I’m totally in apple mode this month. Even though I love them all year round, there’s just something about September that makes me go apple crazy. It’s kind of funny, but it usually leaves me a little bit late on the whole “pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING” bandwagon. I just can’t shake that apple craving until at least the end of the month. Today’s apple cinnamon coffee cake was born out of my attempt to recreate something I remember having in New England. There is this apple pie bread that my father used to get from a little bakery in Maine. Although I haven’t given up on that one (and you may see it this month yet), Chris and I both agreed that my last attempt was too cake-like to really qualify as a quick bread. All of a sudden it struck me. Even though that particular recipe was a miss on the bread, it was a total hit for coffee cake. But to find out for sure, I had to give it one more shot just to make sure it was going to work out the way that I wanted it to.
I figured if I was going to make it again to turn it into coffee cake, I’d add a little bit more cinnamon flavor to the batter. And the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to do something different than the usual crumb coffee cake topping. Why not a glaze? But, not just any glaze. No, the only glaze that would do was a cinnamon spiced glaze. So, while the coffee cake cooled, I pulled out the powdered sugar, milk, cinnamon and some softened butter. I’ve seen some glazes made without the butter, but I’ll tell you, it gives the glaze more body when you use it. It turns out a little bit thicker and it holds up better when you
dig your spoon in it drizzle it on your baked goods. I mean, how can you beat that drizzle, right?
I was so excited to turn this recipe into a coffee cake that it wasn’t until AFTER I put it in the oven that I realized I forgot to line the pan. I always line my pans with parchment paper when I bake any kind of cake because it just helps it release evenly. When I took it out of the oven, I paced nervously wondering if it was going to come out of the pan. I let it cool for about 20 minutes to see if the bottom would naturally separate from the pan and I cut a small square out of the corner. I was rewarded with a perfect little square of apple cinnamon coffee cake deliciousness.
I couldn’t believe how soft and delicate the cake turned out. One word of advice, though. Don’t rush it. I know that a lot of coffee cake recipes bake at 350 degrees. The crumb topping usually adds enough bulk to the top to help it rise evenly. However, without that crumb top, I didn’t want this cake to mound up in the middle. I turned the temperature down to 325 degrees instead, and baked it for 55 minutes. In retrospect, I probably could have taken it out at about 50 minutes, because the top cracked a bit (as you can probably see in the pictures), but that was really the only issue. So, slow down and your patience is sure to be rewarded. I mean, just look at that texture:
- FOR THE CAKE:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- 4 apples, peeled and diced (I used 2 tart apples and 2 sweeter apples)
- FOR THE GLAZE:
- 2 tablespoons soft butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 to 6 tablespoons milk
- FOR THE CAKE:
- Cream together the butter and granulated sugar until it is light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs individually, mixing until each is thoroughly incorporated.
- Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
- Alternate the dry ingredients and the milk into the butter, sugar and egg mixture. Stir just until everything is incorporated. Don’t over-mix it so it doesn’t come out tough.
- Fold the apples into the batter, then spread in a 9x9 square pan.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack.
- FOR THE GLAZE:
- Combine the butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt, then mash it together with a fork.
- Pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk and mix with a whisk.
- Add more milk until the glaze reaches the consistency you want.