Simple Boozy Apple Cake
It’s fall! The leaves are turning and that means it is also apple season. Little did we know when we moved here last year that we would be in the middle of apple country. There are many apple orchards within a 15 minute drive of our house and if you expand that radius, the number of orchards just keeps multiplying. We are not strangers to pick your own apples, having gone every year for almost 20 years now. However, we’ve never been this spoilt for choice for apple orchards. As a result, the boys and I are on an unofficial mission to visit as many apple farms as we can so we can better assess our favorite.
So far, we’ve gone to two.
Ok, that’s not exactly fulfilling the mission, but, unfortunately, we also have to get some work done around here sometimes. Sigh.
Anyway, the benefit to going more frequently is that we do not feel the need to pick a whole season’s apples all in one go. So, we have been picking one basket at a time. This means that our apples are always fresh! What a bonus!
There is nothing like eating a fresh picked apple. They are crisp and juicy and scrumptious. We easily ate through over half of our first basket before I even started thinking about baking anything.
And when I started baking, I naturally turned to cake first.
Now, apple cake and I have a rocky relationship. I love the idea of apple cake, but often do not like the reality of apple cake. It can often be very moist, almost soggy, and they have notoriously long bake times, which can make them hard to judge doneness. They are also often really yummy warm and eaten the day they are baked, but as the days go by, they get soggier and wetter.
That soggy cake texture has never been appealing to me. I wanted a cake that was moist, but able to hold up for a few days without becoming pasty. And I also wanted a cake that would take a fair amount of apples. After all, at this time of year, I am usually trying to use up as many apples as possible before they go bad on the counter. I didn’t want to make a cake that would just use one apple.
After several tries, I think I finally have a cake recipe that accomplishes all those things. And it has booze in it as well.
Plus, the recipe is pretty easy; no mixer necessary. The hardest part is chopping up the apples. And, I have included a little bit of whole wheat, so it’s also good for you!
It is especially good with salted caramel slathered on top of it.
What’s not to like?
Simple Boozy Apple Cake
makes one 9 inch square cake
You can use any kind of booze in this cake. I tried both Smoked Maple Bourbon and a lighter apple Liquor that I had. Both were good, though the apple Liquor one was a much lower proof, which made it almost imperceptible in the finished cake. If you don’t want to use booze, you can also use the same amount of orange juice or apple juice/cider. I also topped my cakes with a glaze of Smoked Maple Bourbon Caramel sauce. Very yummy and I highly recommend this addition. You can find the recipe here. The caramel sauce can be made up to a week in advance and kept in the fridge.
4 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and diced, about 16-18 ounces after dicing
1/4 cup (2 ounces) bourbon, rum, hard cider, or apple liquor
1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce) lemon juice
1 and 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (option, but very good)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, melted and cooled
Butter and flour a nine inch square cake pan or spray with a nonstick spray with flour added.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the apples, booze, and lemon juice in a medium bowl.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, lemon zest, and butter until slightly lighter in color. Whisk in the eggs until well combined and light. This will take about a minute.
Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. It will be very dry. Do not try to get all the flour mixed in. There should still be a few spots of flour when you stop (see photos above).
Add the apples and all the liquid in the bowl to the batter. Stir with the spatula until the batter smoothes out. Scrape into your prepared pan and level it with your spatula.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake will be golden brown and a toothpick or tester should come out clean.
Let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before glazing with caramel sauce and eating. The cake will keep for up to three days at room temperature, covered. It will get moister as the days pass, but should not get soggy. Enjoy!