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Apple Streusel Cake Recipe & Video

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Through the ages apples were not merely a fruit to be eaten as food, they were also thought to be magical, with their powers extending from curing diseases, ensuring fertility, to giving immortality. Even today the apple provides both good and bad symbolism. As Boria Sax tells us in 'Rooted in America' there is "linkage of apples to health, to rural and domestic industry, to sin and sex, to purity and danger, and to all-American identity." But most of us usually focus on apples as a food and the fact is, is that they are an important cultivated fruit in most temperate parts of the world. Apple varieties now number well into the thousands with each having its own unique color, shape, texture and flavor. Their colors can range from red, green, yellow to brown; its flavors can be sweet, tart, mellow, or spicy; and its textures can be soft and mealy, to hard, to crisp so there is an apple to suit everyone's tastes.

This Apple Streusel Cake is a great way to showcase the apple's delicious flavor and texture. It falls into the 'coffee cake' category as it combines a light and buttery cake with sliced apples and a streusel topping. I like to use the tart flavored Granny Smith apple in this cake, but other excellent choices are the sweeter tasting Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Rome, or Mutsu. The crunchy streusel is simply made with brown sugar, butter, flour, ground cinnamon and nuts (excellent choices are almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans). If you like you can make the streusel ahead and just cover and store in the refrigerator until needed. This cake is delicious warm from the oven, at room temperature, or even cold. Excellent the day it's made, but you can cover and store the cake for a few days.
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Apple Streusel Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Butter and flour an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan.

Streusel Topping: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped nuts. Set aside while you make the cake batter.

Cake Batter: In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can use a hand mixer), beat the butter until creamy smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add the flour mixture (in three additions), alternately with the milk (in two additions), and beat just until combined. Spread the batter onto the bottom of your prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. 

Evenly arrange the apple slices on top of the cake batter and then sprinkle with the streusel topping.

Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. 

Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Leftovers can be covered and stored for a few days.

Makes 8 - 10 servings.

Note: To toast the pecans, walnuts or almonds. Put on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for about 8 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely. If using hazelnuts place in the oven for 15 minutes or until fragrant and the skins begin to flake (peel). Remove from oven and cover the hot nuts with a clean dish towel. Let the hazelnuts (steam) for a about five minutes, then rub the nuts in the towel briskly to remove the skins. Let cool then chop coarsely. 

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Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons (40 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup (50 grams) toasted and coarsely chopped nuts (you can use almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans)

Cake Batter:

1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (55 grams) (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup (80 ml) milk, at room temperature

2 large firm textured apples (I use Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and cut into thin (1/8 inch) slices

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