Failures and Wins (Apple Cake with Bourbon, Cardamom, and Thyme)Posted: October 29, 2012
When it comes to cooking and baking, I’m no quitter. I will try and try again if something doesn’t work out. In my last post you may have read that I had a terrible day in which most things went horribly wrong. One of those things was a cake. I wanted to bake a seasonal cake – something to go with the perfect autumn weather we’ve been having here in the Midwest.
For reasons which befuddle me, the cake was a colossal disaster. I ended its short life by throwing it, defeated, into the garbage can. I just don’t get it. I bake all the time. I know ratios of flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. I understand sizes and shapes of cake pans in relation to baking time. This one just got away from me.
I had an off day. Cake 1, Sara 0. But not for long.
I dusted myself off (literally, as I’m always getting flour everywhere when I bake) and told myself I would try again.
Sundays are my favorite day to bake, so I gathered all my ingredients and started over.
With patience, a few tweaks to the original recipe, a positive attitude (and maybe a glass of wine), the cake was a success.
As with many recipes, when something doesn’t look right, take a moment and ask yourself what you can do to fix it. The first time I baked this cake, it wasn’t fully baked all the way through. What I should have done was say to myself, “Sara, 25 minutes just doesn’t seem long enough for a cake batter this dense.” But I didn’t do that and it didn’t turn out.
This next time, I chose a slightly different pan and left it to bake in the oven longer than the recipe claimed. I also made some substitutions based on my personal preference. My changes were effective, and what emerged from the oven was the perfect autumn apple cake with bourbon and thyme. Enjoy!
Apple Cake with Bourbon, Cardamom, and Thyme
Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon (It’s a lovely website! Check it out!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. I use Pam for Baking spray and it works just fine. Set pan aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars, oil, eggs, milk, vanilla, and bourbon.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until completely mixed.
Using a spatula, fold in the apples and thyme until combined thoroughly with the batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
Let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove sides of springform pan.
Invert cake, remove springform base and parchment paper, flip cake back over and cool completely on rack.