Friday, September 16, 2011

Chai spiced apple cake (or, a story of the worst best friend ever)

Once upon a time, there was a girl who used to do great things for one of her closest friends, like send her big care packages for the crazy weekend that her friend decided to graduate from college and then run a marathon the next day. And then the summer happened (you know, the one where I decided to train for a marathon of my own, move, get a job, and go out of town every weekend) and I forgot her birthday (actually I was camping without cell service for it-- excuses excuses!) So I'm driving to visit her tomorrow, to finally spend a weekend in her hometown four hours away, and I decided to bake a cake. A sort of thanks-for-hosting-me, happy-belated-birthday, please-don't-move-to-Oxford-next-week-even-though-it's-because-you're-incredibly-amazing kind of cake.

So after another round of tea and dumplings (seriously, good thing those bad boys are gone), my mom and I decided to make this delicious looking chai spiced apple cake that I found via Gojee (the Pandora of recipe databases. All photos. Best. Procrastination. Tool. Ever.)

We have this beautiful Bundt pan at home, and I had high hopes for the glaze. You know, maybe some beautiful drizzling, maybe piped along the ridges of the cake. Maybe some artful Swiss dot detailing along the edges.

Until my mom took it out of the oven and the following conversation happened:

Mom: "So is it done? Do we leave it? Do we put it somewhere?"
Me: "I don't know. Doesn't say. Yeah, leave it."
Mom: "Okay, yeah. Let's leave it. We'll just leave it."

(five minutes later)

Mom: "Okay, well let's take it out. My mom used to make Bundts all the time. And she'd turn it over on a glass."
Me: "A glass? Like a glass plate?"
Mom (going to the cabinet, getting a glass, starting the process): "No, like a glass. I don't really know what it does."
Me: "Maybe it's high up enough that it slides down? Maybe keeps it from caving in?"

So guess what the didn't have in the 1960's that they have today?

Nonstick Bundt pans.

Dear Anna,
Happy belated birthday. Sorry it looks like we threw your cake on the floor before I drove it four hours to your house. It didn't come out of the oven until 10:30pm and besides that, we ran out of apples. I swear it's delicious-- fortunately I was able to taste some, and you'd never know because it's completely in shambles. It means nothing as to how much I value our friendship, I promise!
Love, Sarah

(Good thing some strategically placed icing and flowers hid the damage.)
Chai Spiced Apple Cake

2 sticks of buter, softened
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. buttermilk
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
2 cups peeled, diced apples

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. In a KitchenAid mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamed. Add eggs (one at a time) and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
4. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar, add half the buttermilk, then add the remaining ingredients of each.
5. Fold in the apples and pour into Bundt pan.
6. Bake 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Invert onto rack (no glass needed!) and let cool.

Buttermilk Icing

2 c. icing sugar (powdered sugar)
4 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1. When cake has cooled, beat together all ingredients and drizzle over cake.

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