One of the best things I baked in 2014 was Marian Burros’ famous plum torte – such a wonderfully simple, undeniably delicious recipe. I think I may have found its counterpart for 2015: Marie Hélène’s apple cake.
Like the plum torte, it’s even named after its creator. That’s just how great some recipes are; homage must be paid. I proudly toted this cake to a friend’s birthday, but it got lost in a sea of sweets. The next day, however, I heard back from the hosts. They’d been packing up leftovers and brushing away stray crumbs when a taste of the apple cake made them stop in their tracks. “So good!” they cheered. “I wish we’d had more.” (I suspect the cake had intensified in flavor after sitting around for a day.)
The best part, of course, is the cake’s simplicity. Start with da best apples. I’d recommend using a tart variety, as the oven caramelizes and coaxes sweetness out of fruit so nicely. Cube and throw them into a pan of simple, buttery batter. Bake. You’ll be rewarded with one very moist cake, interspersed with warm, tender chunks of apple and topped with a lightly crackly shell. If the plum torte is summer in a bite, this apple cake is autumnal* through and through.
* Oh wait… is it spring? Are we far away from fall as temporally possible right now? Well, it is what it is. I am what I am.**
** A hot mess… but at least one who, at one time in her life, could bake a mean apple cake.
Marie-Hélène’s apple cake
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan at Epicurious