There are many ways to enjoy apples in the fall. From baked apples to apple pie, I am a fan of every single one of them. This Bourbon Brown Butter Apple Cake is one more that you can add to your list of ways to showcase apples this season – and it is absolutely delicious. This cake is so packed with apples that it is verging into apple cobbler territory. There is really just enough batter to hold all the fruit together and it really is the perfect backdrop for those apples. The cake is very moist and has just enough density to hold all those apples in place, even if you decide to slice the cake while it is still slightly warm. It is not too sweet, so the tender apples really pop, and you can taste the nutty browned butter and vanilla with a hint of bourbon in every bite. For a cake that looks so simple, it is surprisingly complex and that is what makes this recipe a keeper.
This recipe calls for a pound of apples – and that pound should consist of apples that are already cored and diced. This cake has a rustic look, so the apples don’t need to be peeled before adding them to the batter, though you certainly can if you have some extra time on your hands. I like the rustic look of the finished cake and leaving the peels on makes the prep work for this cake go a lot faster, which means that I am a lot more likely to make the recipe when I’m in the mood for some fall baking!
I really enjoy the combination of bourbon and apples, and the alcohol from the bourbon – I used Four Roses, but something like Maker’s Mark would be a good choice here, too – will bake off while the cake is in the oven and leave you with a cake that everyone can enjoy. If you really want to omit the bourbon, you could substitute milk, but consider adding a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to your cake if you do that to give it a little extra depth of flavor. I finished my cake with a little bit of bourbon and vanilla glaze, however you can serve it as-is or dust it with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
Bourbon Brown Butter Apple Cake
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb diced apples (approx. 4 medium/3 large)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
In a small saucepan, brown the butter by cooking it oven medium heat on the stovetop until it turns golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg white, sugar, bourbon and vanilla extract. Whisk in the flour mixture and when it is completely incorporated, whisk in the browned butter. Fold in the apples until they are evenly distributed.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and the apples are tender.
Allow cake to cool in the pan before adding glaze (Recipe below). Cake can be served slightly warm or at room temperature.
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp bourbon
1 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until glaze has a smooth, pourable consistency. If glaze is too stiff to drizzle easily, add an additional teaspoon or so of milk.