Apple Spice – Pecan Coffee Cake

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So after two weeks of uninterrupted gorgeous sunshine and uncharacteristically high temperatures in Vancouver, it got a little bit gloomy again here for a few days and I couldn’t seem to help but crave hot coffee and comforting baked goods to help me mourn the loss of the sun. Alright so I may have been being a tad over-dramatic about the weather, but what can I say… I got used to the sunshine. So to sooth myself, I decided it was time for some good old fashion comfort food baking.

Since I couldn’t seem to stop drinking warm beverages, I decided that I wanted something that would pair nicely with my morning coffee and perhaps an afternoon latte – yes, I drink too much caffeine... let’s just not make a thing of it right now. So when I began to look around my pantry for a some flavour inspiration, the Okanagan apples that I had just bought at the farmers market the other day immediately caught my eye. What about an apple spice cake?  I asked myself and since at the time I really didn’t have a nailed down perfect recipe for the perfect apple spice cake I decided this was exactly  what my baking mission for the day would be… coming up with a killer apple spice cake recipe.

It probably sounds a little ridiculous that someone who bakes as much as I do wouldn’t have a go to recipe for a classic apple spice coffee cake nailed down, and considering the number of recipes for apple cakes I have tried in the past, it is kind of mind boggling to me too. That being said, I have never executed an apple cake recipe that I was totally and one hundred percent happy with…. until now that is! This apple cake turned out to be everything I wanted it to be! However, ours was a short love affair, (because the cake didn’t last long on my counter) but it was a beautiful and meaningful love affair. Basically this cake lasted only a few hours in our kitchen because each time Cole or I passed by this cake, we would pick a little piece off to nibble on.

Now Cole needs no excuse to pick at my baked goods all day long, but I however feel the need to give reasons for my constant snacking (this is my way of minimizing my food guilt). Thus, I felt the need to justify my snacking by making it clear that I was getting just a little taste of each of its different components each time – oh this time I will take that nice chunk of baked, gooey apple there… oh this time I just want that big piece of chunky crumble with the cream cheese drizzle on it… this time I am going for that crunchy toasted pecan… this time I just want for that nice piece of moist cake that seems to have a little bit of everything in that one bite… yup – that was the story of my day with this cake.

Seriously though, this Apple Spice Pecan Coffee Cake is everything that I wanted it to be and more. The cake itself is so moist, and has just the right amount of spice. There is a perfect ratio of cake to apple and tender apple to crunchy pecan so that you aren’t being over or underwhelmed by the amount of pecans and apples in the cake. Browning the butter in this cake was a spur of the moment decision that definitely paid off in the end. The brown butter just adds a nutty and caramelized aroma to the cake that pairs so well with the pecans. By adding just a hint of fresh orange zest to the batter, I was really able to balance out the sweetness of the cake. The mildly spiced crumb topping it so buttery crumbly, and it is just the perfect way to top off the cake and keep it nice and moist. The finishing touch of just a drizzle of the cream cheese frosting just adds an amazing richness to the cake, and of course the flavour of that cream cheese just pairs with the apples and the spices incredibly!

Every single ingredient in this cake contributes to it being positively irresistible and completely addicting. So let’s cut to the chase and get you to the recipe shall we??

Enjoy!

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So after two weeks of uninterrupted gorgeous sunshine and uncharacteristically high temperatures in Vancouver, it got a little bit gloomy again here for a few days and I couldn’t seem to help but crave hot coffee and comforting baked goods to help me mourn the loss of the sun. Alright so I may have been being a tad over-dramatic about the weather, but what can I say… I got used to the sunshine. So to sooth myself, I decided it was time for some good old fashion comfort food baking.

Since I couldn’t seem to stop drinking warm beverages, I decided that I wanted something that would pair nicely with my morning coffee and perhaps an afternoon latte – yes, I drink too much caffeine... let’s just not make a thing of it right now. So when I began to look around my pantry for a some flavour inspiration, the Okanagan apples that I had just bought at the farmers market the other day immediately caught my eye. What about an apple spice cake?  I asked myself and since at the time I really didn’t have a nailed down perfect recipe for the perfect apple spice cake I decided this was exactly  what my baking mission for the day would be… coming up with a killer apple spice cake recipe.

