It has been 4 months since I’ve purchased the Bouchon Bakery cookbook written and collaborated by Thomas Keller. It’s beautiful. I’ve read it countless times, fallen asleep with it on my lap as I dozed off into the land of cream puffs, bouchons, and perfect blueberry muffins. It even has a prime spot on my kitchen table — it’s the center piece. No need for candles, flowers, plants, wreaths, or any other silliness…just open up the book and stare, possibly drool, in amazement and sin.
The number of recipes I’ve made from this work of art? Zero.
Am I intimidated? Am I afraid of making THE perfect cream puff? What do I do next once perfection is achieved? Am I afraid of something that will taste too good? Why do I prefer to muddle with my hodgepodge of mediocre recipes?
Let’s not dig too deep into my mind now, this is afterall just a food blog. Therapy session over — questions still left unanswered. Time to go about my merry path and take my first baby step into the world of Thomas Keller. My mind continues to work in mysterious ways as I still circumvented baking from the Bouchon cookbook…but managed to try a recipe from his French Laundry cookbook. Maybe next time I’ll put on the big girl pants and try the olive oil cake. Maybe. I may still stare at it…..like a crazy food stalker.
This apple kuchen is an unfussy, simple, and humble cake but stands on its own. The adjectives should also be applied to how I prefer my men, a rare breed indeed. It has a delicate crumb and the arrangement of the apples is a welcome change from the typical ornate top layer of shingled apples. If the apple cake isn’t perfect by itself, the warm cream sauce takes it to another level. So while you may be tempted to skip out on the cream, don’t. It’s cream and it should be savored. Your pants will still fit just fine the next day. If not, wear a skirt.
- 6 tablespoons (85 g / 3 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature + more for the pan
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1-1/2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground nutmeg)
- 1/2 cup milk or light cream
- 2 to 3 Gravenstein or Golden Delicious apples (I used a mixture of any apples I had on hand)
- cinnamon sugar* (optional – see note for recipe)
- icing sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
For the Hot Cream Sauce
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (115 g / 4 oz) unsalted butter
- To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Butter a 9-inch round spring form pan.
- In a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment or by hand in a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg until mixture is fluffy and lightened in texture, about 2 to 4 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine four, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately to the creamed butter mixture. Do not overbeat. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
- Peel and core apples. Slice them into 1/4-inch wedges.
- Spoon batter into the pan and level with an offset spatula.
- Press apple slices, core side down into the batter, about 1/4-inch apart. Work the apple slices in a circular pattern like the spokes of a wheel.
- Sprinkle cake with cinnamon sugar, if using.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set on rack to cool.
- To make the hot cream sauce, combine cream, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, immediately reduce heat (to prevent scorching) and let simmer for 5 to 8 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar (if using). Pour hot cream sauce over warm apple kuchen.
*To make cinnamon sugar, mix 1 tablespoon sugar with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
Adapted slightly from the French Laundry cookbook