Cook the Book – Butterscotch-Topped Gingerbread with Sautéed Apples

Love this cake.  It’s like a warm, cashmere cardigan that you can dress up or down but always feel comfortable wearing.  And it’s tops for evoking memories of Grandma in the kitchen with her ruffled apron wrapped around her waist.  I can almost feel her enveloping me in her arms, my face mushed into her chest, as I write this.

The cake flour matters here.  I have made it without, using all purpose instead, because, well, as I’ve said before, actually following a recipe isn’t my strong suit.  The results are not so stellar though and aren’t you glad you have me as your tester so you know to be sure and have cake flour on hand?

Butterscotch-Topped Gingerbread with Sautéed Apples

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2  3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup molasses
1½ cups boiling water
2 large eggs
Apple Topping:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
Whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 300°.  Butter and flour the sides (not the bottom) of a nine-inch round cake pan that’s 3 inches deep, tapping out the excess flour.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, stirring until smooth. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and swirl it to cover the bottom.  Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves into a medium bowl. Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Set aside.  Using a fork, stir 1 teaspoon of the baking soda vigorously into the molasses, until the molasses has lightened, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the molasses to the creamed butter and sugar then mix until fully combined.  Stir in the flour.  Stir in the water; mix until just smooth. Finally add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly each time. The batter will be very thin.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Allow the cake to cool, but serve warm. Just before serving sauté the apples over medium heat with the butter and sugar. Allow the apples to cool slightly, then top the cake with the warm apples and serve with whipped cream.

Serves 12 generously

Thinking of Grandma…

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