. Beat in half the dry
ingredients, followed by all the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and
beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds to
emulsify the batter. Gently fold in the grated apple.
batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Bake for 35
to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center of the cake
comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Allow the cake
to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto the rack
to cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar to serve.