Fall’s officially here, let the baking begin!
Apple and cranberry is such a classic New England combo when it comes to Autumn desserts.
This cake gets a double apple punch from fresh apple cider and sliced apples. We always hit Brooksby Farm a couple of times a year to go apple picking. (If you live in the Boston area, I definitely recommend them. Beautiful orchard, usually not super crowded.) Check out my pics here.
Whole cranberries add gorgeous color and a little tang. The cake gets a little earthiness from chopped walnuts. The generous amount of fruit makes this a moist, dense, rustic cake.
Ground ginger and cinnamon add a little spice. (Double the amount of ginger for extra zing.)
This is one seriously versatile cake
Personally, I like to toast a fat wedge, slather it with cold butter, and have it for breakfast with a steaming cup of tea.
For a fancier, dessert-type cake, double the recipe to make two layers, then fill and frost with maple buttercream. Or, serve slices at brunch topped with homemade cinnamon ice cream.
I’ll bet you could even crumble it up, dry it out a little, and use it as stuffing for a chicken or turkey. (Warning: I haven’t tried this. Let me know if you get there before I do…)
At any rate, you get the idea.
Alrighty, to the ovens!
Apple Cider Cake with Cranberries and Walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tbls. butter, softened
3/4 cup fresh apple cider
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup fresh apples, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 1 large apple)
1 cup whole cranberries
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Makes 1 9-inch cake
1. Make the batter
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Peel the apple and cut it up into small chunks.
I’m very imprecise about this because it’s a rustic cake. If you like, whack your peeled apple in half, core it, and cut into even slices. Either way will work.
Cut the butter into pieces. Toss it into the bowl of your mixer (or a large mixing bowl if beating by hand) with the sugar. Beat until well combined,then toss in the egg and beat to incorporate.
Add the cider. Beat until uniform. It will look a little grainy. That’s just fine.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
Beat until *just* uniform. (Too much beating will make your batter develop gluten, which will make it tough.)
Add the chopped apple, cranberries, and walnuts. I keep my cranberries in the freezer. You can toss them in directly without thawing. That’s just fine.
Beat quickly until just incorporated.
2. Bake the cake
Lightly grease your cake pan and line with a round of parchment paper. (The parchment will make it very easy to get out of the pan later on.) Spoon the batter into the pan. Spread it around to even it out.
Pop into your preheated 375-degree oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
When it’s done, the cake will pull away from the edges of the pan slightly and will be golden brown on top. When you press on the top lightly with a finger, the cake should spring back. And, when you insert a toothpick in the middle, it should come out clean.
3. Cool, slice and enjoy!
Cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out and cool completely on a rack before slicing. Enjoy!