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I love summer fruits. Apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums. But once the season ends, it’s time to embrace fall and winter fruits. You might not so familiar quince or persimmon. But apples. We all know apples right?
Did you know there are over 7500 varieties grown worldwide? I didn’t.
Did you know there are over 2500 grown in the USA? I didn’t.
Did you know that there are over 100 grown commercially in the USA? I didn’t.
Do you know why your supermarket doesn’t carry them all? Well, I can guess at that one…so when BB asked me if I wanted some fresh fall apples that are being grown on the property where Mayacamas lives, of course, I said yes. And of course, I wasn’ sure of what was coming home.
Mixed in with my apples were quince (which he thought was an apple) that I used to make my Quince and Veal stew, this time using pork shoulder. I also used some of those beautiful persimmons in my stew. Then I used the variety of apples to make this, dense, moist, delicious, fresh apple cake. Made with chunks of fresh apple, toasted walnuts, and olive oil. Olive oil keeping it not only healthier than butter but also giving it better shelf life.
Some apples are better for eating, some are better for cooking. Although your store will likely not be carrying all 100 varieties currently grown in the US – they probably have a good variety of both eating and cooking apples. Go for the ones that are best for cooking such as Pipin, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonathan or McIntosh. These are mostly dryer which keeps them from making the cake too “wet”. Since I wasn’t sure of my apple types, I cut into them and if they didn’t seem too wet, in they went. A variety is good even if one is an eating apple.
I peeled and cored them, although I’m not sure peeling them is mandatory, just a little extra fiber, but do take the core out. I diced them into about a 1/4 to 1/3 inch dice. I wanted chunks but didn’t want to take a great big bite of just apple.
Four apples were just the right amount, but since apples do come in various sizes, I recommend that you weigh them. You should have about a pound and a half of uncored unpeeled apples to start, this should yield about 4 cups diced.
Sometimes weighing something is just the right way to do things.
When baking I weigh my flour. And since I had my own backyard chickens with their own backyard eggs, I’ve taken to weighing my eggs tool
Just like people, the outside color of an egg doesn’t matter. They all taste the same. They all have whites surrounding yolks. BUT also just like people, they come in various sizes.
A medium egg weighs about 49 grams, a large egg weighs in at about 56 grams. In baking large eggs are usually the norm in recipes. But some people buy medium eggs, some extra-large eggs, and of course, my chickens layed whatever size they wanted to. They didn’t care about the packaging or the recipe. While a little more, or less, egg in a recipe probably wouldn’t make or break the end product, if you want to be accurate, weigh. Otherwise, for this recipe, use 3 large eggs.
For best results use eggs at room temperature, so remove your eggs from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to use them. Eggs can sit out for a while, so no worries if you don’t get to them for a couple of hours.
Do I want you to toast them?
If you are going to add nuts then you want to taste the toasty goodness of the nuts. That isn’t going to happen if you don’t toast them.
To properly toast nuts, nuts of any kind, heat your oven (or toaster oven) to 350ºF. Put the nuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes, check them, give them a stir if they are not quite ready, you might need a minute or two more. Be careful as you want toasted nuts, not burnt nuts.
In this recipe for Fresh Apple Chunk Olive Oil Cake, I used walnuts, starting with walnut halves then chopping them into pieces after roasting. Pecans would make a good substitute.
Ever since I worked as a recipe developer for an olive oil exporter, I have been using olive oil in my baking whenever possible. I like the fact it is a monounsaturated fat and doesn’t go rancid like butter.
Using a mild olive oil, not a grassy or peppery one, but just regular olive oil gives great moisture without tasting of olive oil. Anytime melted butter is mentioned in a recipe, mild olive oil can be easily substituted. Or any vegetable oil.
If you have read any of my recipes you know how I feel about Canola Oil. Anything that was originally intended to be put into a Jeep and later modified for human consumption, well, you can keep it away from my mouth. I’ll use it to oil the hinges. But not in my food!
This is not a light fluffy cake. It’s a deliciously dense cake. And the batter is a bit stiff and sticky, so I think pan preparation is important.
For this recipe, I used a heavy non-stick bundt pan. Even with it being non-stick, I thought I would spray it well with cooking spray and then give it a light dusting of flour. If there’s anything to hate, it’s when you turn out a cake from the pan and half of it is stuck to the pan. So for me, it’s better safe than sorry.
If you don’t have a bundt pan, you could use a two-part angel food cake pan. In this case, I would put parchment paper on the bottom, then spray and flour.
But a bundt pan is prettier.
Heat oven to 350F.Place the oil and sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer (or good hand mixer) and mix, at medium speed, until the sugars dissolve (about 2 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, along with the vanilla, mix well.
Mix together in a bowl the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.Lower mixer speed to medium-low, slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients; mix until well incorporated.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the apples and walnuts making sure to distribute them well within the batter. The batter will be thick.
Prepare a bunt pan by spraying it well with cooking spray, then lightly flour. Evenly spoon the batter into the pan. Place the pan in the middle of the preheated oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted into the center, comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove the cake to a cooling tray. Allow to sit 30 minutes then invert and remove the pan. Set the cake right-side up. Cool the cake completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
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