Wednesday, October 2, 2013

apple cake with maple frosting.

October is my month.  

October conjures all kinds of feelings of nostalgia and memories of the past.  Debating Halloween costumes for weeks on end, sitting hunched over sheets of newspaper in the garage while pumpkin carving with my siblings, walks beneath a canopy of colorful trees in order to get to the school bus, meeting a boy who is now my better half.  

October is apples and pumpkins and candy galore.  Slow braised meats to be eaten with beer on Sunday aka Football day, butternut squash pizza with smoked mozzarella to be served with a really bold red wine, bowls of pasta topped with rich and meaty bologonese.  

October is this apple cake.  An oh so creamy maple frosting is paired with an absurdly chunky crunchy spike filled cake. There are 4 (4!) cups of apple in this cake which is what makes it so incredibly perfect and why I deem it required eating in October.  

Apple Cake with Maple Frosting
Apple Cake adapted from King Arthur Flour Frosting adapted from Bon Appetit 

For the Cake

2 1/3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon each ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples
1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans  

For the Frosting

½ stick unsalted butter at room temperature
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan or a 9 inch round cake pan.

To make the cake: Mix all of the ingredients except the apples and nuts in a large bowl. Beat until well combined; the mixture will be very stiff, and may even be crumbly.  Add the apples and nuts, and mix until the apples release some of their juice and the stiff mixture becomes a thick batter, somewhere between cookie dough and brownie batter in consistency.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing it with your wet fingers.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few wet crumbs clinging to it.  Remove the cake from the oven.  Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then flip the cake out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.   

Make the frosting: Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in cream cheese, then maple syrup and salt Chill until beginning to firm, about 20 minutes.  When cake is cool and frosting is firm, spread the cake with the frosting. Can be kept at room temperature for 3 days.  

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