Apple Upside-Down Cake

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Before the pineapple took center stage, every upside-down cake featured the apple. Nowadays you can’t research upside-down cake recipes without finding a slew of pineapple results. Without any hint of dying love for the pineapple variation, it is no wonder the traditional apple upside-down cake has become a lost recipe. This intrigued me as all lost recipes do and I set out to reignite the spark in the modern generation that the traditional had generations ago.

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To do this would require a direct focus on the apples. They would not only have to stand out from the cake enough to make a statement against the modern pineapple, but blend in with the cake just enough to create a cohesive bite that would delight any taste bud. This seems like an easy task until attempting it. Apples are a lot more complicated to work with than the pineapple, which is probably why the hustle and bustle of our modern society has chosen to favor the pineapple version. Apples have an extensive amount of preparation (peeling, coring, slicing), they brown quickly when exposed to oxygen, they are extremely firm and take longer to cook, AND let us not forget…they carry A LOT of hidden liquid (a true ninja fruit). Makes you want to reach for that can of pineapple now doesn’t it. Have no fear there are solutions to all of apple’s issues, well maybe not the prep part. Apple prep is always tedious and downright unpleasant no matter how many tricks you try or gadgets you buy. Oh look I rhymed. That was easy enough 🙂

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So I can’t solve the apple prep issues but the discoloration is easy to fix with a few drops of lemon juice. To kill two birds with one stone, precooking some of the apples in a skillet before placing them in the bottom of the pan helps speed up the cooking time so that the apples and cake cook evenly but also solves the hidden liquid issue by allowing the excess to excrete during heating. Besides solving problems, cooking the apples in the skillet presents some perks. While cooking, the apples become caramelized in their own juices with the help of a little bit of sugar. This not only infuses the apples with delicious flavor, but also makes the top of the cake a showstopper.

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With the apples in check, the cake must also be up to par. This means creating a cake that is able to stand up to the pressure of such beautiful apples weighing heavily down on it. The easiest way to make sure the cake wouldn’t buckle under such immense pressure (stupid diva apples) is to use the quick bread method which introduces less oxygen into the cake batter, allowing for a sturdier crumb. With all the science figured out, and a little additional touches of flavor, the apple upside-down cake was ready for its debut. Although I will always have a special place in my heart for pineapple upside-down cake (the first recipe my grandfather ever showed me how to bake) I can’t deny how awesome this cake is. My boyfriend is not a sweets person and needless to say he needed no help in finishing this cake off.

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Note: This cake serves 8… unless you have an individual who adores apples…in that case it may be 2 servings!!!

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Apple Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. (½ stick) Unsalted Butter; cut into 4 pieces; plus extra for greasing the cake pan
  • 4 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith Apples (approximately 2 pounds); peeled & cored
  • 2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Apple Pie Spice; divided
  • 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6 tbsp. (¾ stick) Unsalted Butter; melted & slightly cooled
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. For the topping: Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round, 2 inch deep nonstick cake pan. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 350°. Slice two of the apples into ¼ inch thick slices; set aside. Cut the remaining 2 apples into ½ inch thick slices. Heat 4 tbsp. butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted completely and the foaming has subsided, add the ½ inch thick slices of apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Be sure you do not fully cook the apples!!! Add the ¼ inch thick apple slices, 2/3 cup brown sugar, lemon juice, and ½ tsp. Apple Pie Spice. Continue to cook apples, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the apples are coated, about 1 minute more. Transfer the apple mixture to the prepared cake pan. If desired, arrange apples into a design and press gently into an even layer. Set aside to prepare the cake.
  2. For the cake: Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, & remaining ½ tsp. of Apple Pie Spice in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the granulated sugar, ¼ brown sugar, and eggs together in a large bowl until thick and thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the 6 tbsp. of butter until combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla; whisk until combined. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly over the apples. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it. Place a wire rack over the cake pan. Hold the rack firmly and invert the cake and wire rack together; lift off the cake pan gently. Place the wire rack over a baking sheet to catch any drips. Allow the cake to cool another 20 minutes and then transfer to a serving platter, cut into pieces and serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM YVONNE RUPERTI

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

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Mini 7UP Pound Cakes

20140224_114457When you think of 7UP, cake probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Although if this were the 1950’s, it would have been the first among a slew of other 7UP concoctions like 7UP Salad or 7UP Parfait Pie. This is a result of soda companies in the 50’s marketing their products to be a baking staple rather than a mere thirst quencher. 7UP went so far with their advertising campaigns that the company gave away free recipe booklets in tandem with an ad for shoppers suggesting they “get some extra 7UP for cooking.” Many of these recipes have been lost over the years and for good reason. One that deserves to have a modern refresher is 7UP Pound Cake.

