Tag Archives: apples

apple compote layer cake with rum icing

C asked me to identify my favorite item at last week’s thanksgiving fest, and after not too much thought, i decided that it had to be the apple compote cake.  it was really just my apple compote cake, dressed up with an italian meringue rum icing and decorated with some acorn shaped caramels.  but somehow, all the components combined together made sense.

plus, the cake slices very well.  it keeps its shape and doesn’t fall flat apart like some other cakes i’ve cut.

Apple Compote Layer Cake with Italian Meringue Rum Icing
(makes a two-tier nine inch round layer cake)

For the Cake
Apple Compote Cake Two recipes, baked separately in two nine-inch round pans
(Note: You may want to make 1-2 cups extra apple compote to use as the middle layer of the cake)
For the Icing
Egg Whites 5 egg whites
Sugar 1/3 cup + 1 cup, measured separately
Water ¾ cup
Butter 4 sticks (1 lb), cubed
Rum 4 tbsp
For the Acorn Caramels
Sugar ½ cup sugar
Butter 1 tbsp
Water 1 tbsp

A.  Bake cake, set aside and let cool.

B.  Make the icing as follows:

  1. Pour egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  You can sprinkle in a bit of cream of tarter for stability.
  2. Start whisking until bubble just start to form.  Pour in 1/3 cup sugar.  Continue to whisk until soft peaks form.
  3. While egg whites are whisking, pour 1 cup sugar into a sauce pan along with the water.  Do not stir the pan.  Dissolve the sugar into the water and let it bubble away until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (which is at 235° F–240° F).
  4. Watch the egg whites while you’re preparing the sugar.  You want soft peaks rather than stiff ones.  You may need to turn the mixer down to its lowest setting if you’ve reached soft peaks before the sugar is ready.
  5. When the egg whites and sugar have reached their desired states,  slowly pour the sugar into the egg whites. Do this by first turning the whisk down to its lowest setting, and carefully pouring the sugar along the sides of the bowl. Do not pour onto the whisk or you may end up with minor burns.
  6. Turn the speed back up to high and continue to whisk until the mixture reaches room temperature.  Might take about 10 minutes.  Don’t worry if your mixture deflates.
  7. When at room temperature, change the whisk to the paddle attachment.  Drop in butter bits at a time, until all is added.
  8. Continue to whip on high until the consistency resembles icing.  Again, this could take up to 10 minutes.
  9. Finally, pour rum into the bowl and stir a few times to make sure it is evenly distributed.
  10. Let the icing chill in the refrigerator for 30-1 hour to let it harden a bit.

C.  Caramel Acorns:

  1. Set acorn molds (i used acorn shaped cookie cutters) on a parchment sheet lined tray.
  2. Pour all ingredients into a small saucepan.
  3. Allow the sugar to dissolve and caramelize (turns a deep golden brown). Do not stir the pan or the sugar will crystallize into a sticky mess.
  4. Pour the caramel into the molds.
  5. Allow it to cool and harden.
  6. When ready, carefully push the acorns out of the mold.  You may want to make a few extras because some might break in the un-molding process.

D.  Assembly:

  1. Set one layer of the cake on top of a cake pan.
  2. Brush it with a bit of simple sugar.
  3. Spread one thin layer of icing on top of the first layer.  Optional: I had some extra apple compote left over and decided to add it as the middle layer.  To do so,  pipe one strip of icing around the outer edge of the cake with a piping bag.  Spread the apple compote (about 1 to 1.5 cups) in an even layer.
  4. Brush the second layer of cake with simple sugar and place the simple sugar brushed side on top of the iced layer.
  5. Spread icing on the rest of the cake.
  6. Decorate with a few caramel acorns and enjoy!


apple compote cake

i went apple picking again the prior weekend at stone ridge orchards and ended up with yet another 1/2 bushel of apples on my hands.  i found myself absent-mindedly peeling, coring and cubing a good lot of the apples into apple compote over the weekend.  for me at least, making apple compote is rather therapeutic, and i suppose the delicious aromas that fill my kitchen as the apples and vanilla beans gurgle and bubble away is another reason why.

apple compote cake is a cinch to make, so long as one has got a healthy supply of apple compote on hand.  i threw one together  for dinner last night, and ended up with something rather deliciously fragrant. . .

