Apple season is rapidly approaching full swing, and for the time being, I’m full of apple ideas. (Give it a few months.) One of my very favorite things to do with apples is carameleize them à la tarte Tatin.
Which I did, Saturday morning. However, I just couldn’t get excited about making the puff pastry for a tarte Tatin. Also, I only had four small apples, which wasn’t going to be nearly enough. What I wanted was a poundcake, but lighter, maybe made with some yogurt. So I tweaked the Ratio, a lot. As in, changed the leavener, removed some butter, added some brown sugar and bourbon, and of course the yogurt is not a traditional poundcake ingredient.
And it worked! Astoundingly well. We ate it for an afternoon snack and a few subsequent breakfasts, but it would be an excellent dessert, served warm with some crème fraîche or Greek yogurt alongside.
Apple Cake, Tatin-Style
For those fall days when you’re craving tarte tatin, but puff pastry or even pie dough seems like too much work, a quick brown sugar pound cake makes the perfect base for buttery, caramelized apples. (Which are also excellent on their own, or over ice cream.) A hit of bourbon feels right.
For the Tatin apples:
4 apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup / 50 g sugar
Splash of bourbon (optional)
- Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet. Add the sugar and cook until the sugar starts to melt. Place the apple quarters in the sauce and cook over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until evenly caramelized. Pour a little bourbon (if using) over the apples and cook a few more minutes to evaporate. Remove from heat.
For the cake:
4 oz. / 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. / 115 g sugar
3 oz. / 85 g brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. bourbon
8 oz. / 225 g all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
4½ oz. / 125 g plain yogurt
Tatin apples (see above)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C. Butter an 8”x8” / 20×20 cm (or approximate equivalent) baking dish. Combine the flour and baking soda in a bowl.
- In another bowl, cream the butter, sugars, and salt until fluffy. (You can use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment or your arm with a wooden spoon attachment.) Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and bourbon. Gently stir in half of the flour – I recommend doing this part by hand – then the yogurt, then the rest of the flour.
- Arrange the apples in the bottom of the baking dish, being sure to pour any excess caramel sauce over them. Pour the cake batter over the apples and even out the top.
- Bake until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes, rotating the dish halfway through baking. Remove from oven and cool 10-15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake with a small knife and turn it out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, for dessert, breakfast, or a snack. Cover leftover cake with foil – it will keep 3-4 days on the counter.
Serves about 8.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.