Now, I’ve never been a huge ‘pie’ girl. All the rolling and cutting and par-baking and fussing… I just don’t have that kind of energy (generally speaking). As ashamed as I am to admit it… when I do bake a pie, it’s often with the aid of a store-bought crust. I know, I should probably just go kill myself now. Especially when we have such dedicated bakers who make such marvelous pies and poor Ms. Natalie can’t be bothered to run her food processor for 30 seconds and wait for the dough to chill after rolling it out.
I should just throw myself off of a cliff.
So when apple pie season rolls in and you’re not a huge pie person but you still want to serve a delightfully autumnal dessert, what’s a girl like me to do?
FYI: I find that in much of life’s dilemmas, the answer is usually cake.
I spotted this cake ages ago on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, and it’s been sitting in the back of my brain ever since. Just gnawing at my willpower. Whispering from my subconscious to my brain, “make me…” So, I did!
It basically ends up like a caramel apple upside-down cake, which isn’t as fancy as Ina’s title of “apple cake tatin”, but let’s be realistic here. This is a caramel apple cake. I’d bet it’s best served warm with a scoop of melty vanilla ice cream, but a cold slice for breakfast is enjoyable as well.
I mean, it’s healthy… “apple a day” or something like that.
- *6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- *1 1/4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
- *1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- *2 large eggs, room temperature
- *1/3 cup sour cream
- *1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- *1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- *1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- *1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- *1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- *Confectioners' sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish (I used a cake pan lined with parchment) and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down.
- Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, and registers about 360 F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the apple slices. Stare in awe while it bubbles.
- In a large bowl, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until combined, being careful not to overmix.
- Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm with ice cream, or at room temperature.
[ Adapted from Barefoot Contessa ]