Can everyone please be quiet! I silently shout.
There are neighbors that like to practice on drum sets. There are dogs that find delight in barking. There are tall, beefy boys that become inebriated on a nightly basis.
And then there is me.
I like to sit on my floral armchair and read my book. I like to sip tea while resting against my kitchen counter and talking quietly with my husband. I enjoy watching Mad Men (volume turned down low, subtitles on) while sipping on a Pumpkin Shake.
At this point in my life, with all the drama and tragedy that has unfolded, I need calm, I need quiet.
Unfortunately, the world does not revolve around me. (Just kidding, kind of)
The other night, after flying back from Colorado, I turned to Ryan and asked him to bake with me.
We got our hands and our counters messy, we laughed as we stirred more and more sugar into our softening apples, we kissed while our cake baked in a warm oven.
It was still noisy outside, but in our small little apartment, I felt safe, secure and enveloped in love.
This is all we can really ask for. A small corner of the world that we can craft into a place of healing and restoration. For me, this corner is full of books and mugs and bags of flour.
And sometimes cake.
This Apple Upside Down Cake is a wonderful way to showcase those globular and crisp fall-time fruits. The apples are softened in butter and brown sugar before being layered in a cake pan with a simple, vanilla batter poured on top.
After an hour of waiting, you can bite into a slice of still warm cake with caramelized apples so soft that they melt on your tongue. Truly delicious and simple. This would be a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving or Holiday table.
*Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing cake pan
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch slices ( about 5 cups
1 large eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks and brought to room temperature
- Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 9-inch cake pan.
- For the Apples: Place butter in large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter has stopped foaming, add sugar and stir to combine. Continue to cook until sugar turns dark brown (it should look like dark brown sugar), about 2 minutes, swirling pan occasionally. Add salt, cinnamon and apples and fold with spatula to combine. Cook, stirring often, until apples have softened slightly and juices are thickened and syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and spoon apples into prepared cake pan. You may have leftover sauce....don't pour sauce over apples. Set aside.
- In small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sour cream, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined.
- Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Use electric mixer on low speed for 15 seconds to blend. Add butter and remaining 1/4 cup sour cream and mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. Add sour cream/egg mixture and beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl, until batter is homogeneous and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Spoon batter over apples and gently spread out to thin layer that covers apples. Bake until cake is dark golden brown, feels set, and cake tester comes out clean when inserted in center, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Place serving plate over top of pan and invert. Let cake sit inverted for about 1 minute without tapping or shaking pan. Cake will slowly detach itself. Once cake is on platter, gently remove pan. Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores