I always enjoy baking, but I enjoy it most during the fall and winter months. There’s something about the way the smell of the spices so prevalent in fall recipes just permeates the air around me and everyone comments on how lovely the house smells. And what nicer treat is there than to come home to a hot cup of tea and a slice of delicious cake? For me, it’s what the cooler months are all about. Returning to the hearth and home, welcoming visitors, sharing hospitality, the sound of laughter tinkling round us as the nights draw in. No matter what the weather might be like outside, inside it’s warm, welcoming and comforting.
I first blogged this cake some time ago and and it is one of the recipes that was too old to make the transfer to the redesigned site. Actually, that was no bad thing as in the process of re-blogging it, I made some adjustments. Three thoroughly tested cakes later (huge thanks to my friends, neighbours and the folks at my husband’s office), this is the even more delicious result. And this is why Martha Stewart’s comments about bloggers offended me so much. I work at my recipes and make things several times before I blog them. I may not have a test kitchen or the staff, but my recipes are well and truly tested by ordinary people who love food and cooking.
Sorry, rant over. I need to tell you about the cake batter. It’s quite thick and stiff but don’t let that alarm you. The moisture from the apples is released as the cake is baked and it comes out of the oven gloriously tender. You do need to dollop the batter into the Bundt pan quite firmly though, spreading it with a knife to make sure it is evenly distributed.
You don’t have to glaze this cake if you don’t want to. It’s perfectly delicious just as it is, but it looks a little bit naked.
Having said that, it’s nothing a dusting of confectioner’s sugar won’t fix. The glaze does make the cake extra special though.
I call for mixed spice in this recipe, something that isn’t always available in North America. You can make your own quite easily if it isn’t available where you are. (The recipe I’ve linked to contains the spice mace, which isn’t listed on the ingredients in the mixed spice I use. I’d recommend leaving it out if you do try making your own.)
This is one of those wonderful cakes that seems to get better the longer you keep it. Unglazed it will keep for several days covered at room temperature, but even with the glaze I’ve kept it for up to four days very successfully. The flavours deepen as the days wear on and the cake becomes even more moist and delicious.
- 3 medium apples
- the juice and finely grated rind of one lemon
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- generous pinch of salt
- ½ cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup milk (buttermilk if possible)
- For the glaze:
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
- 4 to 5 tablespoons maple syrup (you may need slightly less or more)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Grease a large Bundt pan.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into a medium bowl.
- Peel, core and finely chop the apples, putting them into the lemon juice as they are chopped to prevent browning.
- Stir the lemon rind into the apples and set aside.
- Cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and add it to the creamed mixture in two additions, beating the flour in thoroughly after each addition. The batter will be very thick at this point.
- Mix in the milk.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir the apples, lemon juice, rind and pecans into the batter until the apples and pecans are fairly evenly distributed. Again, the batter will be quite thick.
- Transfer the batter to the Bundt pan. You will need to encourage it in, spreading it with a knife so that the batter is evenly distributed and the top is relatively smooth.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for twenty minutes and then remove the cake and cool completely on a wire rack.
- When the cake is completely cooked, make the glaze.
- Whisk the maple syrup gradually into the confectioner's sugar until a drizzle-able glazing consistency is reached.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cake, allowing it to dribble down the sides.
- Let the glaze sit for at least a half an hour to set before slicing the cake.
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