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In order to create a modern take to a classic, I had to dig a little bit into the history of why this recipe was one of the few successes. It turns out we may never have been graced with the fizzy lemon-lime drink if its creator would have had his initial way. 7UP was created by St. Louis native Charles Grigg. For years, Grigg tried to market an orange soda, but Orange Crush had the market and squashed his efforts every time. Grigg decided to switch gears and market a lemon-lime soda under the label Bib. Just weeks before the big stock market crash and onset of the Great Depression, Grigg got his big break and adults loved the uplifting qualities the new soda gave them. Years later, following the end of Prohibition, the company would create an entire new marketing strategy for 7UP revolving around all things alcohol. Ads like “7UP is more than just a mixer…It blends out the harsh features. Dispels hangovers. Takes the ouch out of grouch.” made adults love the drink for it’s medicinal cures of hangovers and endless possibilities as a cocktail mixer.

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Push ahead into the 50’s and we again reach the ad campaign targeting cooks to use their products in the kitchen. So why does 7UP seem to work so well in certain recipes like the Pound Cake. Turns out, the slightly acidic soda gives the cake flavor, lift, and a tender texture that is unique to the soda infused batter. With my history down I turned to modernizing the recipe. We live in an era where everyone enjoys a mini version of a larger original. Reasons for this are quite diverse. Some are health conscious and wish to indulge in old favorites without the guilt while others enjoy entertaining and offering a wide selection of petit four style desserts so guests can try a wide array without getting full too fast. With this in mind, I altered the traditional recipe that bakes the cake in a tube or bundt pan and instead baked the batter in a greased muffin tin. Once the cakes were removed from the oven I quickly cored them with an apple corer and filled the centers with lemon curd for more lemon flavor. To cover the filling, I swirled a lemon-lime tinged frosting flavored with a few drops of Lemon extract into the yellow frosting and a few drops of lime juice in the green frosting to give the final citrus punch. If these little cakes aren’t good enough to make 7UP’s next marketing campaign, I don’t know what will!!!

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Note: Be sure to use fresh 7UP. If flat, the cake’s texture and rise will suffer greatly. If you want you may bake this in a traditional tube pan or Bundt pan, altering the baking time to 75 minutes and omitting the Lemon Curd filling. The formula yields 24 cupcakes or 1 cake that serves 12.

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Mini 7UP Pound Cakes

 

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 5 Eggs; room temperature
  • ½ cup 7UP; room temperature
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 20 tbsp. (2½ sticks) Unsalted Butter; melted and slightly cooled
  • 3¼ cups Cake Flour
  • Lemon Curd; for filling
  • 2 tubs White Frosting
  • Yellow Food Color
  • Green Food Color
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Extract; for frosting
  • 1 tsp. Lime Juice; for frosting

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 300° and grease a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Mix sugar, eggs, 7UP, lemon juice, lime juice, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. With machine running, slowly pour in the butter and mix until incorporated. Add the flour in three additions, mixing between each addition, until combined.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove cakes from pan and repeat with the remaining batter.
  3. While the second batch bakes, use an apple corer to remove a section in the middle of the each cake. Using a small spoon, fill the hole with a generous amount of lemon curd and smooth out the top. Allow cakes to cool completely.
  4. Once the cakes are cooled, add a few drops of yellow food color to one tub of frosting and a few drops of green food color to the other tub of frosting. Add the lemon extract to the yellow tub of frosting and the lime juice to the green tub of frosting. Mix until both tubs of frosting are well combined. In a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip, fill one side of the bag with the green frosting and one side with the yellow frosting. Pipe a small rosette on the top of each cake, making sure to cover the area of exposed lemon curd filling. To complete the look, cut straws into small pieces and place into the frosting of each cake at an angle to give a soda pop theme.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM CALI RICH

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

French Silk Chocolate Pie

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Another day. Another lost recipe. Today’s find=French Silk Chocolate Pie. Sure you can find some in your local grocers freezer section so it technically isn’t that lost of a recipe, but the reason I included it is because most home bakers refuse to tackle such a pie on because the original formula used raw eggs and as we know these days is completely unsafe. Second of all it is a pretty involved recipe and in our daily lives it is hard to fit in time to make any type of pie let alone this type, and if you want this type it is very tempting to just grab one from the freezer section, de-thaw it, and voila it is ready to serve with ease. In fact the way I stumbled upon this pie was from the freezer section of my local supermarket when there was a sale on pies. This caused me to look up its history.

