[Note from Meryl: Despite the fact that we grew up in the same town, moved away to the same town, have boys close to the same age, know a ton of the same people, and both love photography and cooking, I just realized as I sat down to write this, that I have only actually met Nemmie once in real life. Perhaps I need to go show up on her doorstep the next time she's baking this?]
Hi, I'm Nemmie! I blog out of my cozy 1940s Cape Cod that I share with the two darling men in my life. I enjoy playing choo-choos on my kitchen floor, take my bourbon neat, and would never turn down a chance to make a baked good for the lovely Meryl. :) You can find me mostly at our family blog, Scott Nems Doots.
Meryl asked of her guest bloggers that we try to pull in a “love” theme for our posts, and I have to say: if making this cinnamony, apple-scented dream of a cake while one is on a diet, and therefore has to only watch as her loved ones maul her mini cakes after topping them with a thick scoop of vanilla ice cream isn't love, well then – I don’t know what else love is, frankly.
I chose this because our lovely neighbors always gift us with homemade apple butter every Christmas, and I don’t have any idea what to do with it. I’m not much into apple butter, it just doesn't do much for me (jams and jellies: sooooooo much more sugary and therefore delicious). So the jars basically collect dust in my cabinets, waiting for the day I finally remember to hand them over to my mother or other kindly friend who can appreciate it for what it is. On top of the cabinet-space-stealing jar of apple butter, I had an overabundance of Honeycrisp apples ripening away on my counter. So anyway, when I went hunting for a recipe to make, needless to say this one kinda jumped out at me.
Dorie’s intro for this recipe in her cookbook describes the cake as “county fair blue-ribbon worthy”, and I have to agree. While I didn’t have any I can certainly account for the moist, dense texture of the finished product, as well as the sweet, rich smell of apples wafting from the kitchen as it baked. There was an optional glaze included for the recipe, but I thought all these little beauties needed was a nice dusting of powdered sugar.
Well, and some ice cream, of course.
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours)
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 10 Tbsp. (1 + 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 c. apple butter, spiced or plain
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
- 1 c. pecans or walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 c. raisins
Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it oven to 350F. Spray your mini-Bundt pans with cooking spray, then flour them, too. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, fluffy and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl again.
Reduce the speed to low and mix in the apple butter–don’t worry if the batter looks curdled at this point, that means you're doing it right! Mix in the grated apples. With the mixer still running on low speed, stir in the dry ingredients gradually. When just a few streaks of flour remain, stir in the nuts and raisins. Stop the mixer and give the batter a few folds by hand just to make sure everything is incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean inserted deeply into the center of one of the cakes comes out clean, 30 to 35-ish minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the molds and unmold the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.
Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar just before serving, which is best done with vanilla ice cream (or, if you want to be healthier, try it topped with a generous dollop of applesauce). This cake keeps perfectly at room temperature for up to 4 days, or up to 2 months in the freezer.