Apple Cake

Every fall, when the apples ripen, I make this cake.  In my opinion, it’s the quintessential apple cake.  Loaded with apples, spice, and a yummy crumb topping.  Eat it for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner!  Then once it’s gone, you can regret your life’s decisions and go for a walk.  Not that I would know anything about that.  Or maybe you should just make the cake, have company over, and share it.  Much less guilt involved.

I really want to love fall and the changing of the seasons, but it’s so hard.  I love the slightly cooler temps, the beautiful colors, and bounty that fall brings.  I love the open windows and apple orchards!  That said,  I am really not a fan of winter.  I think if it didn’t have to get dark so early, I might not hate it so much.  Well, and so cold.  And dead outside.   So I’m sorry Fall, it’s hard to love you.  You remind me winter is coming.  I don’t know why I’m even talking about this! It’s not even technically fall!  Oh yes.  That’s because here in the midwest,  we’ve had a cold snap and it feels like fall.  Usually in August the grass is torched, we have the a/c running, and the kids come home sweaty from school.  Not this year!  We are snuggled under blankets and the mornings have been crisp and cool. Although, next week we’re back to the 90’s and while I’ll probably be bummed I have to turn the a/c back on, maybe this fall-like weather is a good reminder to savor those last bits of summer.

Back to the cake.  The more tart varieties of apple really shine in this cake. It’s a pretty sweet cake and you can really taste the apple if you use something tart, like a Granny Smith, McIntosh, or Cortland.  If you end up with more than 2 cups of apples after dicing them up, go ahead and put them in the cake.  I’ve used up to 4 cups of apples with good results.  Sometimes it’s just hard to tell how much apple you’re working with until it’s all chopped up!  You can halve the recipe and put it in an 8×8 pan, but I honestly don’t see the point in that.   
Apple Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk*
2 cups apples, peeled, cored, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (about 4 small or 2 large apples)

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13 pan; set aside.  Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars at medium speed with electric mixer until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until incorporated.  Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Then stir in the apples.  Mix until just combined, don’t over mix.  Spread into prepared pan.

To make the topping; cut together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter with a pastry knife, until crumbly.   Stir in the pecans.  Scatter evenly over the cake batter.

Bake at 350° about 50 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool slightly before devouring.

*I hardly ever buy buttermilk; you can substitute by putting 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup, fill it to the 1 cup mark with milk, then let it sit for 5 minutes.

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