I am looking forward to the changing of the seasons once again. I grew up in Southern California, and there really was not much ado about the changing of the seasons, but in Colorado it is pretty evident and spectacular, nothing like it is in New England, but still pretty darn good all the same. Here in Denver, the weather is already starting to make some subtle little changes. Daytime temperatures are much cooler than they have been during the heat of summer; the nights have a bit of a cool crispness to them; the sun is beginning to go down earlier each night; and the colors are beginning to change ever so slightly. My favorite season of the year, fall or autumn as some call it, is just around the corner. We Americans have a hard-core love of all things apple, and the apple orchards are almost at their peak, which means it will soon be apple season too. Soon houses everywhere will be filled with the warm scents of apples, cinnamon and pumpkin, as well as all the rest of the fabulous scents of the season. Cooking with apples is most definitely a fall tradition, and I am already getting a jump start on that. We are having a small get together later tonight, and one of the dishes I made was an apple spice streussel cake.
Gathering all my ingredients for my cake. In culinary terms, this is called mis-en-place, or getting everything needed and ready to use.
Making the streusel. I used streusel both as a filling and for the topping.
Cooking the apples until they are soft and tender in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Once the streussel is made and the apples are cooked, it is time to make the cake. Just like with most recipes for baking, mix your dry ingredients together in one bowl, and the wet ingredients separately, then combine them together. Once everything is ready and prepared, it is time to assemble the cake. I followed the recipe and tried my best to layer the ingredients as they recommended, but that did not work out so well because my batter was not spreading out like it should and was definitely not cooperating as it supposed to. What I should have done was fold the apple-cinnamon mixture into the batter, then add a layer of streussel filling so it would run through the middle of my cake like a ribbon. I attempted to put a layer of batter, then the streusel, then apples, then more batter. Instead, I just ended up blending it all together and then adding the streussel on top. The taste will still be the same. The only difference will be in the presentation, and I don’t think people are going to be terribly concerned about that. They will be more focused on the taste, as they should be.
Ready to bake.
Once the cake has cooled completely, I removed it from my springform cake pan, and made the apple icing to drizzle on top.
Apple Spice Streussel Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (or if you have it 1 tsp of apple pie spice rather than using all these different spices)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
Mix all the dry ingredients together and add the melted butter. Using a fork, mash everything up together until it is crumbly. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350* F
Spray an 8-8 1/2″ cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2 cups apples, peeled and diced small (about 2 medium-sized apples. I used gala apples, because they are my favorite, but you can use your favorite type of apple as well. There are certain types that lend themselves better to baking than others, but in the end, it really is a matter of choice.)
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk (I always use the powdered buttermilk mixed with milk, but if you prefer regular buttermilk, that’s fine too)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Cook the apples in the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon for about five minutes or until the apples are soft and tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Mix the rest of the dry ingredients together and set aside. Whisk the egg, buttermilk, vanilla and butter together then add to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the cooked apples into the batter. Add half the batter to the prepared cake pan, then add about half the streussel, and repeat, finishing with the rest of the streussel on top.
Bake at 350* F for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the streussel topping is golden brown and slightly crusty.
Once the cake has completely cooled, remove it from the cake pan and drizzle the apple spice icing over the cake in a random pattern.
Apple Spice Icing
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP apple juice, or apple cider or milk
Mix everything together. If your icing is too runny, add more powdered sugar to thicken it up, as needed.