Monday, January 29, 2007

Acting as substitute baker...Ginger-Cardamom Applesauce Cake

A good friend sits in the cube next to mine at work. She has been baking and bringing in the results every Monday for a long time now. This week, she is in Florida, and I have been designated her substitute. Not a bad thing, of course - I don't get to bake as much as I'd like to.

The recipe I chose was from a new favorite source of mine, the Cook's Illustrated web site. I love the show, love the books of theirs I have (The New Best Recipe and The Best Light Recipe), so I decided to give in and sign up for an annual membership. The membership is $25, but I think it's worth it.

The recipe I decided to make called for apple cider (which I had), dried apples (which I had), and applesauce (which I didn't have). Call me a bit stubborn, but even though I try to cook light, I'm resistant to baking with applesauce as an oil substitute, because I've heard it makes baked goods gummy. Life's too short for gummy food! But since this is an applesauce cake, I think it's okay. =)

I'm not sure how I initially found the recipe (don't ask me how many different ways I search for recipes), but it drew me in because it called for cardamom. I love cardamom. I'm not sure how much of it is because I love the smell versus the taste. I just know that I like using it.

This recipe was interesting. A medium amount of exertion (cooking down the dried apples), but beyond that, not too bad. The cake came out very moist, in fact a little too moist I believe. The spices were strong, but just before the line of overwhelming. I portioned the cake into 12 pieces and ended up having my slice as breakfast. It was a cake where you can feel decadent, but not too rich, and fake yourself out as to the health aspects. It's applesauce cake - how bad can it be? Well, not too bad, but it's definitely a treat.

Would I repeat? Probably not. There are too many untried recipes out there, to be boldly explored!

* Exported from MasterCook *

Ginger-Cardamom Applesauce Snack Cake

Recipe By :
Serving Size : 12 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories :

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 ounces dried apple -- cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup apple cider
7 1/2 ounces unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 3/4 ounces sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon crystallized ginger -- minced
1 cup unsweetened applesauce -- at room temperature
1 large egg -- at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.

Bring dried apples and cider to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat; cook until liquid evaporates and mixture appears dry, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Whisk flour and baking soda in medium bowl to combine; set aside. In second medium bowl, whisk sugar, ginger, and cardamom. Measure 2 tablespoons sugar-spice mixture into small bowl, add crystallized ginger, and set aside for topping.

In food processor, process cooled dried-apple mixture and applesauce until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl as needed; set aside. Whisk egg and salt in large bowl to combine. Add sugar-spice mixture and whisk continuously until well combined and light colored, about 20 seconds. Add butter in three additions, whisking after each. Add applesauce mixture and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients; using rubber spatula, fold gently until just combined and evenly moistened.

Turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula. Sprinkle reserved 2 tablespoons topping evenly over batter. Bake until wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Run knife along cake edges without parchment to release. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut cake and serve.

"Cooks Illustrated"

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 211 Calories; 8g Fat (34.0% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 39mg Cholesterol; 206mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Nutr. Assoc. : 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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