Lots of fiddling went on with this recipe (apologies to Reader X and her Oma), but the multiple attempts were worth it. Macerated apples keep the interior from getting gooey with leaked moisture and buttermilk improves both the texture and the overall structure, helping keep the apples from sinking too far into the cake (the advantages of acidic batter donchaknow). The result is a dense but still light and buttery cake with firm-tender apples. Begin by lining a 10″ springform pan with parchment paper and preheating your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Now zest a lemon…
…and squeeze the juice into a large bowl.
Peel and core two pounds of apples (4-5 of them) according to the tutorial on the subject. Arrange some of the halves in a 10″ springform pan. This will give you a sense for how many of the halves you’ll need for the top.
Slice the halves you aren’t using …you’ll include them in the center of the cake. I should add that if you don’t like the idea of entire halves, you can just slice all the apples and arrange slices decoratively on top.
Put all the apple pieces in the bowl with the lemon juice and pour in about three ounces (1/3 cup) of the sugar. There’s that Trudeau silicone bowl again…I do love it so…and yes, that was a plug (but a truthful plug).
Stir the mixture up and let it sit for an hour. What will this do? It will draw out some of the water from the apples without collapsing the apple flesh. I want it to leech out here versus in the cake where it will make the crumb gooey. Some people like a custardy inside. If so, skip this step.
Meanwhile, get your mix together. Sift the flour into a large bowl…
…add the salt and leavening and whisk it together.
Next combine the eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Stir them a little with a fork.
Beat the softened butter and the sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle (beater).
Cream the mixture until it’s fluffy and light in color, then add in the egg mixture.
When those are combined add the lemon zest and the flour mixture.
Don’t forget to scrape that bowl from time to time.
Add the milk and buttermilk…
…and scrape some more. Stir any dry bits together, but definitely don’t beat the batter very much more. Do it slowly, just until all the dry ingredients are gone. Or at least mostly gone.
When you’re satisfied that things are pretty well combined, scrape half the batter into the prepared pan. Lay on any apple slices (or half the apple slices if you’re going with a sliced presentation).
Scrape on the rest of the batter and spread it around.
Before you lay in the apple halves, score the tops. Make several parallel slices into the apple, about half an inch deep. This is mostly decorative, but also helps the apples take in the glaze (as you’ll see).
Arrange the scored apples on the top and insert the pan into the oven.
Bake about an hour, until deeply tanned. Cool it on a rack.
Meanwhile, back to the apple bowl. It will have some sweetened apple syrup in it. Be a shame to waste it, don’t you think?
Strain it into a small saucepan and put the pan over medium-high heat. Depending on how much you have, you may want to add a few tablespoons of sugar to ensure the mixture does’t boil away to nothing. You want a few tablespoons of thick syrup.
Shine up the apples with. Keep applying whatever you have until it’s all gone (it’ll soak into those grooves).
Once the cake is cool, slip a spatula underneath (under the parchment), carefully raise up the edge and slide a cake circle under it.
And you’re ready to go. This one was headed to a church fair, but a plastic dome also helps keep busy fingers out. Nice try, Joan!
You’ll make these a lot this Fall, I can tell already…