Dimply Apple Cake

September 29, 2008

Happily, some recipes trade glamour and offer instead reliability. It’s kind of like the little black dress hanging at the edge of your closet. (Men, take heart: there’s cake in this post for you, even if you can’t relate  to the metaphor with which I’m about to hit you over the head.) You know the dress, ladies: you rarely pull it out, usually buying a new dress for a special occasion—one you might only wear once. But when the moment is right, you know it’s there for you. You can pull it out with only a moment’s notice. You can dress it up or down and you can make it work in any season, with the addition or subtraction of nylons or a scarf (or, in the case of the recipe, a variety of fruits and spices).

This recipe is much like that black dress. It’s unassuming and simple but, when the occasion is right, it’s the perfect choice. The adaptations are endless and the recipe can serve as a culinary merry-go-round for the various fruits as they come into and whirl out of season. The recipe, well known to many of you in the food blogosphere, is Dorie Greenspan’s and in its original carnation it’s called Dimply Plum Cake—in the running for most charming recipe name ever, I’m sure.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

I went a different way with my plums this fall, but I still hoped to try this recipe. When I saw a crate of honeycrisps at the farmers’ market a week or so ago, I knew my chance had arrived. I traded the  original recipe’s ground cardamom for ground cinnamon (we’re talking apples here, people) and nestled wedges of blushing apples into the thick, creamy batter instead of plum rounds.

The result was unexpectedly elegant and undeniably lovely, just like—you guessed it!—a great little black dress. I packed the cake up and brought it with me to a family friend’s wedding in Michigan the weekend before last. Along with my favorite black dress, of course.

Dimply Apple Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups all purpose four
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
12 wedges of a medium-sized apple

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch square pan or glass pie plate and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil, lemon zest, vanilla and almond. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture. Pour the batter in the prepared dish, smooth the top and arrange the apple wedges on top.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

12 Responses to “Dimply Apple Cake”

  1. Audrey Says:

    I was hoping someone would try this apples! I’m so glad to know it worked – your cakes looks wonderful (and I like your metaphor!)

  2. Melissa Says:

    Ooh – I have enough apples left over from my Apple-a-Day Challenge last week that I might give this recipe a try. Sounds great!

  3. jamie Says:

    this looks so yummy! i have been trying to find different things to do with apples besides apple pie and apple crisp!

  4. Andrea Says:

    I tried this cake with peaches, which was good. The apples look fantastic! I really love your blog, by the way. I don’t know how you manage to post so consistently, but I’m glad you do! I’ve been spending the day snooping around your archives!

  5. Piper Says:

    I’ve been collecting recipes for apples – it’s apple time here in NE and the over abundance is beginning! Looks great!

  6. ronnissweettooth Says:

    I was all set to make something from smittenkitchen tomorrow, but you’ve convinced me to make this instead. It looks fantastic and I already have everything I need, including 2 big honeycrisps.

  7. Audrey: Thanks!

    Melissa: You only need one good-sized apple for this one!

    jamie: I know what you mean! I can’t ever find enough uses for apples in the fall.

    Andrea: Thanks for your lovely note! I have a suspicion that this cake would be more moist with peaches or other stone fruits, but the apples were lovely. I’ll have to give peach/plum/etc a try to compare. If you try this, I’d love to hear your thoughts on peach v apple.

    ronnissweettooth: Honeycrisps are my favorite apple of the moment. I think I also have a little hometown pride in them, because it was apparently “invented” at the University of Minnesota. Let us know how the cake turns out for you!

  8. cybercita Says:

    this looks beautiful. i think i’d substitute nutmeg for the cinnamon.

  9. Sara Says:

    I’ve made the plum version of this cake but would have never thought to substitute apples! It looks great.

  10. Tiffany Says:

    This looks delicious, and your timing is perfect! I have so many apples around, and am ready to try something beyond apple pie. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Mandy Says:

    I made this. And it turned out SO GOOD. Yum.

  12. cybercita: I think that would be lovely!

    Sara: I need to try the (original) plum version now to compare.

    Tiffany: If you try it, let us know how it goes!

    Mandy: Thanks for reporting back! Glad to hear it!

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