Apple Compote Cake
(makes 1 nine-inch round cake)

Butter 1 stick
Eggs 2 large ones
Yogurt (plain or vanilla) 3 tbsp
Rum 3 tbsp
Sugar ½ cup
Flour 1 cup
Baking powder 1 tsp
Salt A pinch
Apple Compote ½ quart
  1. Prepare Apple Compote a day ahead and let cool.
  2. Melt butter and set aside.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF, butter a nine-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.
  4. In the bowl of your standmixer,  beat eggs with whisk attachment on high speed for about 1-2 minute until eggs are bubbly (but not doubled in volume).
  5. Add in sugar.  Continue to whisk until evenly combined.  Then add in yogurt, butter (cooled), and rum.  Whisk again for about 20 seconds.
  6. Change to paddle attachment, turn down to lowest speed, and drop in flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat until just combined.
  7. Pour in apple compote and fold into batter using a rubber spatula until uniform.  (7-8 folds)
  8. Bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 15 minutes before unmolding.

sojurn to stone ridge orchards

stone ridge orchards, about a 2 hour drive from downtown manhattan, is my favorite place for picking apples.   they’ve got rows upon rows of gnarly old apple trees (with some newly planted ones mixed in).  the apples grow on branches high and low; the orchard supplies you with picking poles to reach apples on the highest branches.

these old trees organically produce some of the crispest and most fragrant apples that i’ve ever sunk my teeth in.  the apple variety varies from week to week.  when we were there about 2 weeks ago, we filled our bag with fuji, golden delicious, red delicious and a few ida-red.  they had mutsu, gala and honey crisp trees in the orchard as well, but the branches had been picked clean by the time we got there.

the orchard spans several acres, at its highest point you can see the tips of the catskill mountains in the distance.  it’s an orchard where you can get lost in, an orchard perfect for playing hide and seek, an orchard where you can take it all in. and on the day we went, the clouds floating in the sheer blue sky just seemed to tickle the highest branches of the fruit laden trees.

and in case you’re sick of apples, they’ve got some pumpkins strewn out front, a berry patch in the back, and even a guy cooking up some pizzas in a portable woodfire oven (not pictured).

pomme pomme inspiration

i have this habit of picking up pretty brochures and things from pastry boutiques and restaurants while i travel.  i stuff them into some deep dark corner of my bag, along with the hotel folios and ticket stubs.  i tell myself that one day, they’ll make for good material if i ever take up scrap-booking. of course, i never actually do and i end up throwing out the whole lot.

i finally decided to tackle my “vacation” pile last night and came upon some of said brochures.  thought i’d post the one from joel robuchon in roppongi hills.  it’s filled with all sorts of delicious ideas about pastry and apples from normandy and brittany (and if you jump on a plane to tokyo now, you can still catch the last 2 weeks of joel robuchon’s normandy and brittany pastry offering!!!)

there’s a better picture of the pithiviers á la pomme that i had posted previously (and mislabeled as a chausson aux pommes).  the cake au caramel, noix et pomme pictured next to the pithiviers is kinda calling out, “make me, make me,” right now . . .


apple picking, apple muffins and apple cake pudding

we went apple picking this weekend at soons orchard in new hampton, ny.  it’s about an 1.5 hour drive from downtown manhattan.  they’ve got several varieties of apples on hand whose picking availability varies from week to week.  the first few times hubs and i went, i did the whole orchard exploration thing.  walking up and down every single apple tree row, sampling the apple varieties straight from the tree from time to time.  we were fairly efficient on this occasion.  i made a beeline for the fuji apples at the back of the orchard, then picked a few golden delicious because they are great for baking, and finally topped off  my 1/2 bushel with a few red delicious (they look rather different when not schlacked in wax).  soons also has got a country store at a different site, not too far away, that sells the most amazing apple pie.  we skipped it this time around, as it was hot out and we didn’t want the pie to be sitting in the car as we ran other errands around town.

when we finally got home, i unpacked the apples and stacked them up on a half sheet tray — as it was the only container i could find in my house, large enough to hold them.  they’re still hanging out there right now.  i pick one up to crunch on every now and then, but i’m thinking that if i let them mellow out there for a while longer, i might just start getting that delicious apple fragrance that used to greet me in the vestibule of the old Bouley restaurant .  . .

