What have you been doing on these wonderful Autumn days? We’ve been visiting apple orchards, a pumpkin patch, and taking many photos of lovely, colorful Fall leaves! I’ve been taking many, many photos of apples and apple orchards, pumpkins, gorgeous leaves and more so I can offer wonderful Fall prints and notecards on my online store at www.breathebeautyartandphotographybyerin.artfire.com.
Yesterday we visited a second apple orchard in Ashland County, Ohio, near Jeromesville. We took a jaunt out to Scenic Ridge Fruit Farm. The most apples they had in season were the Fiji apples. I had vaguely remembered that apple name, but was unsure of it. A medium to small size apple, it’s faded red and white colors were very pretty. I knew I wanted to bake, so I wasn’t sure if it was tart or sweet. We quickly wiped off one and tasted it. Very sweet and yummy!!! We proceeded to pick one and a half bushels (3 big baskets-only one basket of 1/2 bushel is pictured above). The kids once again had so much fun choosing apples and I loved photographing them and the apples too. At one of their nearby ponds we also saw two large swans! The day was perfect. Upon coming home, I was wondering what a fuji apple was and so today I’ve done my research. The figi apple came to the United States in the 1980s and is a cross between our beloved red delicious and the heirloom variety of Virginia Rawls Jennet (or Ralls Genet technically) made by the Japanese in the 1930s. They are such a pretty color and are much denser, sweeter, and crisper than most apples. They also have a much larger shelf life, even without refrigeration! With refrigeration, they can last 5-6 months! This was great news as I’ll have plenty of time to bake them all. I’ll try to share my recipes and baking trials with you here, but this is a recipe I found that I will try first!! Doesn’t it sound yummy???
Fuji Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Why Fujis? This not-too-sugary cake (inspired by carrot cake) is best when made with fairly sweet apples. Plus, it’s important to choose an apple variety with a sturdy structure so that it won’t break down during baking. Fuji apples fill the bill on both counts.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons bourbon, apple brandy, or rum (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 2 medium Fuji or Gala apples (13 to 14 ounces total), peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans (about 6 ounces)
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar (measured, then sifted)
- Coarsely chopped toasted pecans (for garnish)
- 2 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each pan with parchment paper round. Whisk first 7 ingredients in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, then bourbon, if desired (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 3 additions alternately with applesauce in 2 additions, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in apples and pecans. Divide batter between cake pans; smooth tops.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool in pans 15 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; peel off parchment paper. Place another rack atop 1 cake and invert again so that cake is rounded side up. Repeat with second cake. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until frosting is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Using long serrated knife, trim off rounded tops of cakes to make level; brush off any loose crumbs. Transfer 1 cake to platter, trimmed side up. Drop half of frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) by spoonfuls atop cake. Spread frosting evenly to edges of cake. Top with second cake, trimmed side down. Drop remaining frosting by spoonfuls onto top of cake, leaving sides of cake plain. Spread frosting to top edges of cake, swirling and creating peaks, if desired. Sprinkle with pecans. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour to allow frosting to set slightly. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let cake stand at room temperature at least 2 hours before serving.