I'm particularly drawn to apples this autumn -- the incredible heirloom apples from our favorite upstate farm stand may be the reason. Ashmead's Kernel, Newtown Pippin, Kid's Orange Red, and Pink Pearl -- even the names are delicious at Montgomery Place Orchard.
Right now, half of the refrigerator is filled with apples ready to be baked, caramelized, sauced, and more. I have been experimenting with several recipes, but here's the first, a simple snack cake. Not too sweet, apple essence in every bite, and paired with classic spices, these individual treats are excellent for anytime of the day.
Spiced Apple Snack Cakes
yield: 18-20 cakes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or your favorite apples , medium-large, peeled and cored, cut into 1/4-inch dice2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over high heat until golden. Add apples, cover for 30 seconds. Remove lid and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they are dry and very tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle apples with 2 tablespoons sugar, and lightly toss until glazed. Cool to room temperature.
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) walnuts, finely chopped
1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350℉. Line two standard muffin tins with paper liner and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add flour, sugars, i teaspoon cinnamon, cardamom and salt; beat on low speed until combined. Add butter, increase speed to medium and beat until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 30-40 seconds. Remove 1 cup of mixture (crumb topping) to a separate bowl.
3. Whisk remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda into mixture, beat on medium speed for 30 sec to combine. Add coconut milk, egg, and vanilla; beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Remove mixing bowl and fold in apples by hand with a rubber spatula, fill cupcake liners to 3/4 full.
4. Add walnuts to reserved crumb topping; toss to combine. Sprinkle crumb topping over batter, pressing lightly so that mixture adheres. Bake until center is firm and cake tester comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to rack; and cool for 30 minutes before serving.