I think most food bloggers have a list of recipes stored somewhere that they want to try one day. For some, it’s pages clipped from a magazine or flags on pages in cookbooks while others manage their list online. Me? Well, my list exists almost completely in my head. Let’s be clear – this is not exactly the best strategy. I have the worst memory ever so it’s nearly impossible to recall where I saw a particular recipe when I’m actually ready to make it. Luckily, I have friends who are a lot more organized than me. I wanted to bake with apples recently and within a few minutes of asking my buddy Nancy if she had any recipes bookmarked, she sent me several great options. I scanned them all and wound up choosing the simplest one on that particular day, this apple cinnamon buttermilk cake.
This is one of those lovely cakes you can whip up quickly at the last minute and it’s always nice to have recipes like that in your repertoire. It’s a one-layer cake without any frosting, but don’t let its simplicity fool you; it’s fantastic. It’s moist and tender, with just a bit of tang from the buttermilk and lots of apple goodness. I wouldn’t skip the sprinkling of raw sugar and cinnamon on top of the batter just before the cake goes in the oven. I loved the extra cinnamon flavor and the slight crust the sugar formed as it baked. For me, the cake was best just slightly warm (straight from the oven or after 10-15 seconds in the microwave), but I think it’d be equally as good at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s a definite repeat here this fall, especially since I still have a ton of apples to use!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup peeled and chopped apple (I used one medium Cortland)
heaping tablespoon of turbinado sugar
extra cinnamon for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray (specifically, the kind with flour in it) or butter and flour the pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg to the mixer and beat well. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (so dry, buttermilk, dry, buttermilk, dry). Beat only until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Scatter the apple pieces evenly over the top of the cake batter then sprinkle evenly with raw sugar. Finally, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for ten minutes, then turn it onto a wire rack to cool.