Last summer in the Cape, our friends John and Leanne came to visit, Leanne is quite an accomplished cook and baker; John, her husband, is a batter aficionado, so we all spent a pleasant day immersed in baking activities – Leanne and I baking and John cleaning up behind us with enthusiasm.
John and Leanne also brought along their Golden Retriever, Georgee, who happens to be a littermate to two of our goldens, Burton and Taylor. Georgee is the one looking in the opposite direction from our crowd, who are “food oriented” as the trainers politely put it.
The siblings reunited form quite a collection, especially when joined with Churchill, younger and unrelated by blood, but another one of our brood, nonetheless. Churchill is the one at the back, Burton in front of him and Taylor giving the side eye in front. Georgee has given up on them and is lying in the background.
Here Taylor is cutting to the chase: “We all know I’m the one everyone wants to see! Hi, my fan club!!”
Four golden retrievers is a lot of hair, but they’re very efficient crumb dozers. All except Georgee, who is a well mannered dog and doesn’t seem as interested in hoovering back everything that comes her way.
Earlier that week, Lea and I had visited the local Williams Sonoma and been seduced by their latest collection of specialty bakeware for fall, featuring a variety of apple and leaf pans. We just HAD to had to try out the apple cakelet pan (which spell correct insists on turning into lakelet, whatever the heck that might be). We also picked up a can of their baking spray, which is excellent. I was quite dubious at first, having had experience with Pam and intensely disliking the tar-like residue it leaves on one’s baking pans, impossible to shift. Unlike Pam, this stuff washes away very nicely, leaving no nasty glop on the pan after baking.
The pan holds fourteen apple “halves”. It was hard to judge exactly how full they needed to be, but we went with about 3/4 full.
Once they were baked, we trimmed off a bit of excess and joined the halves together with a buttercream frosting. Yum.
- 1 c (125 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (5 g) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) salt
- 1 tsp (5g) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 g) ground ginger
- 1/4 c (50 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 c (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 c (60 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 3/4 c (210 g) applesauce
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c (94 g) confectioner's sugar
- 1/4 c (2 tbsp or 58 g) butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- A drizzle of cream or milk
- Preheat the oven to 400°F regular or 375°F convection. Grease the wells of the apple cakelet pan with nonstick cooking spray and use a pastry brush to brush away any excess spray.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, rub the two sugars together with your fingers to ensure there are no lumps in the sugar (you want the batter to be as smooth as possible to get the most definition from the cakelet pan shapes). Add the oil, vanilla, applesauce and egg to the sugars and whisk until very smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth.
- Fill each well of the cakelet pan three-quarters full of batter. Gently tap the pan against the countertop to release any air bubbles.
- Bake until the cakelets are deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cakelets out onto the rack. Let cool completely and decorate as desired.
- Beat the softened butter and confectioner's sugar together in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment until well combined. Add the vanilla and continue beating until thoroughly combined. Drizzle just enough cream or milk to get the desired consistency, which should be fairly thick for this application.
- Using a serrated knife, gently cut off the bottom of each cakelet to form a flat surface. Use the buttercream frosting to frost the flat half of the cakelet and press another half onto the buttercream to form an apple. Makes seven 3-dimensional apples.