The weather here in Pittsburgh has been weird. It’s in the low teens one day and the next day it’ll be 60F. My poor tulips outside don’t know whether to bloom or hibernate. I actually saw bunnies running around my yard. That is one thing that is NOT common in the winter here. I actually feel bad for this little buggers and almost want to bring them in the house to keep warm…almost. I’m not Sleeping Beauty and me and woodland creatures do not mix well together.
But what does mix well together is this apple crumb cake with a cup of coffee (or tea if you’re like me), some amazing friends around the kitchen table and just bs’ing about stuff. It’s what I call “Company Cake”. It’s simple and unpretentious, no frostings or fondant (yuck to that stuff btw!), no frilly adornments. Nope – just streusel topped (and filled… SURPRISE!), plus lots of apples.
As you go to make this cake you’ll see it doesn’t call for a lot of butter or oil yet when you slice it, the cake it so moist and tender. I have a trick to share with you that can allow you to add moisture and flavor but not much added fat.
So what’s the secret? Okay fine I’ll spill …. grated apples. No, not apple sauce but grated apples. They give you that natural sweetness but also give you that truly delicate crumb. The cake is heavy but when you take a bite, the cake just seems to melt in your mouth filling you with such incredible apple and streusel flavors. As we all know, applesauce is a great substitute in baking for oil when you need something dessert-ish but have to watch your diet.
This is one cake that certainly tied me over while I was out recovering from shoulder surgery. You see I love food. No, you don’t get it.. I LOVE TO EAT. Food to me is enjoyable and I am one that doesn’t deprive herself of good food. However I follow the mantra of “Everything in moderation”. Well that’s great when you actually do exercise. I mean you have to exercise and eat healthy if you do indulge every now and then. Well the thing is, when you’re not allowed to work out for ~8 weeks it’s tough to ‘stop’ indulging.
Having battled weight issues my entire life it’s a hard road. Even though I’m not really a sweet eater, I’m more a chips lover, I do like cake or brownies from time to time. Well it so happened that while I was on the mend I needed cake. With me, being me, I made a chocolate cake ahead of time and popped it in the freezer (un-frosted) just on the chance that I may want chocolate cake while I was still in a sling. As just like I expected, that craving hit so out of the freezer came that cake and I ended up topping it with some whipped chocolate ganache frosting. If you remember because Mr. Fantabulous LOVES ganache I always have to have a bowl of it in my fridge.
One-armed I frosted that cake with like a 1/2″ thick layer of whipped ganache. Honestly, it was every fat kids dream. Yeah, let’s just say that cake got demolished in like 8 days… ALL BY ME! Yes, I ate the entire cake. I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my life. To this day I’m blaming it on the pain meds.
So needless to say when you add an entire cake in 8 days with zero exercise the end results were not good. I truly pushed the limits of my yoga pants. Even Mr. Fantabulous commented that I looked like I put on some weight. Truth is… I did. Granted it was only a couple of pounds but with me my muscle turns to mega flubadub. Yeah this was unsettling. Naturally I got a bit down in the dumps about the added weight a I work so hard to lose it yet I still wanted sweets. It was honestly a struggle for me those 8 weeks I wasn’t allowed to work out.
And that’s where this cake kind of came into the picture.
If I cut back on the fats and didn’t eat the entire damn thing myself I could still have indulgence without as much guilt. There was a twinge still as I knew whatever I ate was going to go straight to my thighs and tummy. For me the key is working out. Plus even though I huff ‘n puff, sweat (no.. I sparkle TYVM) like it’s my job and am sore 2 days after my work out I love it. My body missed that endorphin rush; that euphoric high you get from your heart racing, your cheeks flushed and your hair stuck to your head from the sweat (er I mean sparkle juice).
Now for me the hardest part was peeling the apples then grating/chopping them one-armed but hey, a girl can totally McGuyver things up just to get her cake-fix. Mr. Fantabulous wasn’t home to help me otherwise he would. Actually he loves to help me with apples as he LOVES to eat the apple peels <gross!> What I love also about the cake is that there really isn’t a lot of sugar in the cake as most of the sweetness comes from the apples. With regards to the apples you can honestly use whatever ones you want. For the grated apples go with ones that are softer in texture as they will tend to ‘melt’ as they bake. For the chunks, you want a firmer apple. Since I wasn’t allowed to drive yet I went with the apples I had on hand. The outcome was awesome! I LOVED the very slight tartness the granny smith added to the cake. Again though you can use whatever you want.
With this cake I could easily also folded in the apple chunks and just put all of the streusel on top (because one can simply never have enough streusel) but I wanted a layered effect.
As for the glaze you can easily go with your standard confectioners’ sugar and cream (never milk, I only use cream) but I wanted to really apple-things-up and went with the apple cider glaze. It was so incredibly flavorful that it was the perfect complement to the cake. And yes it’s “complement” and not “compliment”. I actually just had to figure out the difference between the two – complement “completes” something were compliment adds praise to something. Huh… thank you google!
Now I will say that I had much help with this cake. Mr. Fantabulous came home and saw it on the table. His first reaction was not a good one. He was upset that I was up and about in the kitchen when I was supposed to be resting my shoulder. But he, just like you all, know me and that I’m *mildly* stubborn. Yes I said mildly…go with it. Let me have my delusions at least one more day. LOL His second reaction one I expected “What kind is that? Is it ready? Can I have some now?” LOL Ah there’s my baby. So while he made his coffee and grabbed the plates I grabbed a real knife. You’d think after 20 years together he knows I would never EVER allow anyone to cut a cake with a butter knife.
For him, his slice went into the microwave for 15 seconds as he loves warm cake; for me, mine went into my mouth. I don’t have time for no heating up. LOL At first bite he was in love but by bite 3 (which meant his slice was more than 1/2 way gone) he said this needs something… and out came the vanilla bean ice cream. Even though this cake isn’t a typical birthday cake it’s so worthy of ice cream and to be shared on a celebration… or a Wednesday night!
And now that I am finally allowed back to the gym that extra fluff I put on in those 8 weeks – well okay I gained maybe 3 pounds BUT I lost muscle and gained chub which is so bothering me BIG TIME, I can have my cake and eat it too (in moderation and not an entire cake in 8 days). If that ever happens again I’m just going to move into my gym! If you’ll excuse me I think I need to go apologize to my yoga pants for the torture they endured while I was on my gym hiatus.Print
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 8 Tbl butter, unsalted and melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbl butter, unsalted and softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups peeled apples, grated (I used gala and granny smith)
- 2 cups peeled apples, chopped small (I used gala and Fiji)
Apple Cider Glaze
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1-2 Tbl apple cider
- Preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle.
- Spray an 8” spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment.
- In a bowl make the crumb mixture by adding all of those ingredients and mixing with a fork until all ingredient are coated and you have chunks. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients of the cake – flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add in the butter and sugar. Start of on low and increase slowly to medium. Beat for 5 minutes.
- Reduce the speed on the mixer and add in the egg, sour cream and vanilla and mix just to combine.
- With the mixer running on low, slowly add in the dry cake ingredients in batches.
- When the last of the dry ingredients are in and barely mixed, shut off the mixer.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, scrape down the sides and dump in the grated apples.
- Gently fold in the apples.
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.
- Top with the chopped apples.
- Follow that with 1 cup of the streusel and the rest of the batter.
- Finish it off with the rest of the streusel.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean (a few crumbs are ok).
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once the cake is cool then remove it from the pan.
- Whisk together the glaze ingredients to desired consistency (I like mine thicker so I go with less liquid) and then drizzle over top the cake.