I love autumn. Crisp air, colorful leaves that crunch when I walk through them, cozy sweaters, frost in the early morning, the approaching holidays…everything about this season makes me smile and sigh with contentment. Best of all, I enjoy biting into a crunchy, juicy fall apple fresh from the tree.
When I saw this recipe for Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting on the King Arthur Flour Company website, I knew I had to make it. So while I was at my parent’s house, I grabbed their bag of
apples and gave the recipe a go.
The cake was a hit! I love the brown-sugar frosting, which reminds me of the caramel frosting on my Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake. The cake was very moist and stayed that way for a couple of days until it was eaten. The recipe would make a great coffee cake by just leaving off the frosting, though my dad and I had no trouble eating it for breakfast with frosting. (In many ways, I’m my father’s daughter.)
However, this recipe was very sweet, so next time I think I’ll make it with tart Granny Smith apples instead. The recipe comments on the website contain suggestions from other cooks on how they reduced the sweetness, but I think using a tart apple would be a good start.
Thank you for all the good wishes for my family from my last post. My dad was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer, so I went to stay with my parents as he went through his first chemo treatment. So far he is doing well, considering, and the prognosis is very good.
Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Recipe reprinted with permission from the King Arthur Flour Company’s website.
2 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour (I used all-purpose flour.)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and 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 (I used un-toasted pecans and they tasted great.)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor (I used vanilla.)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9” x 13” 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 and place it on a rack to cool completely; don't remove the cake from the pan.
- To make the frosting: Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts.
- Add the milk, bring to a boil, and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat well; if the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners' sugar. Spread on the cake while frosting is still warm.
Tips from the
- To toast nuts, place them in a single layer in a cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 6 to 9 minutes, until they're golden brown and smell "toasty."
- To guarantee lump-free frosting, sift confectioners' sugar before adding to the butter mixture. Usually all the lumps disappear as you beat the frosting; but to guarantee no lumps at all, sift the sugar first.