I don’t mind making complicated desserts. Fifteen different steps and a separate shopping trip to a gourmet store for a must have ingredient does not intimidate me. But sometimes it’s nice to stand in your kitchen, survey your fruit bowl, and decide to make an apple cake. Straightforward and easy it comes together quickly, no special shopping required. And presto, into the oven it goes and emerges as a simple and wholesome cake. Top it off with a little confectioner’s sugar and it is ready to serve. Perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack, this uncomplicated confection will vanish before midnight.
This recipe is from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. He remembers his own mother baking this effortless cake and that there was always one in the fridge. I think it’s refreshing that an accomplished chef still delights in the nostalgic simplicity of his mother’s apple cake. Sometimes there is no room for improvement, especially if it’s mom’s recipe.
2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs (I used Panko)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples (or whatever you have on hand)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more for the pan
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup half and half
2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch springform pan and coat with the bread crumbs
Toss together the granulated sugar and brown sugar, set aside
Peel and core apples, then slice one apple into 14 wedges. Combine the cinnamon and 1/3 cup of the sugar mixture in a medium bowl. Add the apple wedges and toss to coat. Roughly dice the remaining apple.
In bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and remaining sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour and baking powder. Slowly add half and half and mix until combined. Fold the diced apple into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Arrange the apple wedges fanned along the outer edge of the pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is golden brown.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and release from the springform. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and enjoy.