Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday Baking

I haven't baked a single holiday cookie this year. I know, Christmas is only a few days away... I baked an apple cake though, I hope it counts. Things are still very busy around here, between a full time job, family, a 6-month-old baby, and holiday shopping, there is very little time for everything else. I hope I will bake some cookies this year -- maybe on Christmas eve. I baked the apple cake because my husband is a big fan of apples. However he buys more than he can eat and we often throw apples out. I try very hard to buy only what we can consume and avoid wasting food. We had apples lying around and I knew they would go bad soon if I didn't take action, so I went ahead and baked a cake. It's a very easy recipe and it tastes great. The cake is so moist that tasted like bread pudding.

Upside-Down Brown Sugar Apple Cake

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced apples (about 3 small apples)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the sides of a 9-inch cake pan.
Combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and boil 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the apples all over and press them down slightly to level them.
To make the cake, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, and beat 10 seconds. Pour in the milk and beat just until the batter is evenly moistened, about 1 minute. Spoon the batter over the apples and smooth the top.
Bake 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out dry. Run a knife along the outer edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place a plate over the cake, then flip it over to invert the cake onto the plate. Let the cake cool completely before serving.


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