I have never been a fan of apples. Just hasn't been my thing. The crunch, the tartness, the sweetness, none of it ever really appealed to me. Until a few months ago when there was some kind of seismic shift in my taste buds. I think it might have started after Thanksgiving when I had a leftover bag of cranberries and decided on a whim to give Ina's cranberry apple cake recipe a try. I only planned on having a taste while letting Adam and the kids gobble it down, but that never happened. I ended up eating the majority of that darn cake.
From the apple cake, I progressed to eating apple slices. That probably sounds strange, right? Who doesn't grow up in America not eating apple slices? (it's right up there with not eating apple pie, right?) I cut up apple slices on a near daily basis for my kids and yet they were never anything I'd felt compelled to actually put into my own mouth. And then things got really radical when I found myself drawn to apple juice and I even made a couple of crock pots full of mulled apple cider.
So this morning, I found myself craving apples and dreaming of apple muffins. I eagerly peeled and chopped in anticipation and even took pics of the pretty remnants. It turns out it wasn't the perfect recipe, but that's the nice part of baking on a Sunday morning. There's no pressure to have perfection and it's fun to try something spontaneously. But if you do have a good recipe for apple muffins, please share. I am happy to pass along the Barefoot Contessa recipe that initiated this recent apple craze. I am actually thinking about giving it a try with pears in place of cranberries, doesn't that sound good, too?
Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.
Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.