Cupcake Ranking: 4 Cupcakes
I have to admit. I was very skeptical. Apples? In between layers of a molasses cake? I dunno. But, my sister in law came into town and brought a bunch of dried apples (thanks Sam). Anyway, surprisingly DELICOUS. I guess this is a traditional cake in Kentucky. The cake was like a big chewy gingersnap and the apples tasted like really quality apple pie filling. For some reason, between the gingery chewey goodness of the cake and the tart cinnamon apples, it worked and reminded me of a bread pudding or fruit crisp. We served with whipped cream and I swear we had it for breakfast the next day.
5 C Dried Apples (about 3/4 pound)
5 C Apple cider
1 2/3 C Granulated sugar
1 C (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened, plus more for pans
3 C sifted all-purpose Flour, plus more for pans
1 large Egg
1 C unsulfured Molasses
1 C Buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Bring apples and cider to a boil in a large pot. Reduce to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to soften and liquid has reduced, 40 to 50 minutes (This took me about 35 minutes). Add 1 cup water; cook, mashing apples slightly, until liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water; simmer until apples are very soft and coated in syrup, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.
Put butter and the remaining cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; mix in egg, molasses, buttermilk, baking soda, flour, spices, and salt.
Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean and tops spring back when lightly touched, about 35 minutes (This took me about 21 minutes). Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans to loosen; invert to unmold. Remove parchment; reinvert onto racks. Let cool.
Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 bottom layer on a serving platter. Top with 1/3 of the apple mixture, spreading to edges. Stack 1 top layer on top of apples, and top with another 1/3 of the apple mixture. Repeat with remaining cake bottom and apples, and top with remaining cake top. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving (This step is super important. If you don't let the cake soak up some of the apple-y goodness it will seem a tad dry). Sift confectioners' sugar over top of cake.
As I mentioned before, this cake seems kinda different. But it is a home-y warm feeling cake. We really liked it with whipped topping and would be great in the fall or winter. It tasted very old fashioned and reminded me of Sunday nights with my family when I was growing up.