What is that you say about the lunacy of baking a cozy, cinnamon-ey, decidedly autumnal cake when temperatures in the South are reaching the mid-80s? Well I have a defense. Two, in fact. First, of course, you asked for it. And second, this recipe is simply too good – and too foolproof – to resist.
It’s no secret that I am absolutely smitten with the smitten kitchen. Deb makes fussy recipes utterly accessible and ordinary ingredients sensational, all the while with wit, fantastic photography, and a gratuitous shot of her adorable son in every post. So it’s certainly no shock that I began and ended my search for a coffee cake with the SK. I also wasn’t surprised by the fact that other readers of the SK commented on Deb’s recipe with modifications and adjustments they made to the recipe to suite their tastes. What was surprising was the sheer number of comments this recipe received – 454 at last count, spanning almost two years – and the number of different types of adjustments Deb’s readers made to the recipe.
So this got me thinking: what could be better than an infinitely moldable recipe? And you know, I couldn’t think of much. This recipe is superb for its taste, yes, but also for its flexibility. It’s bulletproof, people.
I, for example, made some big changes to the recipe. I used a combination of brown and granulated sugar instead of purely granulated sugar (actually, I used Splenda instead of granulated sugar…and voila! Success.), I used yogurt and applesauce instead of oil, I beat my egg whites before adding them to the batter to fluff up the cake a bit, and I baked this entire abomination of the original recipe in a bundt pan, rather than in a tube pan. And let me tell you, it was still. delicious.
What does all of this mean for you? It means that you can (and should!) modify this recipe to suite your tastes. If you want the original recipe, go see Deb. If you want to use mine, I reprinted it for you below (we’ll call mine a lower calorie version of Deb’s delectable original). Or do something entirely your own…just keep the flour, sugar quantities, and “oil” quantities (applesauce, yogurt, what have you) the same.
You could even play with the spices! Nutmeg, anyone? And the type of apples you use is completely up to you, although it is my opinion that a sweeter apple works swell. Heck, you could even use a mixture of varieties! The possibilities are endless.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Bulletproof Apple Coffee Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
My Rating: * * *
Hubby’s Rating: * * * ½
Yield: One tube pan cake, one bundt cake (with a small amount to spare), or two loaf pans
For the cake:
7 medium to large gala apples (or any other sweet apple for a sweet taste, or tart apples for a tang)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup applesauce (simply peel, core, and chop an apple and blend in a food processor until it reaches a saucy consistency)
½ cup plain Greek style yogurt (I use Chobani)
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
½ cup plus 5 tablespoons granulated sugar (or Splenda)
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly grease a tube pan, bundt pan, or two loaf pans.
Peel, core, and chop apples into chunks. Place the chunks into a large bowl and toss with the cinnamon and the 5 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Move the egg whites to a separate bowl. Clean and thoroughly dry the mixer bowl before replacing for the next step.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the applesauce, yogurt, orange juice, sugars, and vanilla until well combined. Add the egg yolks, one at a time (scraping down the bowl if necessary). Turn the mixer to a low speed and add the dry ingredients in increments, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. When all ingredients are incorporated, fold in the egg whites.
Pour at least a third of the batter into the prepared pan. Then spread half of the apples over the batter. If using a bundt pan, try to work the batter up the sides of the pan, creating a sort of tunnel, and add the apples to the tunnel. The cake will be easier to remove if few apples touch the sides of the pan (they tend to stick). Pour the remaining batter over the apples and then add the remaining apples to the top. Bake until a tester comes out clean.*
Cool the cake completely before removing it from the pan. I served the bundt cake upside down, with the apples on top. It looked lovely. You may also choose to serve it “right side up” with a dusting of powdered sugar.
*Baking times may vary considerably depending on the type of pan you use and whether your oven is particularly hot or less so. My bundt cake cooked in about 55 minutes. Deb from Smitten Kitchen recommends approximately 1 ½ hours for a tube pan. My loaf pan baked up in about 45 minutes. The moral of the story here: start checking for doneness early and check often. Err on the side of ever so slight underdoneness…the cake will continue to bake for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven, and this is not a cake that you want to dry out.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Bulletproof Apple Coffee Cake