It probably sounds a little ridiculous that someone who bakes as much as I do wouldn’t have a go to recipe for a classic apple spice coffee cake nailed down, and considering the number of recipes for apple cakes I have tried in the past, it is kind of mind boggling to me too. That being said, I have never executed an apple cake recipe that I was totally and one hundred percent happy with…. until now that is! This apple cake turned out to be everything I wanted it to be! However, ours was a short love affair, (because the cake didn’t last long on my counter) but it was a beautiful and meaningful love affair. Basically this cake lasted only a few hours in our kitchen because each time Cole or I passed by this cake, we would pick a little piece off to nibble on.

Now Cole needs no excuse to pick at my baked goods all day long, but I however feel the need to give reasons for my constant snacking (this is my way of minimizing my food guilt). Thus, I felt the need to justify my snacking by making it clear that I was getting just a little taste of each of its different components each time – oh this time I will take that nice chunk of baked, gooey apple there… oh this time I just want that big piece of chunky crumble with the cream cheese drizzle on it… this time I am going for that crunchy toasted pecan… this time I just want for that nice piece of moist cake that seems to have a little bit of everything in that one bite… yup – that was the story of my day with this cake.

Seriously though, this Apple Spice Pecan Coffee Cake is everything that I wanted it to be and more. The cake itself is so moist, and has just the right amount of spice. There is a perfect ratio of cake to apple and tender apple to crunchy pecan so that you aren’t being over or underwhelmed by the amount of pecans and apples in the cake. Browning the butter in this cake was a spur of the moment decision that definitely paid off in the end. The brown butter just adds a nutty and caramelized aroma to the cake that pairs so well with the pecans. By adding just a hint of fresh orange zest to the batter, I was really able to balance out the sweetness of the cake. The mildly spiced crumb topping it so buttery crumbly, and it is just the perfect way to top off the cake and keep it nice and moist. The finishing touch of just a drizzle of the cream cheese frosting just adds an amazing richness to the cake, and of course the flavour of that cream cheese just pairs with the apples and the spices incredibly!

Every single ingredient in this cake contributes to it being positively irresistible and completely addicting. So let’s cut to the chase and get you to the recipe shall we?? Enjoy lovelies…

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How to make… 
In a medium saucepan bring butter to a boil over medium high heat and allow to cook until browned – about 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Toast your pecans: Place pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a 350 degree oven to 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly.
Note: Keep a close eye on them after the 5 minute mark because nuts can burn very quickly!

Crumb Topping
Prepare your crumb topping while you are waiting for your butter to cool. Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix with a spoon or your hands until combined and dense crumbly dough begins to form. Set aside until ready to use.

Apple Spice Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and line a 8×8 inch square pan or a 10 inch round cake pan or a smaller casserole dish (I used one that is about a 10 x 6 inch rectangle)

In a small mixing bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt; set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter and sugars until combined. Because the butter is still fluid, it will not fluff up the way it normally does until you add the eggs. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and allow to beat on high for 2 minutes until the batter is pale and fluffy.

Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low until just combined. Add in your buttermilk and stir to just combine.Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add final 1/2 of flour mixture and mix until batter has just come together and there are no large lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and fold in the apples and toasted pecans.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and crumble the crumb topping over the cake to completely cover the batter. you may have some crumb left over and this can be stored in an airtight container for other baking.

Bake the cake for 40- 50 minutes or until the crumb topping is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes before drizzling cream cheese icing over top. Serve warm or cooled completely – it is delicious either way!

Cream Cheese Icing
In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and there are no lumps. Slowly add 1/2 of the icing sugar and the 2 tbsp of brown sugar mixing on low until combined. Add the remaining 1/2 of icing sugar, mixing on low to combine. Add the vanilla and beat the icing for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.

Take 1/4 cup of the icing, place in a heatproof bowl preferably with a spout and microwave for thirty seconds or until fluid enough to drizzle. Pour / drizzle the cream cheese icing over the cake (however much drizzle you want)

This recipe makes quite a bit of icing, so you will have quite a bit left over to use for other baking projects (I suggest using the leftovers to make a batch of my Brown Butter Maple Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies)

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Yes, this recipe for Apple Spice Pecan Coffee Cake is killer and it is the perfect comforting cake for cold, gloomy days. And now that you have this recipe in your possession, you must bake it with caution, because as amazing as this cake is… I do have to warn you, that If you have this cake available to you on the counter in your kitchen, you will not be able to resist snacking on it all day long. With great power comes great responsibility… Any fellow hard core spider-man fans out there? 😀 Yes, that’s right, I am something of a spider-man nerd… what?

Alright moving on! This cake is great and you must try the recipe asap! As always i would love to hear how yours turns out!

Happy Baking!

KP xoxo

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