Kramer and I had a great Labor Day weekend. We were lucky enough to attend not one, but two, barbecues, all with great weather, lots of friends, and delicious grilled meats. We don’t (and can’t) have a grill, as I’ve complained about before, so it’s always exciting for us when a grill is involved in our evening plans. Friday night, we started things off with a trip to Maison Premiere, and despite the insane wait because of the holiday, it was worth it – you can’t beat big, beautiful $1 oysters. Saturday, our friends Tom and Valerie had everyone over for a get together – their roof is amazing and they always throw a great party. On Sunday, our friends Matt and Amanda had a barbecue on their awesome patio at their new place in Williamsburg (photos to come in the next post) – it was fun watching them be slightly afraid of the grill. They’re still getting adjusted to having such a nice apartment with all its amenities. On Monday, we were able to just hang out, watch more Sons of Anarchy, and do some cooking. I slept like a rock last night, too – I usually wake up at least once, but I guess I needed some sleep. That’s always a good feeling (although sometimes it’s a bit depressing to wake up 1 minute before your alarm goes off…I guess you can’t have everything).
I made this Apple Crumb Cake last weekend for a friend’s birthday brunch. I needed to do my baking the night before, so I wanted something that would keep well but still be somewhat impressive and, of course, really tasty. This crumb cake did the trick (I think, anyway). The cake itself is just slightly sweet, and really, is just a vessel for the brown sugar and cinnamon drenched apple slices, which are, in turn, finished with a buttery crumb topping sprinkled with slivered almonds. This cake sliced beautifully into even pieces, and even stored well divided by parchment paper and kept at room temperature until the next day. The layering was my favorite part – cake, apple, crumb. It bothed looked pretty and made for an easy to eat cake. The best of both worlds! That’s all anyone wants, right? Aesthetically pleasing and easy to eat? That’s what I thought.
Lindsey, Lauren, and the man of the house, Tom.
Now – cake time. First, scrape your vanilla bean and add it to your granulated sugar, along with your orange zest. Rub it between your fingers until the sugar is a light orange color and the vanilla is evenly distributed. Add in the rest of the cake batter ingredients, and pour into your lined and greased pan.
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup raw sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
- ½ cup sliced almonds (or other roughly chopped nuts)
- 2 large apples, thinly sliced
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- juice of 1 orange
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- In a large bowl, combine the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup sugar, and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon. Add in the butter, and using your hands or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Add in the almonds and mix to combine. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
- Slice the apples very thinly – you can peel them, or not (I didn’t). Combine with 1 cup of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of melted (and cooled) butter, cinnamon, orange juice, and salt. Toss to combine, and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sugar, scraped vanilla bean, and orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the vanilla and orange zest into the sugar, until it is a pale orange and the vanilla is well combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed, and do not overmix.
- Grease and line a 10-inch springform pan. If you have parchment paper, cut out a circle and line the bottom of the pan with it, then grease it, otherwise just butter the pan very well. Pour the cake batter into the bottom of the pan, then arrange the apple slices over the top in a circular pattern. You may have leftover apples – these will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days and make a great topping for yogurt or pancakes! Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top and pat down lightly.
- Place the cake in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or so, until golden and set. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan, slicing, and serving. This cake will keep well at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.