I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be one of those people who "doesn't like cake." Rather, I find myself making excuses to make cake more than one probably should, which isn't so much a bad thing unless no one is around to help you eat said cake. I find myself wrapping up pieces of my creations and bringing them to work, sending them home for Ryan and his roommates, maybe even freezing some of them if I get desperate. If you need to come up with a reason to bake a cake let me know - I will give you one.
This cake is different than most others I have baked. The bottom layer is a simple white cake (with lemon zest, which is always a good thing). Topped with a layer of fruit and sprinkled generously with a slightly sweet crumb mixture... it is kind of the perfect dessert, snack, breakfast, etc. Not too sweet, and amazing next to a warm latte.
Deb's original recipe calls for rhubarb - I made that version this past summer and it blew me away. In keeping with the season I made a few adjustments to the mix, and used a layer of apples and fresh cranberries. I'm a huge fan of fresh cranberries, I feel that they bring a certain brightness to every dish. This was no exception.
I am all for traditions when it comes to the holidays, and just may have to add this little gem to the repertoire.
Cranberry-Apple Crumb Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
for the cake:
- 2 medium apples, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced (I recommend using a mandolin if you have one)
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage - it is thicker and creamier than most brands)
for the crumb:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan with butter, then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the length up two sides. Toff apple slices with lemon juice and set aside. Beat butter, 2/3 cup sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the wet ingredients, 1/3 at a time, mixing each time until the wet and dry ingredients are fully combined. Add the Greek yogurt and mix until combined.
Dollop batter into the pan, then use a spatula to spread the batter into an even layer. Place the apple slices over the top of the batter. Pour the bag of cranberries over the apple layer, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the top.
Stir together the crumb mixture; I find my hands to be the best tool for this. Sprinkle evenly over the entire cake. Bake in preheated oven for 55 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. Once completely cool, cut into squares and serve.
Keeps at room temperature for a couple of days, but I think it is best kept in the fridge (I love a cold piece of cake).