Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Sometimes I have a billion thoughts running through my mind at the same time.

I think about how much I love coffee but I don't drink it for fear of becoming an addict (you know who you are) and having yellow teeth.

How cold it is outside? I don't want to bust out my chunky, bigfoot, waterproof, fur boots yet...

People who moan in the gym scare me. Maybe that dumbbell is too heavy for you...just sayin'.

Nice lady who cleans my teeth at the dentist - please don't talk to me while your hands are in my mouth. I can't answer you unless you want to lose a finger.

How big is the biggest chocolate chip cookie ever made? I bet it's big. I want to bite it.

Who invented deviled eggs? And who said they're "coming back"? Gross.

What was the world like before the invention of deodorant or toothpaste? Did people just walk around all smelly and junk? Yuck.

Please don't ever give me an "A" for effort. Give me an "A" for amazing. Period.

I want ribs. Smoked ribs with hot sauce. Right now.

If your umbrella flips inside out on a windy rainy day, there's no way I'm not going to laugh.

Does Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Coffee Cake count as a post-workout recovery meal? I mean, there's fruit and protein and stuff. Right? No...? Who cares. I'm going to dust it with icing sugar and eat it anyway.

This is a cake you can have for breakfast, afternoon snack and dessert. If you choose to do that all in the same day then you're just like me, and just like that, we are friends. Bam!

Apples, finely diced, sauteed in a bit of butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg.

They sit on top of a layer of cheesecake that sits on top of moist coffee cake. This recipe is all about putting different cakes really close to each other - 'tis the season for love after all.

Sauteeing the apples first will prevent their juices from leaking all into the cake, and of course allows them to soak up some butter and cinnamon and get golden brown.

The cake batter is thick so it can hold up the cheesecake batter instead of it sinking to the bottom. What you are left with is two rather distinct layers with a whole pile of fruit on top. Simple as saying "hello".

To top it all off, each layer is infused with spice, including cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg - a combination no one can resist. The smell of this cake baking away is enough to make a vegan crack. Nobody can live without cheese for very long, let's be honest with ourselves. Make sure to use a nonstick springform pan so that you can release this stunner easily and cleanly without ruining the top and show off those nicely browned edges.

Get your cheesecake on. Get your coffee cake on. Get your fruit intake on and enjoy this delicious breakfast, snack and dessert!

Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Makes 8-10 servings

For the cake:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ cup evaporated milk

For the cheesecake:
1 package (250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp each freshly grated nutmeg and ground clove
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp all-purpose flour

For the topping:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 whole cloves
1 ¼ lbs tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Northern Spy (about 4 apples), cored, peeled and chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
2 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch round springform pan with butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

To make the topping, fold together apples, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Heat butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add whole cloves so they infuse the butter and then add the apple mixture. Toss until they just begin to soften, but not until they’re mushy, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer apples back to the bowl, discard cloves and set aside to cool completely while you prepare the rest of the cake.

To make the cheesecake batter, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until smooth and the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 40 seconds. Beat in the cinnamon, nutmeg and clove until combined. Add egg yolk and flour and beat just until incorporated and batter is smooth. Set this aside while you make the cake batter.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. In another medium bowl, beat butter with both sugars until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla until combined. Add egg and beat until well incorporated and batter is fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add one-third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until mostly combined. Beat in half of the evaporated milk until blended. Repeat this step by adding half the remaining flour mixture followed by the last of the milk, beating no more than 15 seconds between additions. After the last bit of milk has been added, beat on medium speed for 3-5 seconds to just make sure the batter is smooth. Fold in the last of the flour mixture by hand using a rubber spatula until evenly combined.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Spoon dollops of cream cheese mixture over the cake batter and use a butter knife or the back end of a spoon to lightly swirl it in to sort of fuse the two batters together. Gently spoon cooled apples over the batter in an even layer and bake until the cake wobbles ever so slightly in the middle, 45-50 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool completely.
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