Two months ago we went apple picking and came home with about 10 pounds of apples. The hubs was a little concerned that we wouldn’t be able to finish them all before they went bad, but his fears were largely unfounded. I made about 2 different apple desserts – an apple tart and this delicious apple honey cake. Both recipes were from the Smitten Kitchen blog (thank you Deb!). We consumed the rest of the apples heartily as an after dinner treat.
Over the years I have realized I am not a huge fan of frosted or decorated cakes. I very much prefer baking cakes like this one. I personally feel they taste sooo much better even though they might not look as appetizing as say, a frosted chocolate cake. Another reason – I am probably lazy and my cake decorating skills aren’t the best. That being said, I do attempt the occasional frosted confection.
This cake tastes better the day after as the flavors would have had time to develop so it’s a great “make ahead” cake. Another note, no need to push the apple slices down into the batter (I did that) – they will sink in on their own and your cake will turn out looking much better than mine. I also was too lazy to make the glaze, but I think it will be a nice touch.
Sunken Apple and Honey Cake
(taken from Smitten Kitchen; click here)
For the topping:
- 4 tiny-to-small apples, halved, peeled and cored
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the batter:
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey (any variety you like to eat)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 2 good pinches of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup honey
- A good pinch of sea salt
- Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform with butter or a nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
- Prepare apples: Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices, but only cut halfway through each apple so that the apples stay intact.
- In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
- Beat butter and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a bowl with electric beaters until fluffy.
- Add honey and beat until combined.
- Add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined.
- Sprinkle salt and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear.
- Add flour, half at a time, mixing only until just combined.
- In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until stiff.
- Stir 1/4 of them into the cake batter, to lighten it a little. Fold in the rest in three additions. According to Smitten Kitchen, it will seem impossible to fold in at first because the batter is so stiff, but it will loosen with careful folding. Only fold the last addition of egg whites until it has mostly disappeared (a couple faint streaks of egg white are fine).
- Spread cake batter in prepared cake pan, smoothing the top. Arrange apple halves face down over the cake batter. According to SK, 4 tiny/small apples will definitely fit over the cake batter. When she made it with 4 small-almost-medium apples, she could only fit 3 1/2 of them. No need to press the apples into the batter, they will sink in themselves. You can pour any extra lemon juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.
- Bake cake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then cut around the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan at all, and unhinge the sides. Let cake cool completely. You can store it at room temperature at this point, or after you add the honey, for up to 3 days at room temperature. The cake is lovelier on day 2 than day 1.
- Before serving, if you’d like the glaze to look glossy, or whenever the cake is cool, if you don’t mind if the honey sinks into the cake: Warm 1/4 cup honey and a good pinch of sea salt until it liquefies to the point where it makes a thin glaze — this will take less than 30 seconds. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake. I didn’t do this and the cake was delicious.