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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pretend The Fruit Makes it Healthy!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you sick of the fall posts yet? Today we're using fall fruits to create delightfully moist cakes - so who can complain about that? This post's inspiration comes from a delicious apple crumb cake I made last week (I was craving cake - we can blame the pregnancy, but let's be honest; I always crave cake). The great thing about fruit-filled cakes is that you don't need to buy more than 1-2 pieces of fruit (though if you're like me, and just went apple picking, 2 of 25 apples doesn't really make a dent...). At any rate, I've compiled a few recipes that'll help you get a little serving of those healthy fruits from the (former) food pyramid, while wrapped in an unhealthy, sugary coat.

Pear Crumb Cake
Melissa Clark

  • 1 tablespoon/14 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters honey
  • 2 small or 1 1/2 large pears, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
Crumb Topping:
  • 1 ⅓ cups/165 grams all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup/65 grams dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ⅓ cup/65 grams light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon/8 grams groundcinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon/2 grams groundallspice
  • ¼ teaspoon/1 gram fine sea salt
  • 1 stick/113 grams unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon/133 milliliters sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon/15 milliliters vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups/185 grams all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup/150 grams granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon/3 grams baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon/2 grams baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon/3 grams fine sea salt
  • 1 stick/113 grams softenedunsalted butter, cut into pieces
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan; line with parchment paper and butter the paper.
  2. In a skillet, melt butter and honey. Add pears, lemons juice, nutmeg, zest and salt and sauté until the pears are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool.
  3. For the topping, whisk together flour, sugars, spices and salt in a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir until crumbs form.
  4. Whisk together sour cream, eggs and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add softened butter and beat for 10 seconds to combine. Beat in egg mixture, continuing to beat until very smooth.
  5. Pour batter into pan and top with the pear slices, spreading them out evenly (if there is liquid in the pan with the pears, don’t add it). Use your fingers to squeeze together large crumbs from the topping and scatter evenly on top of pears.
  6. Bake for 50 to 65 minutes, until the cake is set and the center springs back when very gently pressed with a finger. A cake tester may come out with crumbs attached, but it shouldn’t be wet. Transfer cake to a wire rack and cool completely, at least 2 hours before serving. Cake can be made a day ahead.

Old-Fashioned Banana Cake
Ina Garten

  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Walnut halves, for decorating (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (1/2 pound)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the bananas, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on low speed until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.
  4. Spread the frosting thickly on the top of the cake and decorate with walnut halves, if using.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Mix the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don't whip! Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Yield: frosting for one 9-inch cake.

Marie-Helene's Apple Cake
Dorie Greenspan

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  3. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they're foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it's coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it's evenish.
  5. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it's fully opened, make sure there aren't any apples stuck to it.) Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
  1. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène's served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.
  1. The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature and, according to my husband, gets more comforting with each passing day. However long you keep the cake, it's best not to cover it - it's too moist. Leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.

Happy baking!

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