Shana tova!
September 30, 2019 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to make this honey cake with added apple. But how much apple? And how?

Folks in the comments mention possibly grated apple or finely diced apple chunks tossed in flour, but nobody talks about quantities or reports back.

Since it's already a fairly moist cake, I'm worried about overloading it with a wet fruit. But if I'm going to take the effort to peel and core and grate apples, I want to be able to taste it. I also like things that are sweet, but the last time I made a honey cake from AllRecipes or whatever, it was tooth-achingly sweet, so will the apples add too much sweetness?

Thoughts? Suggestions?
posted by joyceanmachine to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There's a lot of batter in that cake. Proportionally, I think you could get away with a cup to a cup and a half of floured dice - I wouldn't grate though. Here are some good thoughts on avoiding too much liquid. Use a tart apple and you should be fine.
posted by wellred at 12:40 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I made this cake yesterday, sans apple, and I would say it depends on what form you intend to bake it in. The recipe fills a big bundt pan completely and even puffed up beyond the edges. I don't think it could take additional volume. Instead, you could bake it in one of the other forms she suggests - multiple loaf pans, square pan, etc.

I would also suggest, if you think it would suit, to saute the apples with some sugar and cinnamon (not to mushiness) but I don't know if uncooked apples would work super well (cook out some of the moisture and rawness).

It's not a very sweet cake IMO but you could slightly reduce the sugar quantity if you wanted, or use a more tart apple.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:57 PM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is one of the things baking apples are for. They are less juicy and also won’t get mushy when baked.

(Granny Smiths and Braeburn are my best guess for a widely available baking apples. There might be amazing local varieties tho.)
posted by clew at 1:19 PM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

I make that very cake every Rosh HaShanah! It’s not super sweet, so I wouldn’t worry about the apples adding sweetness. I’d probably avoid grated apples because it might make the whole thing too wet. What I’d do is combine this recipe with an apple cake I also make, which uses thinly sliced apples (no need to peel.) You put 1/2 the batter in the pan, then layer on the apple slices, top with sugar & cinnamon, then the other 1/2 of the batter. That recipe uses 4 apples for a 9x9 pan, so for this massive cake, I’d do maybe 5 or 6. I think as long as they’re not too thick, they’d cook fine and not make the rest of it too moist.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:10 PM on September 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Well, we're past the holiday now, so this is too late, but for next year, if you are still wanting to experiment, a few things:

1. that particular cake does not need apples. Its plush, uniform crumb is part of the appeal and it's plenty moist, and it showcases honey flavor; apples would be a bit of a distraction. But it wouldn't be ruined by apples, if you really wanted apples in there. It's a big cake; it could easily take 2 apples, probably 3, in small dice.

2. use gala apples. They are the best for cake (tho I would never eat them raw.) In the time it takes the cake to bake, they cook to velvety-but-not-mushy texture that is lovely in the cake. You do not want something like a fuji or granny smith which are so great for raw out of hand eating but which remain hard in a cake.

3. There is no utility to flouring the apples but it can be very nice to toss them with some brown sugar before adding them.

4. for a fraction of the price and trickiness* of this cake, you can make apple hill cake which is freaking delicious and everyone loves. (I use 1 tsp baking soda and 2 tsp baking powder instead of 2 tsp baking soda, though. The original has too much baking soda to my taste.) It does not have the visual punch of a bundt, but nobody cares once they start eating. You can make it prettier with a drizzle of powdered sugar glaze.

*getting this or any honey cake out of a bundt pan is risky af. Sometimes it works and sometimes it just doesn't. Your best bet is a tube pan so you can put a ring of parchment down in the bottom. If not, you can try coating the inside of the pan with cake goop (mix shortening, flour and oil) but there's still a good chance that sucker ain't coming out whole. Of course you can also do the honey cake in loaves, and while they lack visual punch, you save yourself a LOT of bundt agita.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:58 PM on September 30, 2019

Thanks, folks! It turned out beautifully, even with shenanigans on my part (see below). For anybody reading this thread in the future:

- I ended up using about 2.5 (!) cups of roughly cuboidal-ish, peeled, and cored Braeburns, well-floured to keep them from sinking to the bottom, with a whole bunch of cinnamon. To be honest, I think I could have used even more apples. The texture is really nice -- thanks for the suggestion of Braeburns, clew!

- I ended up using one big loaf pan and one 8x8 square, well-greased and lined with parchment paper.

- Probably because of the apples, baking times were a little longer. It was closer to an hour for the 8x8 square, and 1:15 for the loaf pan to be fully cooked, though the edges got a little singed -- if I do the loaf pan next time, I'll probably try the trick that Deb Perelman mentions in another one of her honey cake articles about stacking two baking sheets on each other, and then putting the loaf pan on that. I had some problems with getting the batter in the bottom-middle-ish of the loaf pan cooked.

- I replaced all of the white sugar with turbinado.

- I added the zest from a good-sized orange.

- The recipe is pretty robust. I uh, totally forgot to put the eggs in until about 45 seconds after I'd put both pans in the oven, so I whipped them both out, and scrambled the eggs in a separate bowl, poured them on the batter, and then mixed the egg into the batter while holding my breath the whole time. And it still came out better than all right!

I'm definitely making DestinationUnknown's version next year!
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:02 AM on October 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

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