Funny how recipes collide. What started as a quest to incorporate more of the apples we had left-over from apple picking into an Apple Cake quickly turned into a decadent Coffee Cake (or so I think). Always in pursuit of something new and unorthodox when it comes to baking, I managed to merge my friend Caren’s Grandmother’s Apple Cake with traditional Coffee Cake, and though kinda' weird, it's delicious.
Both start with a basic coffee cake batter and a filling of apples, brown sugar and walnuts. The Jewish Apple Cake batter called for orange juice and no dairy. Instead, I decided to incorporate the orange flavor into the apple brown sugar filling by way of orange extract, and I opted for dairy by way of sour cream to achieve a denser, richer, moister cake which I prefer. Ever since I used coffee grounds in my “Mac Snack Attack Cookies”, I’ve been obsessed with using coffee grounds as a baking ingredient. It is Coffee Cake after all, so in it went, both grounds and brewed versions.
I wanted go the glazed route vs. crumb topping but I'm not a glaze fan. This is when I stumbled upon an on-line recipe for a coffee cake slathered in butter-cream, served in New Haven CT! The recipe originated from a onetime employee at a New Haven cafe who was of Lithuanian descent, or so the story goes. I have a fool-proof recipe for vanilla butter-cream, so I embraced the idea, though having never had it myself. Besides, the frosting could play host to my dark cocoa powder espresso dusting combo that I wanted to steal from the Tiramisu.
The cake was moist and the flavors of apple, orange, coffee and cocoa paired nicely with one another. The butter-cream frosting gave it a cream-in-my-coffee finish without being too sweet, surprisingly. Serve it up for dessert or an indulgent brunch item or solo coffee break! Make it kid-friendly by using decaf coffee in the recipe, or, eliminating the coffee ingredients alltogether.
Cynthia Dartley is Publisher/Editor of Macaroni Kid, a FREE weekly newsletter featuring recipes/crafts, events and activities for kids and their families. Follow her on Face Book, Twitter and Pinterest.
Coffee Cake: Yield: 10-12 servings (Adapted from Sherry Yard’s Desserts by the Yard, Claire’s Corner Copia, Caren Chesler’s Grandmother’s Apple Cake, Numerous Coffee Cake Cookbook Recipes, and the addition of My Unusual Culinary Sensibilities)
Ingredients for Cake:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup vanilla scented sugar (stick vanilla bean into sugar and store until use)
2 farm fresh eggs
1 tablespoon brewed espresso, cold (recommend cafe bustelo)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup homemade apple sauce (recipe follows)
2 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Ingredients for Homemade Applesauce:
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 freshly squeezed lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Ingredients for Filling:
3-4 apples, diced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla scented sugar
1 tablespoon espresso, not brewed (recommend cafe bustelo)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
Ingredients for Vanilla Butter-Cream Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
Directions for Filling:
In a bowl with diced apples add lemon juice to prevent apples from turning brown and the orange extract. In the same bowl, add the remaining filling ingredients and stir well. Set aside.
Directions for Homemade Applesauce:
Place chopped apples, lemon and orange juice into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour until most of the liquid is absorbed. Use fork or whisk to stir.
Directions for Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and beat for 30 seconds. Add the coffee, vanilla extract, sour cream and apple sauce. Beat for 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder and pour the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, and mix on low speed for 45 seconds just to combine (do not over mix). The cake batter will be very thick.
Spray a large 10-cup bundt pan with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray. Pour in 1/3rd the cake batter, smooth it out and then sprinkle 1/3rd of the filling evenly over the top of the batter. Pour another 1/3rd of the batter evenly over filling, smooth the batter, then sprinkle another 1/3rd of the filling evenly over batter. Pour remaining batter over the filling, smooth out the batter, and sprinkle the remaining filling over the batter.
Bake for 50-55 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove and let cool, then turn it out onto a plate and allow to cool completely before applying vanilla butter-cream frosting.
Directions for Vanilla Butter-Cream Frosting:
In a mixing bowl on low speed combine butter, 4 cups confectioners' sugar, vanilla, cream and milk. Once these ingredients are fully incorporated increase speed to high and mix for 1 minute. Shut machine off and add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, on low speed to combine and then on high speed for 1 minute. Shut machine off and add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, on low speed to combine and then on high speed for 1 minute. If by this time frosting becomes light, fluffy and forms stiff peaks it is done. If not, continue to repeat process until no more than a total of 8 cups of confectioners' sugar has been incorporated into the frosting.
Generously slather vanilla butter-cream frosting over top of coffee cake. Garnish top of cake with a light dusting of sifted dark cocoa powder and espresso.