Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apple Streusel Cake with Almonds

It's apple-picking season, and my favorite month of the year to cook or bake with apples, with so many varieties to choose from and enjoy.  Just a touch of almond-flavored liqueur (amaretto) goes a long way in this recipe, and pairs beautifully with the taste of the apples.

For the streusel:
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegan brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
For the cake:
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/4 cup Tofutti cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto (such as Disaronno)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan buttermilk*
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 and 1/2 cups thinly sliced and peeled Braeburn apple
1. To start, prepare the streusel topping: combine 2 tablespoons flour in a bowl with the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Cut in 1 tablespoon butter with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Stir in the almonds, and set aside.

2. To prepare the cake, combine the sugar, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Beat at medium speed until smooth.  Add the amaretto, vanilla extract, almond extract, and Ener-G egg; beat until combined.

3. Lightly spoon 1 and 1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour in a bowl with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

4. Pour the batter into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.  Tap the pan sharply against the counter once to remove any air bubbles.  Arrange the apple slices over the batter (any pattern will do, but I find a spoke-like pattern of concentric circles to be the prettiest).  Sprinkle with the streusel topping.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes - a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.  Cut into 9 wedges.

Note: if you lose a bit of the streusel when inverting from the pan, fret not. Just sprinkle back on top once you have the cake right-side up once more.   

*If you're not a big amaretto fan, or just don't want a huge bottle sitting around, small "airplane" size liquor bottles are perfect for this kind of recipe, where only a tablespoon or two is needed.

**Make your buttermilk by placing 2 and 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Fill with enough plain non-dairy milk to equal 3/4 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes so the mixture can clabber (sour) before adding to the recipe as directed.

Nutrition Info:
9 servings (1 wedge), Calories 277 

Tasting Notes:
The layered apple slices on top of the batter kept the cake underneath wonderfully moist. A great triple-dose of almond, from the crunchy sliced almonds in the streusel on top, to the amaretto and extract on the inside. This was a burst of apple and brown sugar in every bite - a perfect coffee cake.  The streusel topping kept this quite different from an Apple Cake with Almonds that I prepared on this blog last fall, but if you prefer icing to streusel, be sure to check out that post.


If you have leftover Braeburn's, fret not. They're one of the best apples just for snacking on.

Some of my other favorites this fall have been Golden Delicious;


and Galas.

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