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Posts tagged ‘autumn desserts’

Apple Cake With Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting


Continuing my homage to the apple, the quintessential harbinger of Autumn I made an apple cake. I have been making this cake for many years and it never fails, I found it years ago while watching an episode of Martha Stewarts show on Food Network.  The cake is moist and rustic in texture, loaded with apples and warm autumn spices. Sometimes I use a cream cheese frosting but this time I made the frosting that is featured in the recipe on Martha Stewarts site. The frosting is gently sweet, buttery and has a lovely caramel flavor that comes from using brown sugar instead of granulated.

I really love this cake, it couldn’t be easier to make, no mixer required. The recipe calls for grated and diced apples but I like to use homemade applesauce, I make it in the oven, peel and quarter 4 apples, add a splash of apple cider, cover and bake for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft. Let them cool and mash with a fork. I prefer using applesauce rather than grating apples, the cake has some small pieces of apples and a balanced apple flavor. I think the buttercream is good but I prefer the cream cheese frosting,  it’s a bit sweeter but the tangy creaminess from the cream cheese goes so well with this cake. Just saying!!

I am bringing the cake to Fiesta Friday #196. This weeks co hosts are and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook.


Recipe from Martha Stewart

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter melted

2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup applesauce or 4 apples peeled- 2 grated and 2 diced)

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare 3 8 inch round baking pans by lining with parchment, butter or grease and dust with flour, set aside.

In medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and eggs. Fold in the applesauce or apples. Add the flour mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Divide equally into prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, run butter knife or offset spatula around the edges to loosen and turn out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe from Martha Stewart

4 egg whites from large eggs

1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed

3 sticks or 12 oz of softened unsalted butter

Set pan with about 2 inches of water on low heat, place the egg whites and brown sugar in mixing bowl and set on top of the simmering water (bowl should not touch the water). Whisk until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is completely melted. Place on stand mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until fluffy and completely cooled, approximately 15 minutes. Change to paddle attachment and add the soft butter 1 tbs at a time while the mixer is on med low speed. Once butter is incorporated continue to mix on medium speed for another 3-5 minutes. If it curdles it’s ok, keep mixing it will come together. Frost cake immediately.  I piled way too much frosting on top, don’t do like I do and make sure the frosting is evenly spread all over the cake. Thats what happens when you are in a hurry.

Apple Pie



I felt the need to post a dessert recipe, it’s not earth shattering or different it’s as American as apple pie, well, it is apple pie. Simple and delicious, a touch of Americana. The recipes I have posted lately have been wholesome and healthful and thats really good, I love that, but my real love is baking and I have not really been doing that lately. Maybe when the weather turns cooler I will feel more inspired to crank up the oven and bake something. To inspire myself I just got the new cookbook from Zoe Nathan, Huckleberry, it’s beautiful, droolworthy and yes, very inspiring. I hope to share some recipes from the book with you, I have already chosen several to make immediately.

Every year when apples hit the green market one of the first things I like to make is apple pie. It’s an American classic and is still one of my all time favorite desserts. Buttery flaky pie crust and sweet/tart apples scented with warm spices, cinnamon and nutmeg. Served warm with a scoop of ice cream I am in heaven. There’s a million and one recipes for apple pie, it a classic dessert and this is probably no different than most but I wanted to post as a tribute  or an homage to Fall and apple season. I use several different types of apples in my pie, cortland, honey crisp, winesap,macoun,ginger gold,pink lady and always one granny smith, I don’t use Macintosh or apples with a similar texture they tend to turn mushy. Honestly, I forget what I got this go around but they looked good and I am sure they will make a great pie. Cut the apple slices fairly thin but not so thin that they will turn to mush but I do want them soft and well done. I like to use both granulated and brown sugar, a pinch of sea salt, some flour to thicken and a splash of apple cider. it’s not aggresively spiced just enough for a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. I use 6-7 apples for a deeper pie dish and 4 or 5 apples for a normal size pie dish.

Juilia Childs Pastry Dough

Makes enough dough for a double crust 9 inch pie

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces

4 tbs shortening or leaf lard cold ( I weighed and used 2 oz of shortening or lard)

1/2 cup ice cold water

You can make this either by hand or in the food processor. To make by hand, put flours, salt, butter, lard or shortening into mixing bowl, use pastry cutter to combine until it resembles pea size crumbs. Add water mix with fork, gather with your hands, divide dough into a 2 discs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Your dough may be pretty moist, thats ok don’t add more flour.

In Food Processor, add the flours, salt, butter and shortening or lard into the bowl of the processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles pea size crumbs. Add the water and pulse a few times until it becomes a cohesive dough. Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

about this thickness

about this thickness

My apple peeler

My apple peeler

Apple Filling:

6 apples, I like an assortment and always have 1 granny smith in the mix – peel, core and slice

1/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3-4 tbs flour (You can also use cornstarch or tapioca)

juice of half a lemon

Note: Try to get the apple slices about the same thickness, doesn’t have to be perfect but if most of them are it cooks more evenly in the pie.

Add everything to a mixing bowl, stir gently to combine and set aside. Add the lemon juice to the apples as you slice, it will keep them from turning brown. You can adjust the amount of sugar to your personal preference.

Ready for the oven

look closely you can see the little pieces of butter in the dough, makes it extra flaky!

Making the Pie:

Have your 9 inch pie dish ready, take out one disc of dough and roll out to a thinish round, make sure your work surface is well floured as is your rolling pin. Roll dough onto the rolling pin and gently lay into the pie dish. Add the apples and put a few dots of butter. Roll out top crust following the same procedure and lay on top of the apples. Crimp the edges, cut a few vents, decorate if you like, brush with egg wash or cream and sprinkle with some sugar. Bake in a pre heated 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes or until it’s golden brown and bubbly. Note: leave the overhanging dough on the bottom crust, trim after you lay top ccrust on and fold under then crimp, This will give a good seal so that most of the juices stay in the pie.

Apple pie right out of the oven

Apple pie right out of the oven

The pie was wonderful but I could have added a bit more flour to the filling. The apples were really juicy and the juice was not thickened quite enough. It’s almost impossible to gage really. You could do the Julia Child method and let the apples rest in a bowl and whatever juice comes off drain before baking. I didn’t do that and had quite a bit of excess juice, but I never really do that for apple pies. The flavor was great and the crust was so flaky and tender.