October 7, 2011

Apple Cake for Late Night Baking

If you haven't joined the party, it's called Late Night Baking, and you're already late. 

You see, if you're a college student - or any student, for that matter - you probably have a running list of activities to procrastinate from doing homework at night. These activities might include television, doing the laundry, taking an extra long shower, staring out the window contemplating life, staring at the cover of a book contemplating life, or starting at the insides of your eyelids not contemplating anything at all.

I propose to you a new idea which is currently revolutionizing the way college students go about procrastination. It's called Late Night Baking. And it's totally delicious. 

LNB typically starts around 9:30 or 10:00pm, when you realize that you finished dinner about 3 hours ago, that you didn't get enough to eat during dinner anyways, and that 3 hours is far too long to go without eating in the first place. You sit at your desk, contemplating whether or not its worth it to read the introduction to the book you have been assigned, and realize that in the amount of time you've thought about it, you could have just read the introduction. So instead, you decide to just not read the book at all. 

Soon, your thoughts turn elsewhere. Am I hungry? you ask yourself. No, I must not be hungry, I did just eat. So you open your computer, log on to Facebook, and begin browsing. But again, your thoughts turn elsewhere. 

Why would I ask myself if I'm hungry if I'm not actually hungry? 

At this point, you decide that the reason you couldn't concentrate on your reading is probably because you're still hungry, and that the only responsible solution is to eat something. But what? There's leftovers from dinner, but you just ate those and don't want any more. There's ice cream in the freezer, but that's kind of unhealthy to be snacking on ice cream late at night. There's an apple you could eat…

Who wants an apple? To hell with health! I've had a long day! I need some real food, and I want dessert! And while I'm at it, to hell with reading! Like I said, I've had a long day. I'm baking something! 

And that's when LNB starts to make so much sense. What you bake is up to you. There's a whole world of tasty treats ready to be mixed together and popped in the oven.  When, around midnight, the smell of the baking starts to fill your house or apartment with its wonderful, comforting aroma, you'll understand why LNB is the next big think. You'll see why it's what all the cool kids are doing. You'll want to join the party. And you'll know what to serve that ice cream in your freezer with. 

Your professor might not be happy, but your stomach will thank you. And let's be honest, we all know who wins that contest every time. 

Apple Cake for Late Night Baking 
slightly adapted from David Lebovitz and Dorie Greenspan 
makes one 9-inch cake 

This cake is my favorite apple dessert, even more than apple pie. The batter is light and fluffy and holds the juicy apple slices just right. Eat it late and night, and then again for breakfast the next morning. If you want, serve it with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

-3/4 cups flour
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
-pinch of salt
-4 large apples
-2 large eggs, at room temperature
-3/4 cups sugar
-3 tablespoons dark rum, optional
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus more unmelted for the pan
-1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, optional 

1. Preheat oven to 350. 

2. Heavily butter a 9-inch springform pan and place on a baking sheet.

3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

4. Peel and core the apples and slice into thin slices. 

5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy and then mix in the sugar, rum (if using) and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then mix in the melted butter. Mix in the rest of the flour mixture, and then the rest of the butter, until a smooth batter forms. 

6. Gently fold in the apple slices until they are fully coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. 

7. Smooth out the top of the mixture and dust with nutmeg, if using. 

8. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen. Remove the cake from the pan and serve.