Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple Spice Cake

It's not unusual for October to be rainy here in Boston, and the forecast called for it, so when I left the house in the morning, I was wearing rain boots, a rain coat, and carrying an umbrella... but then I noticed the drops weren't drops. They were FLAKES. And then today it snowed again, but this time the flakes were the big downy chunks of snow that make me think of instant mashed potatoes. Nature is so cruel!

The only solace I am taking in the fact that we're getting SNOW in OCTOBER is that I have an excuse to bake cake. Well, the snow, and the seven apples, leftover from a picking trip weeks ago, taunting me from the fruit bowl. And the buttermilk going bad in the fridge.* Ok, three excuses to bake.

Apple Spice Cake
I adapted this from a recipe on The Perfect Pantry, based on the spices I like with apples and what I had in the house. It is excellent with ice cream for dessert, but I find it most suited for breakfast, toasted, with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of pecans. I doubled this because I had so many apples and so much buttermilk to use; I brought the extra loaf to work and it was gone in minutes!

2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup tart apples, grated (3-4 large apples- I used a mix of Gala, Braeburn, and Macoun, but you can use whatever you have.)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan with butter or baking spray.

Combine flours and spices in a medium bowl, whisk to combine (I like to whisk in the bowl rather than sift, but I guess that might be cheating, so if you want, you can sift them together instead).

In another bowl, cream the shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs to the sugar and shortening, and stir to combine well.

Add 1/3 the flour dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, stir to combine. Then add 1/2 the buttermilk and half the apples, stir to combine. Then add another third of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the buttermilk and apples, then the dry ingredients, stirring to combine after each addition.

Scoop the batter into the greased loaf pan, smooth the top a little, and bake for an hour, rotating once. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

*Do you always have leftover buttermilk from pancakes or ranch dressing (or apple spice cake)? Sarah at the Pink of Perfection has created THE ULTIMATE BUTTERMILK RECIPE REPOSITORY and I am so excited about it that I have to use capital letters. Go check it out.


  1. Mmmm, I made an apple pumpkin cake last week. So comforting...especially on a snowy day!! Yikes, I can't believe you have snow. Here it's been warm enough to open windows. Looks lovely with the yogurt!

  2. oh yes ma'm! it has FINALLY gotten colder here in Texas, and I'm ready already for fall food, especially desserts. cake it is.

  3. Snow is great excuse to bake a cake. This one looks especially perfect for a raw, cold day!

  4. I have wheat flour, apples, and buttermilk that need to be used... and I am on the verge of throwing in the towel on my paper and going home to bake something!

  5. This looks tempting! Lovely recipes on your blog!

  6. oh wow, i'm glad to say i was in az while it was snowing back home :) this cake sounds fabulous!! i have some apples waiting for me when i finally make it back...

    you can also freeze buttermilk if you want to use it for baking! my other go-to's right now: a buttermilk panna cotta or buttermilk gelato/ice crema

  7. So what was with that snow yesterday? I should have been baking apple cake, but instead I was watching my husband play outside and try to make a snowball! I'm not really ready for winter, but this cake says "Fall" to me. So glad you liked it.

  8. We had snow last week and I was SO not ready! Now today, it is going to be 80 degrees? Wack weather, I swear.

    Your cake looks like the perfect fall dessert!

  9. Ok, I want to try this cake! I have been on an apple kick lately. I would love to experience a snowy winter...just once:)

  10. 1) Looks like a great way to use up buttermilk + apples!
    2) I definitely have the same problem with buttermilk. I find that I use like 1/4 cup for some pancakes, and then the rest sits in the frigde and continues to mock me until I find a recipe or throw it away. I finally just decided to start using the powdered version. I made muffins with it last night and they were delicious. I'd probably use the fresh stuff if it's a buttermilk-centric recipe. Thanks for the link to other buttermilk recipes!! :D