Saturday, October 31, 2015


Hier geht's zur deutschen Version dieses Posts (folgt noch)

I found the Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, October project of the ABC-Bakers, very intriguing. Topped with apples, sautéed in butter with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg - that sounds delicious!

A coffee cake is a bit of a strange concept for a German - aren't all cakes meant to be enjoyed with coffee? And what is a non-coffee cake? To gain more insight, I checked Wikipedia:

A one layer bundt coffee cake: Red Wine Cake 
"Coffee cake is a common cake or sweet is generally intended to be eaten with coffee or tea..... ". 

Hm! I can't really say I see any sense in singling out some cakes as suitable pairing for coffee or tea, and others - pies, tortes, bars? - are not.

But wait - here's more: "They are typically single layer cakes.....square, round or ring shaped.... flavored with cinnamon or other spices, nuts, and fruits. These cakes sometimes have a crumb topping called streusel".

Gotcha! This coffee cake is an impostor! Flavored with cinnamon and other spices, yes, but not one, but fancy three layers! 

My curiosity satisfied (and feeling good about myself) I went ahead and baked the cake, but couldn't resist the temptation to righteously call it a Not a Coffee Cake :)

Legitimate or not - we loved the cake with its spiced apple topping, soft, but not mushy, resting on a delicately flavored cream cheese layer that kept the cake from getting soggy - even after three days.

Legitimate coffee cake or not - we enjoyed it with coffee!

Changes & Comments:
  • My husband likes cinnamon, but not too much - I reduced it by half in the cake batter.
  • I don't like it too sweet - I took less of the overall sugar.
  • Substituting some of the white flour with whole grain (spelt)
  • I found small local tart apples, and did not peel them - unless the skin is very thick and tough, it's really not necessary, and, more important, most of the vitamins are in the skin
  • Trying to "lightly swirl" the cream cheese batter with the cake batter in order "to sort of fuse the two batters together" proved very awkward - I would just spread the cream cheese batter over the cake bottom.

I used small, tart, local apples, and did not peel them

SPICED APPLE CREAM CHEESE CAKE  (adapted from Christina Marsigliese's blog "Scientifically Sweet"
(8-10 servings)

163 g/1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 120 g AP + 43 g spelt flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I used only 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
85 g butter, softened
66 g/1/3 cup sugar (I used only 40 g)
71 g/1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (I used 35 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
50 g/1 large egg
1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 package (250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
50 g/1/4 cup sugar (I used 37 g)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 large egg yolk
3 g/1 tsp all-purpose flour

28 g/2 tbsp butter
3 whole cloves
1 kg/1 1/4 lbs tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Northern Spy (ca. 4 apples), cored, peeled and chopped into 1/3-inch/1-cm cubes (I used small local tart apples and didn't peel them)
26 g/2 tbsp sugar (I used 18 g/1 1/2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Cook apple pieces "al dente"

For the topping, combine apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium bowl.

Heat butter in large non-stick skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Add whole cloves (to infuse butter) and then add apple mixture. Cook, stirring often, until they just begin to soften (they shouldn't be mushy), about 3-5 minutes.

Transfer apples back to bowl, discard cloves, and leave to cool.

Mixing the cream cheese batter

For the cheesecake layer, beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth and creamy (I used a handheld mixer). Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until sugar is mostly dissolved, about 1 minute.

Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until combined. Add egg yolk and flour and beat just until incorporated and batter is smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325°F/165ºC. Lightly grease 20-cm/8-inch round springform pan with butter, and line bottom with parchment paper.

Whisking the dry ingredients is easier than sifting them

In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat butter with both sugars until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla until blended. Add egg, and beat until well incorporated, and batter is fluffy, about 30 seconds.

Fold the last portion of the flour with a rubber spatula into the batter

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until mostly combined, then add 1/2 of the evaporated milk, and mix until just blended. Repeat this step by adding another 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by remaining milk (beat only 15 seconds between additions).

After all milk has been added, beat on medium speed a few seconds to make sure batter is smooth. Then fold in last of the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, until combined.

Spoon dollops of cream cheese mixture over the cake bottom

Transfer cake batter into prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Spoon dollops of cream cheese mixture over cake batter, then gently distribute it with a wet rubber spatula.

Finally, scatter cooled apples in even layer over cream cheese.

Top cream cheese layer evenly with the cooked apples

Bake until cake is still a bit wobbly in the center, 45-50 minutes.

Transfer cake to wire rack and let cool completely in pan, before removing the ring.

It's a keeper!