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Frosted Apple Cake

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Think of this cake when you need a sweet treat to serve a crowd. It’s great for an after-school snack or play dates at your house, as well as for a casual get-together with friends. Use a soft, tart apple, such as Gravenstein or McIntosh. Pippin or Granny Smith apples work well, too.

 

Frosted Apple Cake

For the cake:

2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 cups (8 oz./250 g) diced, peeled apples (about 2 1/2 apples)

1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

 

For the frosting:

1 lb. (500 g) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups (5 oz./155 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the sides by several inches.

 

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper; set aside.

 

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

 

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Then fold in the apples and walnuts, if using. Using a light lifting motion and turning the bowl continuously, fold in until the batter is smooth and the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Do not fold too vigorously or the cake will be tough. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

 

Bake until the top is brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. When the cake is cool, grasp the edges of the parchment paper and lift up to remove the cake from the pan. Place the cake on a work surface.

 

To make the frosting, using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

 

Using a long cake spatula, spread the frosting over the surface of the cake. Cut the cake into squares and serve. Serves 12.

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Classic Key Lime Pie

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In lieu of graham crackers for the crust, this key lime pie recipe swaps in gingersnaps. The sweet and spicy cookies provide a nice contrast to the tangy lime. The pie needs to be refrigerated after baking to allow the filling to set, so plan accordingly.

 

Classic Key Lime Pie

For the crust:

10 oz. (315 g) gingersnaps

5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter, melted

2 Tbs. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 egg yolks

1 can (14 fl. oz./430 ml) sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp. grated Key lime zest

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) Key lime juice

2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz./50 g) superfine sugar

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).

To make the crust, in a food processor, process the gingersnaps until fine crumbs form. Add the butter, granulated sugar and salt and pulse until moistened. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) pie dish.

Place on a baking sheet and bake until the edges are dry and set, 5 to 7 minutes. The bottom will still be moist and soft but will firm up as the crust cools. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Keep the oven set at 350°F (180°C).

Using an electric mixer, in a bowl, beat the egg yolks on medium speed until blended. Add the condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice and continue beating until well blended. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake until the edges of the pie are set but the center still jiggles slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Refrigerate he pie for at least 2 hours or up to overnight to allow it to set.

When ready to serve the pie, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream and vanilla. With the mixer set on low speed, slowly add the superfine sugar while beating, gradually increasing the speed as the mixture thickens. Continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes total.

To serve the pie, cut into 8 slices and garnish each slice with a heaping spoonful of the whipped cream. Serves 8.