The good thing about the end of a vacation is that I have new memories of great new adventures with M. We had an incredible time exploring Portland and Seattle, both the local cultures and the food scenes.
The down side about the end of a vacation is seeing all those people in the airport so excited about the start of theirs. I wish I could join them and jet off to London, Barcelona, or Paris for their first trip to Europe. Oh, how I long for those days of being a student and be carefree with minimal responsibilities.
Alas, there will be no trip to Paris for us this summer, so baking something French is a good consolation prize. There are so many great choices, but I opted for a dessert made with apple–classic, slightly rustic, and simply delicious. Enjoy it with a dollop of sweetened créme fraīche, vanilla ice cream or simply with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Bon Voyage.
Mini French Apple Cake
yield: Six 3-inch cakes or one 9-inch cake
2 pounds (about 4) Granny Smith apples , peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8 inch thick crosswise
4 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs. room temperature
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Spray six 3-inch round cake pan (3-inch high) with cooking spray, line bottoms with parchment, grease parchment. Place prepared pan on rimmed baking sheet, set aside.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it turns golden brown, about 5-8 minutes; remove from heat and let cool slightly.
3. Place apple slices into microwave-safe pie plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave until apples are pliable and slightly translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Toss apple slices with 1 tablespoon of dark rum and lemon juice and let cool for 15 minutes.
4. Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk eggs, brown butter, milk, remaining 3 tablespoon of rum and vanilla together in second bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Using spatula, gently fold in cooled apples. Divide batter evenly between prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar evenly over cakes.
5. Bake until center of cake is set, toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top is golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool for 15 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of pan and invert cake from pan and cool on wire rack completely, about 1 hour.
Serve with a dollop of sweetened créme fraīche, vanilla ice cream or simply w a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Cakes can e refrigerate in airtight containers for 3 days; bring it to room temperature or warm cake in 350℉ oven for 10-15 minutes before serving.