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Despite the name including the word “French” this pie is an all-American concoction. It’s first appearance was at the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition of 1951 where its creator, Betty Cooper of Maryland, won the $1,000 prize. The pie is classic icebox style with an exotic name that reflects the international curiosity of postwar America. Originally Betty Cooper used a pie crust. I decided to switch it up for a more simple graham cracker crust. To whisk the chocolate portion of the filling into a light, silky texture without the use of Cooper’s raw eggs formula, a double boiler is necessary. Now I don’t buy those pricey contraptions. To be honest they are gimmicks to the baking enthusiast but completely unnecessary. Just take a large saucepan and a slightly smaller heatproof bowl that will rest securely on top of the saucepan. Place enough water in the saucepan to bring to a simmer but not boil. Place the bowl on top of the pan making sure the simmering water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. And there you have it… a homemade double boiler. Heck if you don’t have a heatproof bowl you can always use a slightly smaller saucepan in place of the bowl.

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Now the reason the double boiler is necessary is to cook the eggs. Pillsbury offers a simpler option for the original bake-off recipe by using egg substitutes as a way to be safe but these give off an artificial flavor that is no different then going back to the frozen section and buying the pre-made ones. By beating the eggs with sugar over the double boiler you incorporate air which gives the filling the light texture that is so desirable about this pie. When the egg mixture reaches the safe temperature it gets very thick and foamy. This is when you remove it from the heat and let it cool down. Once it is cool you can add the chocolate and butter which gives the pie the signature rich flavor and silky smooth texture.

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While researching this project I realized the drastic changes made to the Pillsbury Bake-Off competition. What used to be a competition that was pretty much open to any creative and delicious baked good now became a competition that forces contestants to use Pillsbury products like cookie dough or crescent rolls as their staple ingredient and therefore market the brand more than baking innovation itself. This competition is just a reminder of how our society has changed over the years. Contestants in the 50’s were treated like celebrities. Contestants wore corsages on fine outfits, worked in facilities set up at the posh Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, and were served dishes like Guinea Hen Breast and Nectarines Flambe at a complimentary dinner… fare reserved nowadays for only the finest of restaurants.

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The Bake-Off certainly has a rich history, dating all the way back to 1949 when it debuted as the “Grand National Recipe and Baking Contest”. General Mills probably had no idea that it would launch the most recognized of all modern American recipe contests and have such an affect on America’s culinary heritage. The original grand prize winner for No-Knead Water Rising Twists won $50,000, an award so prestige at the time it was presented by Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1954, Open Sesame Pie became so popular it launched a nationwide use of sesame seeds. In the years to come, the kids bake sale favorite, Peanut Blossom Cookies would rake in millions for the Hershey Company and the Tunnel of Fudge Cake would launch the popularity of the Bundt pan, causing factories to work round the clock to keep production up to consumer demand. Although French Silk Pie didn’t retain the initial popularity it gained in 1951, it is definitely a pie worth revisiting, with just a few modern tweaks.

Note: You may use homemade whipped cream for the topping or a tub of Cool Whip for convenience. A garnish of miniature chocolate chips around the outer edge of the pie is optional but a great finishing touch. Pie serves 8 to 10 people. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream; chilled
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • 8 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate; melted & cooled
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter;  softened & cut into pieces
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream or 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • Miniature Chocolate Chips (optional)

Formula:

  1. Prepare the crust: Melt butter in a small dish. Mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add the melted butter and stir until no dry crumbs remain. Line a spring-form pan with food grade acetate. Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
  2. With mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate.
  3. Combine eggs, sugar, and water in a large heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan filled halfway with simmering water. Be sure you don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. With a hand mixer set to medium speed, beat egg mixture until it has thickened and registers 160°, about 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat until the mixture has cooled to room temperature and the texture is fluffy, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the cooled egg mixture, beating until incorporated. Beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until well combined. Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape filling over the graham cracker crust and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Once set, whip heavy cream to medium peaks or for convenience use a tub of Cool Whip and spread evenly over the set chocolate filling. If desired, sprinkle miniature chocolate chips around the outer edge of the pie and serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM DIANE UNGER

PILLSBURY BAKE-OFF® CONTEST

KRAFT FOODS: COOL WHIP

GENERAL MILLS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013