The apple-related festivities yesterday continued as I made a brandy apple cake using Sparks’ dried apple slices.
Packed full of almond meal, whole wheat flour, and fruit, it’s easy to almost convince yourself that this is health food… except that it tastes so very nice, and the SMELL as it bakes is the most amazing thing I’ve ever smelled. It’s better than IKEA cinnamon rolls… and that’s saying a lot.
This is the third fall that Sparks and I have spent together, and the third fall that he has dried apple slices. We have worked through the apples from our own little orchard, and are now taking some in from friends. Here is the dehydrator all loaded up, ready to be turned on. Sparks soaked this batch of slices in a very weak solution of sodium metabisulfite, a preservative used in winemaking, which stopped them from turning brown.
This cake is actually the same as the almond pear cake I made last fall, but since it was a bad year for pears, I adapted. I have by now changed this recipe so substantially from the original that I feel comfortable putting the recipe here. So without further ado (and noting that Sparks and I both prefer the pear version, in which the grainy pears disappear into the grainy almondy cake, resulting in something magical):
Brandy Almond Cake
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried apple or pear slices
3 T brandy
Cut fruit into small pieces and soak in the brandy for at least an hour before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In your mixer, cream
150 grams (about 1 stick plus 3 T) butter
125 grams white sugar (measure using your kitchen scale)
75 grams whole wheat flour
75 grams almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill makes this)
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
Mix until combined. Add fruit and any brandy remaining in bowl.
Scrape batter into one 8″ cake tin and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Turn out onto a cooling rack and wait as long as you can stand before tasting. This is the kind of dense cake that gets better with age.