Thursday, January 21, 2010
Ginger Apple Upside Down Cake
Once the weather started turning just the tiniest bit crisp this Fall, the deluge of apple cake recipes began. In Magazines, cookbooks, blogs and food websites, apple cakes were everywhere. I was overwhelmed with possibilities for apple cake recipes. I knew I wanted to bake one, but how to choose a recipe? I bided my time and hoped for clarity.
Then I saw an apple cake in the New York Times and I knew that it was The One that I wanted to bake. The recipe is from Karen Bates, one of the daughters of the family that started The French Laundry restaurant (they sold it to Thomas Keller in 1994). She and her husband have operated an apple orchard for years and years. I figured that she probably knows a thing or two about apple cake! (You can read the story of the orchard here)
- The recipe for this cake is here.
- I baked 1/2 recipe in a small cast iron skillet that's approximately 7 inches in diameter. I didn't make any changes in the recipe - at all!
- The apples I used are my very favorite: Macoun.
- The batter tasted like a lovely intense gingerbread, and the most tantalizing aromas wafted out of the oven while this cake baked.
- Flipping upside-down cakes right side up is a fairly tricky business, especially when you try to use a decorative plate that is a good bit larger than the skillet with the cake in it. It wasn't the neatest job, but I got it inverted.
I love my gingerbread deep, dark, and spicy. This cake has an intense molasses/spice flavor that made it a total winner in our book. It would have ranked very high on the gingerbread perfection scale even without the apples, but oh, my!, the caramelized apples took the cake to even loftier heights. I am very very excited to add this cake to my repertory.
After I baked this cake, I learned that Deb Smitten, of the blog Smitten Kitchen, adapted this recipe to reduce the molasses flavor. So if you are not crazy for molasses, hop on over to her blog and try her version. Of course, for me the molasses is absolutely essential for a great ginger cake!