Use the good apples, the ones you paid a fortune for at the farmer's market. Since there are no spices, the apples and rum are the predominate flavors, so using the good stuff makes a better cake.
Bakers Notes: First, don't be put off by the long recipe, this cake comes together pretty quickly once you prepare the apples. I really had to restrain myself from adding some spice, the rum and apples do provide plenty of flavor, but still, next time I may add a bit of nutmeg or mace, just to kick it up a notch. For company, I'd serve a caramel sauce alongside.
Drunken Apple Cake
adapted from Warm Bread and Honey Cake: Home Baking from Around the World, which I learned about on Leite's Culinaria
For the filling:
- 1 ½ pounds tart apples (about 5 medium-sized apples)
- Generous ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
- Generous 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 5 tablespoons rum (any rum will do, I used a dark Bicardi )
- 5 tablespoons water
Make the apple filling:1. Peel and core the apples. Cut each apple into 8 wedges and then cut each wedge lengthwise into slender slices. Or use a mandoline if you have one, the slices should be pretty thin.
2. In a bowl, combine the sugar and cream. Add the apples. Set aside until needed.
Make the batter:1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9" or 9½" springform pan and dust with flour, or use a baking spray.
2. Whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt and set aside.
3. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl, either with an electric mixer or by hand, until smooth and creamy. Add the lightly beaten eggs to the butter mixture in 4 batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Gently fold in the flour in 4 batches, adding the rum and water with the third batch. Stop mixing as soon as the last batch of flour is incorporated.
4. Divide the batter into 3 portions. You can eyeball it (I did, worked great), but each portion should be about 1 cup or so. Scrape ⅓ of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface, a small offset spatula works well. Spread half the apple mixture evenly on top, leaving a ½-inch plain border around the edge and smoothing the slices so they’re neatly level. Scrape another ⅓ of the batter on top of the apples and smooth the surface, spreading the batter all the way to the edge of the pan. Spread the remaining apple mixture evenly on top of the batter, and then top the apples with the third and final batch of batter, smoothing it all the way to the edge of the pan, which will be quite full.
5. Bake the cake for 1 ½ hours, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes, then release the sides of the pan and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
Your drunken apple cake will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days.