I’m in love with the autumn weather in my new home state of Tennessee. I relish in the leaves as they wave to me from their boughs, showing off their blazing reds, vibrant oranges and luminous yellows. As Michael and I take our daily jaunt into downtown Franklin, leaves shower from the trees above, frolic and play for a whisper of a moment in the breeze and collect around our worn leather boots.
Morning times are filled with wonder and beauty as fog gracefully laces the paths between rolling emerald fields peppered with bales of hay and cows enjoying their morning graze. Trees with arms like scarecrows bend and bow and give way to the weight of apples, which are scattered at its roots like a piñata with it’s stuffing knocked out. Pumpkin fields are dotted with jade foliage and lurid orange pumpkins. Farmers markets overflow with spotty gourds, ice blue pumpkins, rainbow hues of Indian corn and luscious, sharp apples. I have never lived so far north where there were so many varieties of apples at the farmers markets. I plunged the apple cartons and brought a beautiful bounty home to my cozy Tennessee loft.
I stare outside at the fiery leaves, wondering what I should make with my glut of apples. I gaze at my afternoon coffee and realize I want an apple coffee cake. I begin whisking together flour, eggs, fresh pressed apple juice and toss the fresh apples and spicy cinnamon in my trusty cast iron skillet and baked it till golden brown. I sit quite content with my apple cake in one hand and coffee in another, being entertained by the pirouetting of leaves outside my window. There’s no place I’d rather be than my cozy corner in Tennessee.
Recipe: Spiced Apple Coffee Cake
Makes 1 10” Cake or 1 Loaf Cake
Note: I have made this cake in a loaf pan, cast-iron skillet and a cake pan, and it came out beautiful every time. For the loaf cake, I diced the apples and allowed the cake to cook a few minutes longer. For the skillet and cake pan, I sliced the apples and fanned them out on the pan.
Butter or vegetable oil, to grease pan
12 ounces of peeled, cored and diced apples (or sliced if you prefer)
1 ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ cup of granulated sugar, plus 2 ½ tablespoons, divided
1 ½ cup of flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup of brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons of pure pressed apple juice
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, to finish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 10” skillet with butter or vegetable oil. Set aside.
Toss diced apples, ground cinnamon and 2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar together in a medium-sized bowl.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Whisk the remaining ½ cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of brown sugar, melted butter, apple juice, vanilla extract and eggs together in a medium-sized bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, making sure all of the components are well combined.
Pour half of the batter into the greased skillet. The batter will be very thick so you may need to use an offset spatula to even out the batter in the pan. Spread half of the apples over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and top with the remaining apples and whatever liquid was released from the apples.
Bake for 1-1 ½ hours or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack and transfer onto a plate and dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!