I’ve been loving the fall flavors lately, even though we’re safely settled in the month of December now and I should be thinking more along the lines of gingerbreads and Christmas cookies. Maple and apple and warm toasted nut flavors just pull me in and I can’t say no. This cake is another along the lines of those warm, spicy fall flavors, with an emenating warmth that wraps you up and makes you feel so very happy.
I made this cake the weekend after Thanksgiving on another one of my very early mornings awake and alone in the kitchen. It filled the whole house up with such wonderful aromas, and despite a few tweaks and attempting to cut the recipe (and 3 eggs) in half, it still baked up beautifully.
The crumb topping gets all nice and golden in the oven, and the cake takes on a wonderful texture. I can’t stand coffee cake that is dry or that crumbles easily, so I’m always in search of a recipe that has classic coffee cake flavors and textures – like buttery crumb topping – but maintains a moistness throughout. This cake definitely does that, but has an added depth of earthy sweetness from the maple syrup, a good crunch from the walnuts, and wonderful bursts of tender apple.
Below is the recipe from the book, with a few additions from me. For the real thing, you should definitely check out The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook – it’s one of our family favorites.
Maple Apple Coffee Cake
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 ¾ tsps baking powder
1 ¾ tsps baking soda
1/3 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cinnamon
tiny pinch of cloves (optional)
½ cup plus 2 tbsps butter, melted
1 ½ cups maple syrup
3 eggs, beaten
2 tbsps vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 ½ cups roughly chopped Granny Smith apples (I used Macintosh because I had them on hand)
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup cold butter
¾ cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8 x 12-inch baking pan
1) Sift the dry ingredients together on a large square of waxed paper (I just sifted them into a bowl).
2) In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients except the apples.
3) Add the sifted dry ingredients to the bowl and mix just enough to blend. Fold in apples and pecans. Do not overmix.
4) Pour the batter into the prepared buttered pan.
5) In a small bowl, blend the crumb topping mixture together until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and it crumbles. This is easy to do with your hands, but you can also use a pastry blender.
6) Sprinkle the crumb topping mixture over the batter. Bake for about 50 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.