Summer has officially turned to fall and farmers markets are bursting with produce, so much produce you don’t know what to do with it all. But you want it all: squash in their myriad forms and shades of orange; sweet, gnarly parsnips and rutabaga; big bulbous cauliflower in purple and yellow. Late-harvest tomatoes in big baskets can be had at a good price for putting up tomato sauce. And now’s the time to get onions and potatoes for storage in the root cellar, or whatever passes for a root cellar these days.
I’m also seduced by the many varieties of apples – crisp, tasty apples with fun names like Snow, Winesap, and Ambrosia. While visiting friends in Nova Scotia recently, I found Gravensteins – nicknamed “Gravs” – for sale at Bob & The Boys Farm Market along the Trans Canada Highway at Hebb’s Cross, Lunenburg County and bought some for my Mom, who grew up on a fruit and dairy farm just over the way in the Annapolis Valley and fondly remembers heading down to the orchard after school to eat her fill. She also remembers Asterkin apples, but I’ve yet to see those anywhere.
Back home in Ottawa, Mom couldn’t eat them all so shared them with me. I debated what to do with them – apple pie? apple crisp? – and then remembered this recipe for a delicious German Apple Cake from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson.
If you’re looking for an apple dessert to whip up in a hurry, this lemon-scented butter cake should do the trick. Author Julie Richardson suggests scoring the apple slices to help ensure that they are tender by the time the cake is done. The slices are then nestled into the batter, which puffs up ever so slightly around them. A sprinkling of turbinado sugar before the cake goes into the oven adds a nice texture. Serve this with a dollop of whipped cream, and you can’t go wrong.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 6 or 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round baking pan.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Using a hand-held mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, 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 tine, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the batter 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 one slice in the center. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the cake and bake for about 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 not to worry; it is just the moisture from the apples.
- Storage: Wrapped in plastic wrap, this cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
- Serves: 6 to 10.