It’s Foodie Friday! Today’s post comes from Kate over @ Like American Honey! Kate is a Florida girl turned Virginian. She’s a lover of all things monogrammed (who isn’t), and believer that good manners never go out of style.
I love fall in Virginia. The leaves change, the air gets a bit crisper, and the skies seem to get bluer. Virginia fall also means one huge thing: fresh apples! We have made it a tradition to go apple picking every fall at Virginia orchards. It is such a great feeling to pack up the car, grab our dogs, and know that our apples couldn’t be any more fresh.
I always return from the orchard with way too many apples for two people and have come up with many creative ways to use my apples. Last year, I discovered this amazingly easy apple cake in a Southern Living apple feature, and this year I am pairing it with a to-die-for browned butter frosting. If you haven’t made browned butter frosting before, it has a nice nutty flavor that pairs very well with cakes that feature cinnamon or fruit. The recipe calls for Granny Smith apples, but I find any apple that is a bit tart and firm will work. I luckily snagged some local Gala apples that I happily used.
Virginia Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
- 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼ inch thick wedges (about 4 large, or 5 medium apples)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is ready, place 1 cup of your pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven. Bake the pecans for 5-7 minutes, until they are fragrant. Set aside to let the pecans cool a bit.
In a large bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Last, stir in your apples and toasted pecans. The batter will be thick.
Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. Spread the batter evenly into the pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.
The Browned Butter Frosting:
- 1 cup butter
- 1 16 ounce package of powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Cook your butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 8-10 minutes until the butter turns golden brown. Be sure not to cook too far and burn. The butter will have a bit of a nutty aroma.
Quickly remove your cooked butter from the pan and let cool in a bowl. Cover the butter and chill it in your refrigerator for about 1 hour, until it starts to firm up.
Beat the butter in a standing mixer or with an electric mixer on a medium speed until fluffy. Combine the vanilla with the milk. Split your sugar into 3 equal parts and the milk mixture into 2 parts. Alternate adding the thirds of sugar with the two halves of milk, finishing with your sugar. Make sure to beat until well blended and scrape down the sides of your bowl (if using a standing mixer) between additions.
Once the cake is cooled and the frosting is finished, top your cake generously with your frosting and sprinkle with the remaining half-cup of toasted pecans.
Happy fall everyone!
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