Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Apple Coffee Cake

My first photo recipe blog!  I always thought these looked like fun, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I've really been into baking lately.  I was going to try a blog with my noodle hot dogs, but I didn't like how they came out. Yesterday afternoon, I made Apple Coffee Cake.  I got the recipe from Betty Crocker. I had a few problems with the assembly, but you can learn from my mistakes.

I've started writing my recipes on 4x6 cards, in preparation for the recipe box that I will one day own.  Since I've had a history of forgetting to turn on the oven until I'm ready to put the pan in (come on, you know you've done this), I write the oven temperature right next to the name of the recipe at the top of the card.  So my recipe title reads "Apple Coffee Cake 400F."  Helps me to remember to turn on my oven to preheat while I assemble my recipe.  I thumbtack the recipe to the wall next to my mixing area.

Here's the start: Bisquick, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg, just mixed together with a wooden spoon.  After reviewing the recipe (always read the whole recipe through a couple times before starting), I decided the Kitchenaide wasn't necessary, all the mixing can easily be done by hand.

This made me a little excited.  I don't often get to use my pastry knife. =)

I cut the butter into pats, and started cutting it in until crumbly (bottom).  It didn't take long.  The pastry knife got gummed up some, and I stopped a couple times to clean it off, but found that if I just kept going, it cleaned itself off. I set my crumb mixture off to the side, and started on my batter.

I was out of milk, so I borrowed some of Omar's Lactaid Milk.

Look!  I can crack an egg with one hand. 
I learned it from Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. "It's all in the wrist."

On the left is the batter just stirred together, to the right, after I beat it "vigorously for 30 seconds with spoon."

 Got my greased 9x9" pan.  Don't you hate it when you put the batter in (this is half the batter), and it looks like there's no way it will cover the whole pan?  All it takes is a little patience, though.  Notice I ditched the wooden spoon for a spatula.  It's a pretty sticky batter, so the spatula was much better for spreading.

 Apples!  I have always been horrible peeling apples by hand. The day I realized I could use the vegetable peeler was a Eureka! moment for me.

Apples layered on top of the batter, then sprinkled with half the crumb mixture from above. I've tried various methods of sprinkling crumb mixtures like this (using a spoon, gently shaking it out of the bowl), but I've found that the best method is just to use my clean hands.  Grab a handful and sprinkle!  This method gives me the most control.

Seeing as how the batter was so sticky, I knew the crumbs would stick to it.  My strategy was to put little blops all over, and then gently smooth out and connect the blops.  It didn't work.  Not only did the crumbs stick into the batter, the apples did too!  I was about ready to give up, I was so frustrated.  But I just kept trying, and ended up with the last photo on the bottom.  Please, if anyone has a better way to do this, let me know!

Luckily, there were more crumbs to sprinkle over the top and hide the imperfections! Also, chopped pecans.  The recipe said 2 Tbsp of chopped nuts, but that didn't look like enough to me.  So I added a little more.

While the coffee cake was in the oven, I cleaned up my kitchen, and gave the leftover apple bits to the kids for a snack.

Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean!

I love my little whisk! It's perfect for these small jobs like the glaze (also good for scrambling a couple eggs for the kids).  I started with 2tsp milk at the top right, but that was way too thick for drizzling.  I added the entire 3rd tsp, and that was perfect (bottom picture).

A couple practice drizzles in the bowl with my spoon, and then all over the cake!  Go faster for a thinner line, slower for a thicker line, but don't really worry about it too much, it looks beautiful in the end.

I recommend it served with a cup of Don Francisco's Vanilla Nut Coffee.  My favorite coffee!  The cake was pretty good, a little dry, but good flavor.  Love the cinnamon, brown sugar, and apples.

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