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A Cake a Day -- Spiced Apple Snack Cakes

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I'm particularly drawn to apples this autumn -- the incredible heirloom apples from our favorite upstate farm stand may be the reason. Ashmead's Kernel, Newtown Pippin, Kid's Orange Red, and Pink Pearl -- even the names are delicious at Montgomery Place Orchard.

Right now, half of the refrigerator is filled with apples ready to be baked, caramelized, sauced, and more. I have been experimenting with several recipes, but here's the first, a simple snack cake. Not too sweet, apple essence in every bite, and paired with classic spices, these individual treats are excellent for anytime of the day.

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Spiced Apple Snack Cakes

yield: 18-20 cakes

Sautéed Apples

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or your favorite apples , medium-large, peeled and cored, cut into 1/4-inch dice2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions
1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over high heat until golden. Add apples, cover for 30 seconds. Remove lid and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they are dry and very tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle apples with 2 tablespoons sugar, and lightly toss until glazed. Cool to room temperature.

Cake

Ingredients

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) walnuts, finely chopped

Directions
1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350℉. Line two standard muffin tins with paper liner and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add flour, sugars, i teaspoon cinnamon, cardamom and salt; beat on low speed until combined. Add butter, increase speed to medium and beat until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 30-40 seconds. Remove 1 cup of mixture (crumb topping) to a separate bowl.

3. Whisk remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda into mixture, beat on medium speed for 30 sec to combine. Add coconut milk, egg, and vanilla; beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Remove mixing bowl and fold in apples by hand with a rubber spatula, fill cupcake liners to 3/4 full.

4. Add walnuts to reserved crumb topping; toss to combine. Sprinkle crumb topping over batter, pressing lightly so that mixture adheres. Bake until center is firm and cake tester comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to rack; and cool for 30 minutes before serving.

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