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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Apple & Honey Cake

It's apple season! Buh-bye strawberries, hello Macs...
My good friends Sara and Kiran are leaving town and heading back to DC (excuse me while I sob a little) and we're off to their house in JP for one last dinner together. Their house is all packed up so we're bringing the goods. I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and thought it was beautiful. Topped with some homemade cinnamon ice cream, it's the perfect fall dessert.

4 tiny-to-small apples, halved, peeled and cored
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 stick plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 good pinches of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup honey
A good pinch of sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9-inch springform with butter.

2. Prepare apples: Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices, but only cut halfway through each apple so that the apples stay intact. If you cut through, no biggie - you can reassemble the halves on the cake in a few minutes. In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

3. Prepare cake base: Beat butter and 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar together in a bowl until fluffy. Add honey and beat until combined. Add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear. Add flour, half at a time, mixing only until just combined.

4. In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/4 of them into the cake batter, to lighten it a little. Fold in the rest in three additions. Only fold the last addition of egg whites until it has mostly disappeared (a couple faint streaks of egg white are fine).

5. Spread cake batter in prepared cake pan, smoothing the top. Arrange apple halves facedown over the cake batter.No need to press the apples into the batter.

6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then cut around the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan at all, and unhinge the sides. Let cake cool completely. Before serving, warm 1/4 cup honey and a good pinch of sea salt until it liquefies to the point where it makes a thin glaze — this will take less than 30 seconds. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake.

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