For baking, this recipe is fairly simple. The use of cranberry, apple, and cinnamon all together create some wonderful flavours, which fits perfectly for the holiday season.
This is my first dessert recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook, and I am glad it is so easy and straight forward. The cake batter is pretty rustic, and you don’t have to worry too much about drying out the cake, as the apple slices add a lot of moisture to the cake.
Since I let my mom stay at my place for her first winter in Canada, I have moved to my friend Morgan’s house. Morgan’s mom loves cooking, and she has a nice KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, which certainly beat the hell of the hand mixer that I have inherited from my friend Rick. A mixer is definitely a must-have you do a lot of baking at home. The mixing part of this cake was quite straight forward following the recipe.
Making the cake batter is quite simple – beat butter, sugar, and egg together in a mixer until the mixture is fluffy, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a big bowl and add those dry ingredients and milk alternatively to the mixer, and mix until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
The most elaborate part was cutting the apples into very thin slices. I might not have produced the slices with the thickness desired in the book, but I think I did an okay job. The apples I used was organic golden delicious from Whole Foods and they were amazing – I was tempted to just eat the whole apple after trying a few slices.
After inserting the apple slices and spreading the cranberries, I made cinnamon sugar and sprinkled it all over the top of the cake, and it already smelled wonderful!
The final product was incredible. Everyone loved it!
The sweet apples, the slightly dense cake, the tart cranberries, and the aromatic cinnamon fragrance – they were just all so perfect together. Although it is a Kuchen (“cake” in German), while eating it, it reminds me bits of different types of baked goods: apple pie, muffin, and cake. And most important thing is, this is sooooooo simple!
The cake can be made even before you start prepping for the other courses of the dinner. The hot cream sauce however, can be made 10 minutes before the cake is served, and it is very straight forward. If you prefer a lighter sauce, you can reduce the amount of the ingredients, or you could just skip the sauce and serve it with vanilla ice-cream and it is still uber delicious!
As the recipe in the book indicates that cranberries used on the cake could be replaced by blue berries, I think I might want to create a sweeter version. I will also use pears instead of apples, and as a fun experiment, I might also put lavender instead of cinnamon as well!
What do you think?
6 tbsp or 3 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus butter for the 9-inch cake pan
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
3 medium Golden Delicious apples, thinly sliced (1/4 inch wedges)
1 cup cranberries or blueberries
Cinnamon sugar: 1 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Hot Cream Sauce
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
8 tablespoons or 4 oz unsalted butter