when in doubt, make lemons out of lemonade. bored af during your internship? talk to your boss and sound intelligent for five minutes, then retreat to your desk and think of cake ideas. how else do you think this apple cake with almond crumb topping came about?
i used cranberries in the caramel and apples in the cake, and then added an oat and almond crumble on top of the cake. i was going to do an almond-y pie crumb instead of the crumble, but decided that was a bit much, and opted for the easier and less buttery crumble instead.
my notes for this apple cake with almond crumb topping actually read: "SO BEAUTS." a lot of cakes don't come out of the oven ready for their beauty shots, but dang, this one does.
and it smells so buttery while it baked that i wanted to make a perfume out of it (i don't wear perfume, but if they bottled this scent, i'd spritz some on).
the crumble is crunchy and toasty, the apples tender but not falling apart in beige puddles of mush, the cranberry caramel tart and bright against the richness of the cooked apples and buttery cake.
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup semolina flour or almond meal
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 ¼ sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup crème fraîche or Greek yogurt room temperature
- 6 large egg yolks room temperature
- ¾ pounds apples cored, halved and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup raw almonds chopped
- ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
Combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter and ½ cup yogurt; mix until the mixture starts to come together but is still crumbly. Add the yolks and remaining yogurt, then mix until the color lightens to a pale yellow.
Spread half the batter into a greased and parchment lined (please do) 9” round cake or springform pan. Arrange half of the apples on top.
Dot the remaining half of the batter on top, then gently spread it to cover the apples. Arrange the rest of the apples on top, then press the almond-oat crumble into the spots on top of the cake where there’s no apples.
Put the cake in the oven with a sheet tray on the rack underneath for assurance against drips. Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, then at 350F for 30 more minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 30 minutes before unmolding.
Serve the cake drizzled with the cranberry caramel.
Mix everything until combined.
In a food processor, purée the cranberries.
In a dry saucepan, cook the sugar over moderate heat, stirring with a fork, until melted. Then cook, without stirring and only swirling the pan, until it becomes a uniform golden color. Remove from heat and carefully add the cranberry purée and ¼ cup water. Return pan to heat and simmer, stirring, 10 minutes, or until caramel is dissolved. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids, and cool completely.
Adapted from Suzanne Goin’s The AOC Cookbook.
The cranberry caramel here is optional. You can serve it with cranberry sauce (just cook cranberries down with sugar to taste) or whipped cream or ice cream or plain.