Monday, March 31, 2014

Apple Cake with Walnut Streusel Topping + Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Streusel Topping

     I have posted a lot of cake-like things on the blog over time and to be honest guys, it is because I absolutely love to have tea cakes, frosted cakes, snacking cakes, cupcakes, muffins, (insert any cake substance here) around. I find them to be one of the most enjoyable treats and some of the most relaxing things for me to make. I enjoy the process and the end results. Teacakes can be a wonderful thing, but sometime they are so simple it seems like just a wah-wah type item. However, once you have a truly delicious base for your teacake, it will change your mind on that completely. 
       This base is perfect! My favorite part is the really unique combination of dairy in it that produces the richest, creamiest and lightest of batters. It is to die for! Part buttermilk, stirred in and part whipped cream, folded in is apparently the key to blissful creaminess.  Plus the cake is made with canola oil instead of butter so the creaminess from the whipping cream shines through since butter is not overpowering anything. It totally transformed my expectations of banana bread a few months ago and now I have adapted it to other flavors. 
     It is delicious enough, that I trusted this simple apple cake to be a shine when I brought it in to a bakery I interviewed with last week. This is a position I have been thinking about all weekend because although I wanted it before I talked to one of the owners, the interview made me unbelievably excited for it. I am trusting this cake, and doing dances to the baking gods in hopeful wishing right now. Maybe if you make it and do a little dance next to your oven, it just might help my cause along the way!
Adapted from Shirley O. Corriher's Banana Bread in "BakeWise"

Makes one 9x5 or 10x4 loaf pan and 3 jumbo muffins or 6 standard muffins

Notes: You can also use bananas and chocolate chips or nuts (2 C mashed bananas-about 5 medium +1 C chocolate chips/nuts). Just fold them in instead of the apples in step 4. I made a double batch here, which yielded two loaves and 6 jumbo muffins. I followed the same method until the add-ins. One was apple with walnut streusel and the other was banana chocolate chip with plain streusel. You can also wrap the muffins and slice the bread and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and they will last wonderfully in the freezer.
1 3/4 C sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 TSP baking powder-altitude (1 TSP at sea level)
1/4 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP salt
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C canola oil
1 TSP vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 C buttermilk
2 medium granny smith apples, pealed and diced* (see notes)
1/2 heavy cream


3/4 C walnuts
1 TBSP butter
1/4 TSP salt
1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 TBSP + 1TSP granulated sugar
3 TBSP brown sugar
1 TSP ground cinnamon
6 TBSP (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, and butter and flour your loaf pans and muffin tins.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 
3. In a larger bowl, mix together the oil and sugar until combined. Next mix in the extract, eggs, and buttermilk until everything is combined. 
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and making large stirs, combine the two with as few strokes as possible. Once almost all of the flour is incorporated, fold in the apple pieces.
5. In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream to medium-stiff peaks and then add a small amount to the batter and gentle fold that in using large sweeping motions around the edges. Add the rest of the whipped cream and repeat. Your goal it to keep the air in the whipped cream and not collapse it so gently folding it in is key. 
6. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and muffin tins.
7. Toast the walnuts on a sheet tray at 350 for 3-5 minutes until you can smell the nutty-ness and they are just beginning to brown. Pull them from the oven, transfer them to a bowl and toss them with the 1/4 TSP salt and 1 TBSP butter. Set aside to cool.
8. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, and cinnamon. Using a pastry cutter, of your fingers incorporate the butter, until it is homogenous and crumbly. 
9. Sprinkle the streusel over the loaf and muffins, followed by the walnut pieces. 
10. Place the loaf and muffins in the oven and bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean (rotate half way through). Continue to bake the loaf for an additional 15-25 minutes until the skewer comes out clean (rotate when you pull the muffins).
11. Allow both things to cool for about 20 minutes before inverting them! Enjoy.

Boulder Butter

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