Pre-deflation cake

Last weekend, we made our annual pilgrimage up to Oak Glen’s apple farms. Last year, the apple crop wasn’t strong enough to sustain their usual u-pick operations, so we were happy to see that this year there was a healthy crop of fruit-laden trees. Right now, they have Granny Smith, Red Rome, and Red Delicious ready for picking, but it changes as the season progresses. We picked a peck of all three (after surreptitiously taste- testing the Red Delicious to make sure they were as different from the supermarket examples of that variety as we hoped — they were, crunchy and sweet, with a little tartness). We used up all our cash paying for the apples we picked, and then it was downhill from there. My husband left his Visa at home, I couldn’t use mine because some fool in Florida made a counterfeit card to fund his $5/gallon gas habit, and the yummy barbecue place didn’t take AmEx. But at least we had apples. Lots and lots of apples.


So here you have what I’ve done so far, applesauce and Cranberry Apple Cake. The applesauce is a mix of recipes and also a mix of apples. It’s really up to you what kind you want to use. The cake is an Ina Garten recipe.

Applesauce

Ingredients

6 pounds apples, diced, cored, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces

3-4 tablespoons lemon juice

Sugar to taste

Water

Spices to taste
Once you’ve prepared the apples, throw them in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water and the lemon juice, and cook them on a fairly high heat as they begin to break down. Keep an eye on the water; I ended up adding about a cup of water as it cooked down, because I didn’t want it to scorch. Once the apples are softened, use an immersion blender to break them down more. You could just keep cooking them forever until they break down on their own; you’d be a lot more patient than me in that case. Once I had a sauce-like consistency, I start tasting. I had been hoping not to need sugar, but the apples I had were fairly tart, and I knew there was no way my kids would eat it that way, so I slowly started adding sugar until I got it just sweet enough. I think I ended up adding about 5 spoonfuls of sugar, and it was still a little tart. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and some shakes of nutmeg, mixed it all up, and kept cooking it for about another half hour. Voila! Applesauce. I canned it, but you don’t have to.

Cranberry Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I love how Ina always assumes you have one of these; I do not), beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Things to note about this recipe:

  • Commenters on this recipe often said it was too tart, so I cut down on the cranberries a little bit and added a little more apple.
  • I had frozen cranberries, btw, not fresh.
  • Mine took a lot longer than 50 minutes to bake, but I’m starting to suspect my oven runs cool.
  • I used a Pyrex bowl that is approximately the circumference of a pie plate, but at least 2-3 times deeper, and I’m glad I did. I honestly don’t see how you can fit this volume of ingredients in a pie plate.
  • The cake deflated noticeably as it cooled.
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