Baking Diary – Log 13 – 07.10.2012
Autumn, according to me, is the second most beautiful season, after Summer, in Finland. Maybe it is because in Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh City where I was born and have been living the first 19 years of my life, there is no such thing as “autumn” where there are blows of chilling winds that make you want to tuck further into the jackets while are still overwhelmed by the magnificent color set of yellow, red, orange, green, and brown. I took this picture in an autumn afternoon in my very first year in Finland, on the way from my apartment to the market, with my dears. Those were the day… We were the time…
What else indicates a Finnish Autumn? It is when the apple trees in the neighborhood start ripping; their branches are pulled towards the ground by heavy bunches of joyfully red fruits. There are so many that some let apples dropping onto the ground, waiting for another “Isaac Newton”, while some gather those into a basket as a small gift for birds, or little chipmunks.
Autumn is also a great season for baking something nice, aromatic, and warm in the oven, which is always my ultimate pleasure.🙂 So today, I want to share with you my favorite recipe for Autumn baking – Apple Yogurt Cake, adapted from Goc Bep – For Tea time: Banh Tao.
There is no greater couple than apple and cinnamon, you agree? This cake not only married this two goodies, it also has a little sourness of yogurt and richness of butter. I must say that it is the lovechild of Apple Pie and Cheesecake, if those two ever have one.🙂
This is also the very first cake in my baking journey. I baked this recipe in an autumn afternoon (2009) with my dears Long-legs, Lovely, and Little Chi. Thank you so much sweethearts, you have inspired me to fall in love with baking.🙂
Since then, I have made this cake maybe 10 times or so with great result every time. Trust me enough to move on now?🙂
Ingredients (for 1 cake of 22cm diameter, 3cm thick)
- 150g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. cinnamon powder
- 130g unsalted butter, soften at room temperature (I use salted for better contrast.)
- 150g granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs, normal size
- 200g yogurt, room temperature (This can be low-fat, normal, or high-fat, your call. I used 10% Turkish yogurt. Can be substituted by soft cream cheese at room temperature for richer taste.)
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 apples (I used Royal Gala apples because I prefer sweetness and colorfulness, can be change into Granny Smith or sourer types depends on your preferences)
- 20g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes, keep in the fridge until used.
- ½ tsp. cinnamon powder
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 degree C.
Apples can be peeled or not depending on your choice, I prefer leaving the skin on for better color after baking, but maybe it is just I.🙂 Peeling or not, core the fruits, and slice them into 3-5mm thick slices, like below.
Right after slicing each quarter of an apple, submerge the slices into ½ liter of cool water plus ½ tsp. of salt to prevent them from browning. Continue with the rest.
Step 2: Grease a 22cm pan well with butter or cooking oil, cut two 7-9cm strips, cross them on each other on the pan bottom, like this. This step not only prevents the cake from sticking to the pan, it also make it easier to remove the cake from the pan later.
Step 3: Measure the flour, baking powder, plus about ½ tsp. of cinnamon powder. Mix well using a hand whisk.
Step 4: In a big bowl, measure 130g soft butter and 150g sugar. Cream the butter using a hand mixer (balloon whisks), or a stand mixer (paddle attachment). Before creaming, it looks like this. Start the creaming process at low speed first, to prevent the sugar and butter to blow up in our faces, then increase the speed to high.
At first the mixture will look grainy and impossible to be combined. Beat them at high speed until the butter is visibly whiter in color, fairy increasing in volume, and most of the sugar will be dissolve in the butter (it might be somewhat a bit grainy, but as long as the butter is as described, it is OK). Here is mine after creaming.
Step 5: Add eggs and vanilla extract to the creamed butter, one at a time, beat until combined after each egg. After the second egg, the batter might look a bit grainy, almost like the butter is curdling, and I assure you, it is totally normal.
Step 6: Add yogurt or soft cream cheese, mix until combine using the paddle attachment or spatula. If the batter seems separated, don’t worry; it will be smooth once you add the flour in the next step.
Step 7: Add flour mixture in two times. Each time mix until just combine using the paddle attachment, or a spatula. You don’t want to overdo with the flour because intense mixing will cause the flour to start forming gluten, leading to decrease in cake volume.
Here is the finished batter after adding all the flour mix.
Step 8: Strain the apple through a clean sieve to get rid of excess water. Now pour/scoop and even out the batter into the prepared pan, like below.
Step 9: Arrange the apple slices on top of the batter, starting from the edge towards the center, one circle after another, until you fill up the batter surface, like this. Don’t afraid if you kinda overdo this step by adding one too many slices. Look at mine, LOL! The apple will be baked and lose most of its volume eventually, therefore, the more is actually the merrier.
Step 10: Sprinkle ½ tsp. (or more to your preference) of cinnamon powder on top of the unbaked cakes, together with cold butter cubes.
Step 11: Now bake this beauty in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes in the middle-low rack.
The cake is done whenn the skew inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 12: Let the cake cool completely. Removing the cake from the pan by pulling the parchment paper cross. And voila! There you have it, Apple Yogurt Cake.
This recipe is perfect for a quality teatime in an autumn afternoon of relaxing and bonding (and maybe a little gossiping? ;)) with the ladies, or an after-meal treat in the evening for those special ones.
It is best keeping the cake in the fridge overnight, and then enjoyed rather cool. It tastes like cheesecake, but a bit lighter, and fudgier, with a note of cinnamon and the sour-sweetness of baked apples. Uhmm, yummy yum!
There is one thing that made me the extraordinarily happy girl in the world today. It happened when I accidentally ran into a post this morning upon checking the statistics of the blog. Guess what I found? I do not mean to boast (Well, I do >D<. Let me, let me please.). I found my very first public review of my blog (at least, the first I know about), and it is RAVE. She (I guess) wrote on her personal Tumblr:
“And I think you should go look at this one!
Rose is a really charming blogger… she seems really nice. She has lots of really helpful tips and tricks for difficult recipes like flan and croissants, partly because she tries over and over again to make something until she gets it right, and then she tells you how she did it.
Also she has tons of delicious looking Vietnamese recipes, and her writing has the most adorable English-via-Vietnam accent to it.”
Couldn’t stop grinning like this🙂 since I read her post. It was the most pleasant surprise and a full energy boost for me this morning, as I wrote this post in just one day when at first I did not intend to wrote any this weekend to pack stuff (lots of them) for my soon moving-out of Finland.
Thank you so, so much, Fairytales and Monsters. Even though we might have not met, your post is a great, great encouragement for me to continue blogging with all my heart (and brain) as I am doing now. So, let’s keep in touch with each other’s kitchen, will you?
I wish you well.
Good night and have a very nice, productive week, everyone!