Apple Yogurt Cake
I had two different things I wanted to accomplish on Thursday morning. 1) Though today’s temps missed the memo (thanks global warming for an 85-degree day … ), I wanted to make something fall-y to bring home with me this weekend. 2) I had some yogurt that I bought last week at the farmer’s market that I needed to finish before I left.
I’d never considered yogurt as a baking resource, so I was surprised to find so many recipes for yogurt cake, with berries, citrus fruits, apples, nuts — you name it. After browsing for days, I settled on this Epicurious recipe for Grandmother’s Apple Cake, mostly because it’s from the Van Gogh’s Table cookbook and I like to pretend that this means that Van Gogh’s grandmother baked this up while Vincent was painting. Riiight.
Since I was taking it home with me, I wanted something that would travel easy and taste just as fresh the next day. This recipe fit the bill, since it gets better the day after you make it. And coincidentally, the farmer’s market happened to be at Columbia on Thursday morning, so I could pick up fresh apples for the cake. Clearly, it was fate.
I made some changes to this recipe, as usual.
– 3 apples*, cored and peeled
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1-1/4 cups sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/3 cup vegetable oil
– 3 large eggs
– 2-3 tablespoons butter
– 2 tablespoons cinnamon
– 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
– 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple butter
*Though the recipe suggests Golden Delicious or Jonagold apples, I went with Ginger Golds. They have a little more tartness than the GDs, which I prefer. They’re a little smaller too, so I added a third apple to the recipe.
1) Peel and core the apples, and then coarsely chop them. I don’t have an apple corer, so after peeling, I just cut the apples into quarters and then cut the seeds off that way.
I was a little all over the place yesterday (okay, maybe a lot) and for whatever reason, decided not to follow the recipe in order. Instead of sauteeing the apples next, like the recipe states, I decided to mix the batter. Don’t ask me why, as it caused me much consternation later.
2) Whisk together the yogurt with the sugar.
3) Next, mix in the flour and baking soda. Then add the vegetable oil and eggs. Mix well until you have a smooth batter.
Sauteeing the apples: unless you want to worry about scrambled-egg-cake for the entirety of the baking process, follow the recipe and do this before making the batter.
4) Melt the butter on medium-high heat. Saute the apples until they’re golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and unsweetened apple butter, which I happened to have on hand (the recipe calls for Calvados, an apple brandy). It also uses less cinnamon, but I liked the extra spice in the end product, so I definitely recommend it.
5) Take the apples off the heat, and if you’re following the recipe, let them cool while you make the batter. If you’re me, freak out that they’re way too hot to put in the batter immediately, stick them in the fridge for 10 minutes, then panic again when they’re still pretty warm but stick them in the batter anyway and hope and pray that those chunks in your batter are pieces of apple and not scrambled eggs.
6) Bake the cake in a well-greased pan. The recipe says that an 8-inch round cake pan bakes at 350˚F in 45-55 minutes. I used a 9-inch x 9-inch baking dish and the cake baked up perfectly in 35.
The cake was moist, slightly sweet but mostly spicy — a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea. The only thing I might change the next time I make it is swapping either brown sugar, honey or even maple syrup for some of the sugar, but the cake had plenty of flavor without it. I haven’t tried it yet today, but I’m hoping it lives up to its billing as better the day after.
Note (from 9/25): Though I didn’t try it yesterday, this cake is much better two days after. It’s a little spicier, more moist and more apple-y — it’s like the pieces of apple have smushed their flavor into the cake itself. Yes, smushed is the technical term.