Harvest Apple Cake
Servings: Tested size: 12 servings; makes one 9-inch cake
The tender chunks of apple help make this butter-and-cream-cheese cake moist and flavorful – a simple sweet for offering throughout the day and especially at brunch.
After two years of apple-baking testing, Lisa Yockelson reports that a wide variety of apples can be chunked up and used for a recipe such as this one. Rome Beauty, Cortland, Jonathan, McIntosh, Stayman and Empire apples meld beautifully, as do Fuji, Jonagold, Northern Spy, Winesap and York Imperial.
Make Ahead: The cake can be made a day in advance and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.Ingredients
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups peeled, cored and diced "cooking" apples (see headnote), in 1/2-inch chunks (3 to 4 medium apples)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use flour-and-oil spray to coat the inside of a 9-inch round baking pan with 2-inch sides.
For the batter: Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg onto a sheet of wax paper.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat for 1 to 2 minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl. On moderately high speed, blend in the sugar in 3 additions, beating for 45 seconds after each addition, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition for 30 seconds or until just incorporated. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract, beating. At this point, the batter will look slightly curdled, but it will smooth out after the flour mixture is incorporated.
On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing just until the particles of flour are absorbed. The batter will be thick. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the apple chunks.
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the surface. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake has risen and set. It should pull away slightly from the sides of the pan. The top of the cake will be a medium-golden color and will look somewhat bumpy due to the chunks of fruit embedded in the batter.
Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto another cooling rack, lift off the baking pan, then invert again to stand right side up.
For the topping: Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. While the cake is still warm, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the cake. To serve, use a serrated knife to cut the cake into wedges.