Tuesday, September 29, 2015

flavorFALL - fresh apple cake with browned butter frosting

I have gone back and forth, one hundred times, on how I might "return" to the blog.  Shortly after my last post, I had to call it quits.  It wasn't even intentional.  It just ended up having to be.

None-the-less, I am back, and I am so excited I can't hardly stand it!  My goal was to resurface within the first week of Fall.  If you've read posts before, you may have seen how I love this time of year and the food ops it brings.  I couldn't imagine a better time, so I set the goal and, by golly, I reached it. Feels like forever since I've done such a thing.  In fact, I set another one, too.  Did you notice?  The new (and VERY much improved) look of the site?  I have wanted this for so long, and thanks to an incredibly talented friend, I now have it.  I just love it.  Love. It.

A lot has occurred over the last several months.  A lot.  I don't think I want, or even can, find the words to go into it at the moment.  Just too hard right now.  I'm sure I will in time, but for now I do think I'll do what I love to do, and that's SHARE A RECIPE!  Can I please get an, "Amen!"?

We moved over a year ago, as I shared here, and we continue to fall in love with our place.  It's not so much the actual house, although I'm terribly thankful for it.  But it's the setting.  It's quaint and tucked away.  The street is lined with trees, as we pull into the cul-de-sac, and the place just leans into the seasons, especially Fall.  I feel like our home takes on a life of its own when the oven kicks on, it's filled with multiple kids and their parents, and laughter ensues.  What is it about laughter? And ovens?

When I was looking for a Fall recipe for a crowd, flipping through recipe books and scrolling through websites, there was none that called my name like the title of this one.  It had me at, "Browned Butter Frosting."  Oh my stars and garters…  this was the one!  It received tremendous reviews on the site, and I knew it would be worth the time to give it a try.  Worth the time it was, and I (nor our guests) could have been more pleased.  I did cut the sugar of the cake in half from the original recipe, as the frosting is extremely rich.  But a glass of milk, or - in my case - a strong cup of coffee, rounds it out nicely.

Wow.  And there you go.  Finally, after all this time, here's another great recipe for a slew of fantastic readers.  And it feels so good to be back.

*NOTE - The butter in the frosting requires about an hour to cool before mixing; plan ahead!

Fresh Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

printable recipe

Makes one 13x9 cake

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecan
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch wedges

For the frosting:

1 cup butter
1 16 oz package powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


For the frosting

1. Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6-8 minutes or until butter begins to turn a golden brown.  Remove pan from heat immediately and pour butter into a small bowl.  Cover and chill one hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until butter becomes fluffy.  Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar.  Beat mixture at low speed until well blended after each addition.  Stir in vanilla. 

For the cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

2. Stir together butter and next three ingredients in a large bowl until blended. 
3. Combine flour and next three ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apples and one cup pecans (batter will be thick, similar to cookie dough).  Spread batter into lightly greased 13x9 pan.  

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely in a pan, on a wire rack, for 45 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Southern Living