The other day I was watching a mainstream morning news program that will remain nameless (OK, fine, its name begins with a ‘T’ and ends in an ‘oday’).
The anchors were working with an ‘Idea Specialist’, who was sharing her thoughts on how to pass the time should you find yourself temporarily without power.
Aside from my feelings on someone referring to themselves as an ‘Idea Specialist’ and the fact that the very audience to whom she was speaking was notably, you know, WITHOUT THE POWER TO SEE HER, I found myself transfixed by the suggestions that were being tossed around: Turn each room in your house into a different vacation destination! Speak in code! Do everything backwards and act like you like it!
While I am willing to do everything backwards, I’m just not sure that I love the part about being told that I need to like it…
But I kept listening, because, as with so many things on TV these days, I just can’t look away.
And then I realized: I want to be an Idea Specialist, too! I want to travel the land slinging my sweet intellectual gems! I want to share my ideas with the world via Matt Lauer and Al Roker!
How can I get started?
I guess I’ll need some, uh, ideas…
So I’m starting with the idea of this cake.
Because it’s November. And we’ll be spending the coming weeks doing a fair amount of traveling, celebrating, baking, cooking, family mealing, shopping, wrapping, gifting, caring and sharing.
And that doesn’t even include today’s task of electioning! Ohhh the electioning…
We’re going to need some fuel. Like, binders and binders full of fuel.
Today’s fuel comes in the form of an apple-stuffed, spice-laden, streusel-dripping cake. Do you feel those tanks filling?
I may have previously mentioned that I take my streusel very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that I like to use an embarrassing amount of it when I make a cake like this.
So, to save you and I both from a trip to Dignity Jail, I crafted a batter this is light as air, and a streusel that is, literally, heavy on the butter. This way, while baking, the streusel sinks to the bottom of the cake – it’s hidden underneath the batter! Until it’s hidden in your tummy!
And there you have it. A cake that allows you to fuel up and simultaneously keep your streusel top secret.
Yes. Top secret streusel. That’s what I vote for.
Sunken Streusel Apple Spice Cake
For the cake:
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. white sugar, granulated
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. canela, ground (ground cinnamon may be substituted)
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 c. apples, peeled, cored, shredded
lemon juice, freshly squeezed (Just like when I’m working with avocados, I always immediately toss peeled apple pieces with fresh citrus juice to keep the flesh from browning. You can opt to skip this step if the browning doesn’t bother you, but if you do choose to use the juice, you’ll need just half of a large lemon.)
For the streusel topping:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, cubed
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper and set aside.
To prepare the topping, place the cubed butter, sugar and flour in a small bowl and use your fingers to mash it all together; the finished streusel should look like large chunks of brown sugar. Set aside.
Meanwhile, to prepare the cake batter, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, canela/cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl. In another larger bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and continue to mix. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk and mixing just until you have a homogeneous batter. Fold in the apple. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top evenly with the streusel. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden brown and the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan. Remove finished cake and serve immediately, preferably with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream, or store covered for up to 4 days.
YIELD: approximately 16 large pieces