German Apple Cake

After a hiatus from baking (after the holiday’s both my and Jason’s pants were starting to fit a little snug, oops!) I reintroduced myself to my large -ish larder of flour, sugar, salt, and other baking goodies and necessities (*sigh* coming home always feels good).  During my break I browsed the food blog-o-sphere more than normal, and spent a good deal of time rifling through the yummy recipes shown at Honey & Jam.   This apple cake recipe caught the attention of the minimalist in me. It is simple, rustic, and (as Mim said) “perfumed” lightly with an earthy lemon bite.  Perfect for a Monday night dessert with a cup of Coffee Emporium Winter Solstice decaf coffee!

Up until this point I’ll admit that I undervalued the Lemon as an ingredient.  My only real contact with lemons was through lemonade (which I love), lemon meringue pie (which I also love, but which usually comes from some sort of jello mix), and too much lemon being squeezed on fish, salad, or something else best left to its own juices and subtle, if not understated, flavors. This lemon played off of the apples in a very mellow way.  The first bite was definitely a surge of lemon, which then faded into dense cake, allowing the apple to come through.  Love it!

* I didn’t have turbinado sugar on hand, so I sprinkled a small amount of white, granulated sugar on top of the apples right before putting the cake in the oven*

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 6 pieces
2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 inch round baking pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on a low-speed just until incorporated. Pour (more like spoon, it will be very thick) into the prepared pan.

Score the peeled side of the apples with the tines of a fork and arrange the apples atop the batter around the perimeter with 1 slice in the middle (I cut each large slice into 3-4 small slices)

Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sometimes the batter around the apples looks slightly underdone, but don’t worry; it’s just the moisture from the apples.