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9.24.2012

Spiced Apple Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

On the first day of autumn you make spiced apple walnut cake with cream cheese icing.


You just do.

And if you're me, you get so excited about drizzling the cream cheese icing over the moist (sorry) and aromatic apple cake that you can't possibly wait for its consistency to reach "smooth" in the food processor.  And then you go around assuring your family that you've made a cake with cream cheese icing, not blue cheese icing.

Ugh.  Some day I will slow down.  Some day.

Now that the weather has a touch of crisp to its feel, it's the perfect time to fill your kitchen with the smell of spiced apples and pure love.  Somehow a Saturday set aside for bathroom cleaning and kitchen scrubbing feels a lot more lovely if you've got maple-walnut-apple-y smells in the background replacing the icky, Lysol-y ones.

Let it be said that I am obsessed with the maple-walnut-apple action going on here.  And I want to bathe in the creamy cream cheese icing, or at least use is as a face mask.  Um, yeah, I totally would.

Yesterday my extended family got together to celebrate a few birthdays, including my Dad's (Hi Dad!).  I think the only thing better than spending the first full day of fall with family (I wanted to add two more Fs there but I also wanted you to keep reading and not imagining punching me in the face) is spending the day with family and ending it with sweet, dense, apple cake and espresso that my Dad brewed just for me and him.

I made him make it decaf because I'm an old lady and can't handle it.  Quite often I'm a brat.  Because I'm aware of that fact, I decided not to get my camera in people's faces and photograph their cake slices, but I can assure you the insides ooze with walnuts and apples packed in rich maple cake.  Just super.

This cake is delicious.  This cake is what you do.  Get it in your life and go nuts, people.




Spiced Apple Walnut Cake
with
Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Yields 10-12 servings
Ingredients:
Cake
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 c light maple syrup
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 c light brown sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
1 tbs vanilla extract
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 c chopped walnuts
Icing
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 c half and half
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 tbs water, plus extra as needed
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 deg F.  Coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together the apples, maple syrup, eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

Mix the dry ingredients into the apple mixture in batches of 1/3 at a time.  Stir in the walnuts.


Pour the mixture into the pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.


For the icing, combine the sugar, half and half, cream cheese, water, and vanilla in a food processor.  Process until smooth, adding more water until the icing is pourable.

Spoon the icing over the cake and allow to set for 20 minutes before slicing.

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