Today’s recipe comes straight from the vault of one of my best friends. Ana’s a star baker who always inspires me to step out of the box and try my hand at some new recipes, and this was no exception! When she approached me with this idea to make her favorite apple cake, I was super intrigued. I hadn’t really thought of putting apples into a cake, because once you put them in a pie you’ve kinda done it all, right? Nope. Not even close.
Apparently, Ana’s been making this cake for years, and so she knew some tricks to make it just the way she likes it. We changed the original recipe a bit to include apple butter, because if there’s anything in this world that was sent directly from the gods, it’s apple butter. When I go to the orchards each year, I don’t really go for the apple picking. I go because it’s the best way to get my hands on the freshest apple butter. I’ve never had the kind that comes from a jar on the store shelves all year ’round, and I don’t ever plan on trying it to be honest. There’s just something about getting locally hand-made apple butter that tells you that fall is really here!
Beyond that little addition, we also chose to leave out a little of the sugar. By “we,” I mean that Ana was in charge and was already freaking out about using a whole stick of butter, so she made the executive decision to cut the sugar intake a bit. I agreed, because between the applesauce, apple butter, and apples themselves, there was more than enough natural sugar in this cake. In the end, it was perfectly sweet with a hint of fall spice from the cinnamon, so I really didn’t miss the sugar at all.
That brings up a super important point: any time you’re working with naturally sweet ingredients (basically, fresh fruit or fruit products), you can probably live with a little less added sugar. It helps cut down calories and the final product usually tastes way fresher without the mask that heaps of added sugar provide. Any time you’re making a recipe that calls for fruit and sugar, experiment a little with different amounts of the sugar. You may surprise yourself with what you don’t even miss!
One last tip – this was my first time using the butter-and-flour method of greasing a cake pan instead of using cooking spray. 10/10 would 100% recommend doing this always for Bundt cakes. With a spray, I always miss the nooks and crannies, and taking the time to fill them just makes it too greasy. But using my hands to work the butter into every crease of the pan made all the difference, and our cake came out perfectly clean (thank God because even I can’t Photoshop away a broken-down cake).
I hope you all really enjoy this recipe. Fall is going fast, so make this cake ASAP and let me know how you like it! Before you know it, winter will be here and peppermint will be in everything (I’m actually already planning to post my favorite peppermint-flavored dessert soon…), so let’s enjoy the apple cinnamon times while we still can!