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Apple-Studded Brown-Butter Streusel Coffee Cake

by in Sep 2011

Total Time: 30

Yield: 8-10 servings

Cooking butter until it turns a rich brown color adds a nutty flavor to this addictive confection. In fact, I don't think it's possible to pack in more appealing elements here: buttermilk batter, warm spices, streusel topping, browned butter, and lots of apples.
Apple-Studded Brown-Butter Streusel Coffee Cake
Photo/Art by Squire Fox

FOR THE TOPPING:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 8 tender-sweet apple slices, unpeeled (garnish)

Instructions:

Butter a 9-inch cake pan with removable sides. Set aside.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Sprinkle butter cubes over mixture and use your fingertips to work it into a crumbly topping. Chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the cake.

FOR THE CAKE:

Ingredients:

  • 10-2/3 tablespoons (2/3 cup) salted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 medium-size tender-sweet apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small pan, melt butter over medium heat until it begins to turn a medium nut-brown, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a medium-size bowl, beat egg and egg yolk to blend. Whisk in melted butter and buttermilk; then pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir just to combine. Fold in apple cubes and pour batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle topping over cake and arrange apple slices around the top, pressing them lightly into the topping. Bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes.

Set on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Use a thin knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Carefully remove sides, transfer cake to a platter, and serve warm.

Apple notes: The texture of this cake should be extremely tender, which is why a tender-sweet apple is important. The popular supermarket varieties Fuji and Gala are a great choice here; use the same variety for the garnish.
Updated Friday, August 5th, 2011
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