Over Pumpkin Everything? There’s Always Apple Butter Cake!

Over Pumpkin Everything? There’s Always Apple Butter Cake!

Every October, there’s things you gotta do, places you gotta visit, and most definitely stuff you gotta eat! If you’ve got pumpkin fatigue, that’s good, because the autumnal dessert I’m all excited about, is an apple butter cake. This dish has a beautiful back story; it’s from one of my favorite fall festivals up in the North Carolina mountains.

The annual Valle Country Fair is held in October in a little town called Valle Crucis. Featured is their home churned apple butter – a jar of which you’ll see in this blog’s photos. You MUST arrive early, stand in line and ask politely for more than one jar per customer. Like my company name, WORTH IT, it’s definitely worth it to do so. The apple butter is sooooo good… the smell of spiced, simmering apples wafts for counties! I was indeed the early bird this year and managed to grab an extra jar before the crowds drifted in. This cake is my ode to apple butter.

 

Apple Butter Cake

With Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves a crowd

60 Minute Cuisine

For the cake pictured here:

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 2 sticks

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 ½ cups apple butter

 

For the frosting you’ll be tempted to eat before it’s ready:

 

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 cups cream cheese, room temperature, 2 8-ounces packages

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 stick

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 tablespoons milk (as need to thin frosting)

1 cup walnuts, chopped

When the frosting is all whipped up, it looks like this:

Here are the baking instructions – I hope there’s room on a counter top that looks like mine, in the delicious wake of making apple butter cake!

Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat two 9 x 9-inch (you can certainly change the size of the pan if you choose) cake pans with vegetable oil spray. Place a layer of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan and coat the paper.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine 1 cup butter with both brown and granulated sugars until fluffy. Mix in the eggs. Pour in 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by ½ cup of the apple butter. Mix well and continue alternating ingredients until all the flour and apple butter are mixed into the batter. Spread the batter into the two pans. Bake until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully invert the cakes onto a rack. Remove the parchment paper and cool the cakes completely.

Use an electric mixer to combine confectioners’ sugar with the cream cheese, ½ cup butter and the vanilla until smooth and creamy. You can mix in a teaspoon or two of milk to get the consistency that you prefer for frosting. Place one cake onto your serving platter. Slather the cake with frosting. Top with the remaining cake. Cover the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top of the cake with chopped walnuts.

Farmers Market Tip

Mark your calendar for a fall excursion and plan to visit the Valle Country Fair. All the proceeds of the fair go to local charities. Check it out at http://www.vallecountryfair.org/ . Look for this jar of awesomeness:

 

Cook’s Tip

If you are feeling like a “Top Chef Baker”, you can make this a four layer cake! The simplest way to separate each cake into two halves is to take a piece of thread and wrap it around the cake horizontally keeping the tread in the middle of each side of the cake. Now, simple pull each end of the thread toward you and you have split the cake in half. Now spread on that frosting and keep layering.

I REALLY HOPE YOU MAKE IT – YUMMMM!!!!

 

 

 

A Tale of Blueberry Sleeve Cake

A Tale of Blueberry Sleeve Cake

See that iced coffee sweating in the carafe? Yep… that’s late August in Florida

With this many years in cooking and catering—and please don’t ask how many—I often get this type of question: “Jorj, what would YOU bring to an event like ______ (fill in the blank).” I have to say that most people who approach me for advice in the “provisions” department have unique circumstances; for example, it is an outdoor event and they are worried how the food will hold up, or they are going to a party full of people with special dietary needs.

In the most recent case, it was a volunteer event on a blisteringly hot day in Florida. Everyone was going to be gardening!  While I would happily have steered my friend toward pastry from one of my books like Sunday Best Dishes, her gardening party was on a Sunday after all, I have shared her zip code in Florida and the heat this time of year there is UNREAL. When you work outside there are bugs to contend with and a perspiration problem that even a hundred and ten tons of Gatorade cannot cure, not to mention close to 100% humidity—these are definitely conditions where an extremely detailed, painstaking cake recipe just would not be appreciated….soooooo, I passed down a very basic blueberry cake recipe and recommended she cut slabs of cake placing them in their own portable sleeves: like clean coffee filters! I am told the volunteers at the Coral Springs Community Garden liked the cake, and it seemed to make them smile more than the Dunkin Donuts that the ants were also fighting over that day!

his recipe produces one loaf per ½ pint of blueberries—while blueberries are best April through September in places like Maine, we can enjoy them year round, thanks to imports from Chile and Argentina. I checked the facts at the Blueberry Council!

Enjoy and take this to your next outdoor party!


Blueberry Sleeve Cake

Serving size: 1 loaf / serves 6
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chilled butter
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup blueberries

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. You can use your electric mixer if you wish but mixing by hand works, too.

In a separate bowl, mix half and half and the egg; fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the blueberries and stir well, using a large spoon or spatula.

Coat a loaf pan with vegetable oil spray and pour in the batter. Bake for 30 minutes until the top of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean.