salted apple cake

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i’m currently in ithaca, ny — home to cornell university, and also home to a huge annual apple festival! the festival is in october (this cake is sorta seasonally inappropriate), but it’s one of the many cool events that take place in this tiny town. ithaca is small, and it’s in the middle of no where, but there’s so much going on that it doesn’t matter! gucci mane performed here a few weeks ago!! i still haven’t made my final decision regarding college, but cornell’s looking pretty amazing.

this cake uses a recipe from ovenly, a bakery in brooklyn. ovenly’s recipe makes a loaf cake, but i reformatted it to be a layer cake with brown sugar buttercream and a sweet & salty streusel baked into the top. it doesn’t have to be apple season for you to make this!

p.s. yes, i’m posting this during passover, yes, it’s leavened, and yes, most of my readers are jewish. yolo! i made/photographed it on saturday.

streusel

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds, plus more for topping

cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and diced apples (cubed into 1/2 inch pieces)

buttercream

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream

whipped cream

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

for the streusel, combine the butter, breadcrumbs, salt, and almonds in a small saucepan over medium heat. stir until the butter is melted and the breadcrumbs are toasty and fragrant, about 5 minutes. set aside.

for the cake, preheat the oven to 375º. grease a half-sheet pan and line with parchment paper. in a large bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, sugar, eggs, maple syrup, vegetable oil, and vanilla. in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined, then fold in the apples. pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the streusel. bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden and springy. let cool.

for the buttercream, beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until well combined. add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and beat for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. add the cream and beat for another minute.

to assemble, use a 6-inch cake ring to punch four circles and two semi-circles out of the apple cake. line the cake ring with wax paper, parchment paper, or acetate and place a cake board in the bottom. fit the two semi-circles into the cake ring, filling in any gaps with extra cake scraps. use the back of a spoon to spread on some buttercream. repeat with the four cake layers. freeze for at least 12 hours.

before serving, make the whipped cream. beat the cream in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and whip until stiff peaks form. transfer to a piping bag fitted with a closed star tip. decorate the cake with a border of whipped cream and sprinkle with almonds.

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