Fall and baking seem to go hand in hand. So, when I was approached by the folks at Cake Boss asking me to review one of their new products, I agreed, since not only would I have an excuse to try something new, but I could also take some fall flavors for a spin.
Fall has always been my favorite season. I'm sure it has something to do with having a fall birthday, plus all the best holidays happen in the final quarter of the year. But I also love the cooler weather, the crispness of the air, the crunch of the fallen leaves underfoot, and the earlier sunsets. I like how the earth seems more still, quieter, more revealing of its secrets.
Another thing I love about fall is its flavors: apple, pear, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, spiced chocolate, earthy greens, and warming stews rich with root vegetables.
I tend to do a lot more baking in the fall and winter than during the rest of the year, and try out lots of new recipes. (Tis the season for putting on one's winter coat, yes? I have probably aided hundreds of people in the winter-layer department over the course of the past few years.)
I chose the molded Flower Cakelette Pan for my product test because I have a little lady at home who LOVES all things flowers. And I chose to make this apple cake because it's the first day of fall and it's high time I made something with apples.
I've got to say that I am extremely happy with both the recipe and the cake pan. (Recipe follows below.) The cake pan, which makes six individual cakes at a time, performed beautifully. Because I am a paranoid baker, I used cooking spray AND flour in the molds to prevent sticking (even though the pan is nonstick). I didn't really need to do that, because the cakes released beautifully and had cooked evenly. My only complaint (and I think this is user error, really -- it will just take more trial and error) is that my cakes puffed up like muffins and I had to trim about half an inch off the bottom of each so that they would lie flat on a plate. (The Husband gladly batted cleanup on the cake bottoms, though.)
If you're interested in learning more about the new Cake Boss line of products, you can check out the launch event at your nearest Michael's store on Saturday, September 28 from 10am-noon. (There's more information on Twitter and Facebook, too.)
You'll get a chance to spin the Cake Roulette, maybe win some prizes, and pick up a few recipes and baking tips.
Roasted Apple Spice Cakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted minimally from Smitten Kitchen
Yields 12 individual cakes
1. Place the apple halves face-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes. When they are done roasting, set them aside to cool. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
2. While the apples are roasting, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey and applesauce and set aside.
4. Using the paddle attachment on your electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition.
6. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding the flour mixture and honey mixture into the mixing bowl. Blend until just incorporated.
7. Chop the apples into 1/2-inch chunks and fold them into the batter.
8. Spoon the batter (a little less than 2/3 cups per mold) into the cake pan.
9. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
10. When a tester comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven and let the cakes rest for about 10 minutes.
11. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack, wipe down the pan, and cook the second half of the batch.
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1. Blend the butter and cream cheese in the mixer until smooth and fluffy (lumps are gross; make sure all the lumps are gone).
2. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix until incorporated.
3. Add the powdered sugar gradually, taking care not to let it fly all over your counters and floors. Mix until fully incorporated and the frosting is nice and airy.
4. Place a generous dollop of frosting on top of each cakelette.
5. Eat and enjoy!
Frequent Chronicle contributor Melanie Haupt blogs about baking at My Rubberbandball / Baking and Bloviating, where a version of this story was originally posted.
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