Autumn weekends are meant for road trips to the countryside to witness the shift in seasons as the leaves turn to shades of crimson and saffron. Another seasonal staple is apple picking at the orchard. Now that harvest season is upon us, cider and pumpkin patches come to mind, as well as baking with plenty of vegetables and spices. What better way to unwind after a day of hiking in the Laurentians than a cinnamon-infused evening in the kitchen?
A September tradition of mine is a trip to the Verger Labonté which is just off the island of Montréal. Besides the orchard, the farm, and the corn maze, the Verger Labonté also has a little market where the owners sell a variety of apple products, from baked goods to apple butter and apple syrup. The orchard is most famous though for its scrumptious apple muffins. Unfortunately, the recipe remains a well guarded secret. I’ve been searching for a recipe that would result in a similar taste, and this apple cake exceeds my expectations. The cake has a crumbly top and is packed with chunks of apples. Oftentimes, apple desserts can be too sweet, but this isn’t the case with this cake. For those of you who do like it sweet, drizzle the caramel sauce as a finishing touch to this delectable dessert. When it comes to quintessential fall flavours, at the top of my list is a warm slice of apple cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This recipe would also make great muffins. Simply omit the caramel sauce and you can eat them for breakfast or as a snack.
I selected a variety of apples to make this cake more flavourful. I chose Granny Smith, Braeburn and Gala apples, but feel free to alter the combination depending on your personal taste preferences.
Recipe adapted from Bakerella
Yields 12 portions
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 cups diced apples
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Butter a 10-inch round cake pan that reaches at least 2 inches in height. Dust with flour. A baking pan with a removable bottom works best.
3) Whisk together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
4) Using an electric mixer, combine the sugar and vegetable oil until blended.
5) Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
6) Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture.
7) Stir in the diced apples.
8) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until done. If you use a different type of pan, don’t forget to adjust the baking time.
9) For the topping: pour the brown sugar, butter and milk into a saucepan and cook on the stove until the mixture bubbles.
10) Once the cake has cooled, use a skewer to poke some holes. Pour some of the topping over the cake. You will have extra sauce and it is quite sweet, so be careful not pour too much on the cake.