the next day, i decided to whip up an apple bundt cake. i think i got a bit too carried away dropping apples into the batter, that it ended up looking a bit full.  i scooped some of the batter out, and placed it into a muffin cup.  i guess i had some foresight because that was the only part of the apple cake batter that survived intact.  my bundt cake fell apart, in a rather unrecoverable manner, as i unmolded.   hubby thinks that my baking skills are a bit rusty, having traipsed around asia for a few weeks.   my own forensic investigations lead me to believe that it fell apart because i was in too much of a rush while making it.  against my own better advice, i  tried to unmold the cake before i had let it sit in the bundt pan for 15 minutes first; and i tried to butter the bundt pan before it was completely dry (resulting in a watery buttered bundt cake).  for good measure, i probably should have floured the bundt pan as well — but i skipped that to save time.  UGH!!!

well at least the lone leftover batter muffin remained, and i ate it the next morning for breakfast.  not bad.  moist with soft apple chunks.  would definitely make it again.

now, with a ton of crumbly apple bundt cake remains on my hands, i tried to figure out a way to transform it, as i was loath to toss it.  i decided to experiment with making an apple cake pudding, so to speak, i.e. a bread pudding but made out of cake remains.

an hour of baking later, i had myself a rather generous tray of apple cake pudding.  it smelled fantastic.  i reserved two small ramekins of the stuff for hubs and i to taste. quite delicious when hot out of the oven.  hubs took the rest to work the next day, and it ended up being consumed heartily even cold. i suppose that’s a good sign and a happy ending for my apple tale.

Apple Muffins / Bundt Cake
(probably makes about 20 muffins or one 9 inch bundt cake)

Milk 2 cups
Eggs 2 large ones
Butter 2 sticks, melted
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Flour 2 ½ cups
Sugar 1 cup
Baking powder 2 tbsp
Baking soda 1 tsp
Salt A pinch
Nutmeg 1 tsp
Oats 2 cups
Apples 4 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and cubed
Pecans ½ cup, crushed
Chocolate Chips 1 cup
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.  Flour and butter bundt pan if using, prepare muffin cups.
  2. Pour flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment.  Mix together slowly (about 30 seconds).
  3. Pour in milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract.  Whisk together until just combined.
  4. Add in Oats and continue to mix for 20 seconds.
  5. Turn off mixer.  Fold in apples, pecans and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
  6. Transfer into bundt pan or muffin cups.
  7. Bake muffins for 30 minutes and bundt cake for approximately 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Wait 15 minutes for bundt cake to cool in pan before unmolding to cool on rack.

Now if you’re clumsy enough like me to have the cake fall apart on you, here’s what you can do . . .

Apple Cake Pudding
(a 9×12 inch baking dish)

Eggs 2 large eggs
Egg yolks 3 yolks
Half and Half 3 cups
Sugar 1/3 cup
Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  1. Take cake remains (from above — you can probably make this with any cake remains, assuming you’ve got about 3/4 of the recipe left), spread out in baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  You’re trying to crisp the edge of the cake and de-moisturize it a bit. [Most bread pudding recipes are based on using stale bread, as it absorbs the pudding better].
  2. Heat half and half in a small saucepan until it just comes to a boil.
  3. While heating, whisk together eggs, yolks and sugar in the bowl of your standmixer using the whisk attachment on lowest speed.
  4. Turn up the speed to the highest setting and pour in 1/4 up the hot milk. [We’re tempering eggs here].  Whisk for about 20 seconds. Then pour in the rest of the half and half.
  5. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan and allow it to reduce for about 3 minutes, stirring constant.
  6. Turn off heat and pour in vanilla extract.
  7. Pour the custard you have just made into the baking dish container the toasted cake remains.  Place a few sliced apples on top (i used about 3 apples), or whatever else you fancy, dot with butter and sprinkle on some sugar.
  8. Bake the dish at 300ºF for about 1 hour.  You’re looking for the pudding to set.

baked golden kiwis and blueberries in an apple and pear tart

i started to mess about the kitchen the other day and ended up making a variation on my apple & pear tart.  i added blueberries and golden kiwis to the center of the tart.   my true aim laid in testing what baked golden kiwis might taste like.  they are absolutely delicious fresh — a kiwi without the traditional tartness of a green kiwi.  turns out that they are not bad baked. i did lose the lightness and juiciness of fresh kiwis, but baking kiwis ain’t a bad option when you’ve forgotten to eat them and they’ve gotten to be a wee bit too ripe.