Humidity and I are not friends. Sure, I love visiting tropical places and can deal with humidity just fine on a short term basis, but this summer in Seoul has been pretty unpleasant, with all the heat and humidity of the tropics, but none of the beach and fruity drinks.
Baking has been the last thing on my mind for the past couple weeks, but when I opened the door the other day and felt cool air (cool and DRY, even!) I immediately started thinking about fall baking – bring on the apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin!
I made an unsuccessful attempt at apple upside down cake awhile ago; I cut the apple slices too thinly and they ended up getting lost in the batter. The flavor was great, though, so had to take another stab at this cake. The whiskey-soaked raisins and cinnamon bring those great fall flavors, and the brown sugar and apple topping makes it just a little more special than typical apple cake.
It’s not as pretty as pineapple upside down cake (the lack of artificially colored fruit may have something to do with it), but it has a rustic charm and great flavor to welcome the cooler weather I’m so excited about.
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 or 2 apples
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup minced apple (in 1/4″ cubes)
Between 8 and 12 hours before you plan to bake the cake, combine the raisins and whiskey in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
For the topping, peel the apple and slice crosswise into slices about 1 cm thick. With a paring knife, carefully cut a small circle in the center (around the seeds) and remove it so you’re left with a doughnut shaped slice. You may need to use more than one apple to have enough slices to fill the bottom of the pan.
Put a 9″ cake pan with sides at least 2″ high (probably best not to use a springform pan in case of leaks) on a burner over low heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and stir well until butter is melted and the mixture is uniform. Arrange the apple rings in the sugar mixture with one in the center and the others around the outside.
To make the cake, cream the butter and add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and mix well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter in 3 parts, alternating with milk.
Gently fold in the raisins and minced apple, then spoon into the cake pan so that the apples and topping mixture are completely covered.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a knife in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.