Tonawanda News — A friend of mine had a cake similar to this in a diet package she receives every week. I took one look at it and although it’s decorative to a point, it was tasteless. Here is my recipe for a cake that encompasses softness, crunch and some good ol’ fashioned flavors that will put a smile on your face. The kids will love it too. It’s at least one way to get the kids to eat their fruit.
I used honey crisp apples in this recipe. They are a great balance between sweet, tart and crisp. If you use macintosh or other soft apple, you won’t need to precook them first. If you don’t have an apple corer at home — as I don’t — simply take either a very thin steak knife or the thinnest spoon handle you have and poke it down through around the core on a hard surface. Then poke it out through the other side.
The warm taste of this cake is perfect for any time of year.
Tangy whole apple
For the cake
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
11/2 cups plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 small apples, cored but not peeled
cinnamon-cocoa crumb topping, recipe below
5 cinnamon sticks, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Place the apples in the microwave and cook for 1 to 11/2 minutes each, or until they are slightly softened. You don’t need to cover them, just make sure they are sitting on a plate. Cook them individually or combine if desired. If you do combine them, of course the cooking time will vary.
Sift the flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl with a hand-held mixer or a countertop mixer, place butter and sugar in the bowl, beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and continue beating until well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue beating until combined. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, in batches, until well mixed, scraping down sides. Do not overmix, if it is a little lumpy, that is fine.
Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan evenly.
Sprinkle half the cinnamon mixture over the batter, covering the entire surface of the batter. Spoon remaining batter over the swirl mixture and spread it evenly. Top with the remaining swirl mixture, saving some to sprinkle inside of each apple.
Now take 6 cored apples and place them in the batter, evenly spacing but not touching the sides of the pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or simply touch the center. If it bounces back, the cake is done. Remove cake from oven, let cool before slicing out individual servings. Dollop each serving with either whipped cream or ice cream, dunk a cinnamon stick in each if desired and serve.
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Mix well in a bowl.
Jim Bailey is the author of “The Yankee Chef” cookbook, and writes from his home kitchen in Bangor, Maine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.