In my world October = Apple Season, a time I look forward to every year as the season’s fresh crop of MacIntoshes, Cortlands, and Macouns make their way from tree to market. It’s a time of year that practically begs for cinnamon and ginger spiced baked goods and this one plays right into everything that’s best about apple season.
When my parents visited a few weeks ago they brought a basketful of Honeycrisp apples from Beak & Skiff, my favorite orchard Upstate. I love eating them just as they are, but I recently came across this column from Bon Appetit and learned that they’re good for baking too.
I remembered the Cherry & Blueberry Buckle I made over the summer and decided to see if I could adapt it into a more traditional coffee cake. As the name suggests, Honeycrisp are on the sweeter side and since the topping I was planning on has plenty of sugar too I knew I’d need a cake that would balance and compliment those two elements.
I decided that using Greek yogurt - in place of the classic sour cream - would be a great way to make really moist cake with just a hint of tartness and when Mike brought home a few cups of Chobani’s seasonal Apple Spice I knew we were in business.
A heads up on the batter – it looks like there won’t be enough that you’ll never mange a whole cake, let alone one with two “layers”. My advice is to use an off-set spatula or a butter knife to spread the batter like frosting over the bottom of the pan and later the apple layer. As the cake bakes the batter rises a little and surrounds the apples while the sugar and spice layer melts and crystalizes.
The resulting cake with its center layer of tender apples, and a crunchy, spicy, sugary crust is just what October ordered.
Spicy Apple Yogurt Cake (yield: one cake, serves 6-8 ppl)
Sugar & Spice Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) room temperature unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt
1/8 cup 2% or whole milk
3 cups (2 medium apples) apple, peeled, thinly sliced
9” spring form pan
Sugar & Spice Topping Instructions:
In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and salt. Add diced butter and combine with your fingers until mixture comes together to form a texture like damp sand; refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 350°. To prepare the pan butter the inside of a 9” spring form cake pan and place a disk of parchment paper cut to size in the bottom. Butter the parchment paper and lightly dust the interior of the pan with flour. Tap out any excess flour.
In a small bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt, and flour. Set aside.
Next, in a medium bowl, beat sugar and room temperature butter using an electric mixer on high speed until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla just to combine, about 2 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in stages until just mixed. Last, in a liquid measuring cup whisk together Chobani Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt and milk and then mix into batter just to combine. The resulting batter consistency will be like thick frosting.
Peel, core, and cut two medium Honeycrisp apple into half, then thinly slice, about 1/8” thick.
Spoon half batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with a butter knife or off-set spatula. Next arrange the apple slices to cover the bottom layer of batter – if the apples are very juicy sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour. Top with the second half of the batter spread it evenly across the apples. Place the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet and evenly crumble the chilled sugar and spice mixture over the top.
Bake until the sugar and spice is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–70 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool before unmolding and serving.
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, to a degree. The recipe as written calls for three bowls (two small, one medium), an electric mixer, measuring cups & spoons, a spring form pan, and a baking sheet.
However, if bowl supplies are limited it’s easy to switch the order of prep and re-use the dry ingredient bowl to make the topping, or just shake the dry ingredients together in a ziplock. If a fancy presentation isn’t essential – and this is a rustic type of cake – then using a regular cake pan is a good option too.
My expert team of taste-testers were unanimous: the Apple Spice Coffee Cake is addictively delicious. The apples and crunchy spice topping were meant for each other. And, extra bonus: on the off chance that there are leftovers that escape hungry people for more than 24 hours (doubtful) the cake stays lovely and moist.