Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cooks Illustrated French Apple Cake

My husband is un-American. And not because he grew up in the Midwest and I make fun of how he says "egg". This man doesn't like Apple Pie. At all!! In fact, he doesn't like any dessert that involves cooked apples. No apple crumble, crisp, or pie for him! Or me, by default, because I just can't justify making a whole dessert just for me. Sigh. I've tried, oh yes. I've made all kinds of things thinking I could convert him. Nope!! My mom has been trying to get me to make this cake ever since she made it as a tester a few months ago. She said I would go crazy for it, that it was everything I loved. Thank goodness they thought it worth publishing!! But it could not be baked, until I found a night when we would have company, without him. Bollywood night! I was still sad he would never enjoy it with me.

Until NOW. I cannot believe the words I just heard come out of his mouth. He actually mumbled and chuckled sheepishly while saying them! Like he was ashamed to admit it!! The words were:

"Wow. This is really good."

TRIUMPH!!! And boy am I glad, because this just might have to be my new birthday cake. Thank you France, thank you Cooks Illustrated, thank you MOM, my husband likes cooked apples. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!

French Apple Cake ( adapted slightly from original recipePublished September 1, 2012.   From Cook's Illustrated.
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, (about 4-5) peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8 inch thick crosswise (whatever, just slice 'em thin!)
1 tablespoon Calvados (apple brandy, I skipped it)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup (5 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg plus 2 large yolks
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Place prepared pan on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. (really, do this first, I'll tell you why later!) Place apple slices into microwave-safe pie plate, cover, and microwave until apples are pliable (bendy) and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss apple slices with Calvados and lemon juice and let cool for 15 minutes.
2. Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk egg, oil, milk, and vanilla together in second bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup batter to separate bowl and set aside.

3. Add egg yolks to remaining batter and whisk to combine. Using spatula, gently fold in cooled apples. Transfer batter to prepared pan; (leave it on the foil and do these last few steps quick!) using spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges, gently pressing on apples to create even, compact layer, and smooth surface.
4. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into reserved batter. Pour over batter in pan and spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar evenly over cake. (I used probably 4 Tb to get that awesome crackly crust)

5. Bake until center of cake is set, toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top is golden brown, about 1¼ hours. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.
Here's why you don't want to dawdle during this recipe, and have that pan ready. I didn't, and nearly had a panic attack as a result. I poured the apple batter in, spread it around, went back to look at my recipe... and came back to find batter leaking out of the bottom!! I frantically poured it back into the bowl, washed the pan out, realized the bottom was in upside down, relaxed, and poured it back in. IT LEAKED AGAIN!!             I poured it back in the bowl, read the recipe twice, then went and watched the video online, and noticed the leeetle brown bit of batter around the edge of the pan when it was taken out of the oven. Oh! So that's what the foil and pan are for! So the quicker you get it in, the less it will leak. Aren't you glad I'm here to freak out about stuff like that so you don't have to?
Oh my heavenly stars above, this is my new favorite cake. No kidding. It is beyond delicious. It floats around on a sparkly little cloud pillow above "delicious".
Who needs powdered sugar?? You're beautiful just the way you are... and so is this cake!
It's lightly sweet, which the French seem to do SO well! The little cake parts are soft and fluffy, and that batter the apples were mixed into turns into creamy vanilla custard. Yes, custard!! Stephen had multiple groundbreaking bites. Little Stephen made happy noises. Joe didn't like the apples. *rolling eyes*
I'm waiting for the other girls... must resist... can only eat this one slice for pictures... Ack!! Fine. But I'm having leftovers for breakfast!!

Featured on This and That for Foodie Fridays!

17 comments :

  1. **WAVES BIG BANNERS**.... and there was GREAT rejoicing! You finally made it... it truly is heavenly, in a perfectly balanced, not over the top "gubbery-sweet" american way. I LAUGHED OUT LOUD that Stephen acquiesced.

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  2. I am gonna have to try this. Looks delicious! Thanks for linking up at Foodie Friends Friday party! Don't forget to come back on Sunday and vote.

    Robyn from Robyn's View
    http://www.robynsviewathome.blogspot.com

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  3. This looks like something I would LOVE! Going to try this one. Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friends Friday! Don’t forget to come back on Sunday to Vote.
    Lois @ wifeofthecolonel.blogspot.com

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  4. This recipe will be featured on my blog tomorrow as one of MY Host Favorites!

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  5. I love anything apple... not sure about my husband but will try this... and when my husband doesn't like desserts that I do, I invite company over so that I can still have them and not eat all...and watch as he tries to eat them :0 infront of the company. Mean aren't I.
    Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday.
    http://marlys-thisandthat.blogspot.com

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  6. This cake looks wonderful and the crust looks flaky and delicious! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday!

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  7. What a fabulous apple cake, I am trying this and I know that I will love it! Nettie from Moore Or Less Cooking.

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  8. Did you get the cakey upper layer? I just made it this weekend and - while absolutely delicious - the whole thing turned out creamy. No cake-like upper layer. The only thing I changed in the recipe was to add a half teaspoon of almond extract (house rule: everything tastes better with almond in it).

    I'm thinking of adding 4T flour to the upper layer next time I make this cake. Which I will. Cakey top or not, it's a keeper.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't. They describe having one, but I watched that video over and over and realized that they don't have one either!! Silly Cooks Illustrated.

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  9. Did you get the cakey upper layer? I just made it this weekend and - while absolutely delicious - the whole thing turned out creamy. No cake-like upper layer. The only thing I changed in the recipe was to add a half teaspoon of almond extract (house rule: everything tastes better with almond in it).

    I'm thinking of adding 4T flour to the upper layer next time I make this cake. Which I will. Cakey top or not, it's a keeper.

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  10. I made this for a Christmas party and it was a home run hit! I didn't get the cakey layer either & considering the level of detail in Cook's it's surprising that they blew this one! That said, it's my new favorite 'cake'!

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    Replies
    1. I don't think it's really supposed to have one. I've looked at other recipes for basically the same cake, and they don't have on either. I think it was an error in the description of the cake, honestly. And it makes me wonder if you can just whisk the flour in and skip separating the batter... Either way, I'm so glad you liked it!! Thank you for letting me know, that truly makes my day!

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  11. I love this cake - but one recommendation for you - get a Push Pan. The Push Pan has solved all of my springform problems :)

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm, I'll have to look that up, thanks for the tip! And thanks for stopping by :)
      Happy Thanksgiving!
      ~April

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  12. This cake is delicious! Everyone loved it. Served it with whipped cream. Mmmmmmmmm.

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    1. So glad you liked it Tiana!! I should have thought of whipped cream... Methinks it's time to make this again, and take new pictures! Thanks for stopping by ;)
      ~April

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