Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dinner Train: Anne of Green Gables - Upside Down Baked Apple Cake

Upside Down (but oh-so-right) Baked Apple Cake
Anne Shirley has a fondness for apples.  Anne Shirley likes to walk through orchards (and talk to apple trees).  Surely, I felt it was only appropriate to make something with apples.  Like Anne, I also like apples, but way less passionately.  But I like baked apple things best.  Additionally, this one time, Anne fell upside down off a roof that one time at schoolcamp (don't walk on the roof, duh).   Naturally, I felt it was only in good form to create a cake that incorporated the best of Anne and moi.  And also, I decided not to give my lactose intolerant guests reason to break a slate over my head on a mad dash to the bathroom...so I settled on tweaking Amy Traverso's Lowfat Gingerbread Applesauce Cake recipe from her cookbook, The Apple Lover's Cookbook.  The result was prettttty darn tasty.  And also 100% dairy free!  (Unless of course you choose to celebrate Anne's love of ice cream, like I did).

You too can dedicate your entire
kitchen countertop to the
creation of this cake.
A few things to note, however.  The first is that I think there is a typo in The Apple Lover's Cookbook recipe for the cake base here; it tells you to use the baking soda in both step 2 and 3, but only describes it in step 2; I erred on the side of descriptive chemical reaction and used it all there.  Maybe you're supposed to split it...maybe not?  Only Amy knows!  It seemed to turn out fine, so perhaps it is a moot point.  Second:  the cook time needed to be extended about 30 minutes when I added the baked apple component to this recipe.   Thirdly, I used blackstrap molasses instead of light or medium molasses, which makes the cake slightly less sweet, I think, which worked well because the added apples and sugar from the baked apple part are quite sugary.  Really, I just didn't want to get another jar of molasses when I already had some in the cabinet.  Fourthly, I forced myself to give most of the cake away to my guests; it is the kind of good that means I know I'd find myself standing in the refrigerator door intending to take out a piece, warm it up, and then eat it...only to have three pieces disappear before one makes it into the microwave.  That good.  Anne of Green Gables cake, unlike Count of Monte Cristo cake, is a dish best served warm.  Because bosoms (friends) are warm, you guys.

Upside Down Baked Apple Cake
based on Amy Traverso's Lowfat Gingerbread Applesauce Cake recipe in The Apple Lover's Cookbook
Upside Down (but oh-so-right) Baked Apple Cake


Baked Apple layer:
2 Braeburn apples, peeled, cored, diced
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Upside Down Cake layer:
1 cup natural applesauce
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 cup cake flour (plus some to coat your pan)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Steps to delicious:

1.  Let's make some baked apple layer mess! Mix your apples, granulated sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and your lemon juice in a bowl.  Stir to coat the apples, and then...just leave it until you need it.

2.  Preheat your oven to 325.  I think you can do this without photo instruction.

3.  In a saucepan, bring your applesauce to a simmer over medium high heat.  When it reaches this point, take the heat away, but add molasses and stir.  Then add baking soda and stir.  This will create a fun science fairesque chemical reaction! Food science, fun for everyone!  Make sure it's all stirred in, and then let it sit and cool.  You have other things to do.
Food Science Adventure Step One:
Combine hot applesauce and molasses.

Food Science Adventure Step Two:
Add baking soda, stir, pause, cackle. 

Food Science Adventure Step 3:
CACKLE.  Rub hands together vigorously while watching your potion bubble.
Get bored, move onto other evil deeds (aka let your mixture cool)

If done correctly, your science experiment will get bored, and just stop bubbling eventually.
If you get lucky, perhaps yours too will have a mini geiser!
4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients from flour to salt on the ingredients list.

5.  In another bowl, whisk together your eggs and granulated sugar.  You want to get it to a thick, light yellow, well incorporated color.  If you are a badass like me, you can use a whisk and whip, whip, whip your biceps into shape.  If you be sissy, use a hand or stand mixer.  It should take a few minutes either way, so be patient.  When you reach this point, drizzle the oil in, while whisking to incorporate well.
This is what not done looks like.
This is what done looks like.

6.  Alternate mixing the egg mix and the molasses mixture into the flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, getting it as well mixed as possible.  It will get easier the more you add, eventually becoming very wet and smooth; you know, like cake batter.
7.  In a prepared 8x8 glass or metal pan (meaning spray it if it's not nonstick, and dust it with some flour), first pour your apple mix.  You may need to shake it to get it to distribute evenly.  Pour your cake batter over this, gently shaking if necessary to distribute and cover all the apples.

Let's make some upside down cake!
Just some apples trying to escape their date with my mouth. 

8.  Bake for approximately 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours until the cake is firm and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Serve hot, like Anne's denial of her love for Gilbert.  It helps if you want to, say, turn your upside down cake upside down.  I forgot to, but I'm pretty sure it tasted the same.  Ice cream is a good addition!

So...this is a terrible picture.  ENJOY.

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