Fall is here and with it comes all of the wonderful traditions like pumpkin patches, hay rides and apple season! It seems like wherever we go there are apples galore. So in celebration of apple season, I thought I’d offer up my family’s favorite apple crisp recipe. In addition, my daughter, who is enjoying an apple theme of the week at pre-school, and I used a boxed cake mix to create this fun apple shaped cake as a surprise for her brothers. My kids loved it and it’s super easy to make (scroll down).
5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.
Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.
And we love it with vanilla or dulche de leche ice cream.
Apple Shaped Cake:
We love to bake in my house. Sometimes we bake from scratch (like above) but just as often we rely on a boxed mix and let our creativity run wild. Since apples were the theme at school for Little, she challenged me to make an apple shaped cake. Clicking around the internet this summer, I stumbled upon a piñata cake at Subtle Revelry, which I adapted for this project. I think it turned out pretty well, especially since I hid a surprise inside for her (gummy worms ).
Apple Shaped Cake:
1 box of cake mix (any flavor but we love Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake)
One container of vanilla or white frosting
Gummy worms or any other assorted small candies to hide inside, 1 tootsie roll (for apple stem) and 1 green fruit roll up (for apple leaf)
2 (1 quart oven-safe bowls)
Grease and flour the bowls. If you only have one bowl that’s fine you can bake one cake at a time but make sure the bowl cools off in between.
Make cake mix according to box directions. Divide batter equally between two bowls.
Bake cakes at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
While cakes are cooking take out frosting can and use food coloring to create the color of your apple.
When cakes are done, let them cool for 10-15 minutes, and then carefully turn cakes out onto a rack and let them cool completely.
Put a plate over each cake and flip them over so that the cracked side is facing up.
Using a sharp knife, make an outline of a smaller circle on the top of each of the cakes, making sure to leave 1-2 inches around the edge. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out the inside of each of the cakes to create “cake bowls”. Be careful not to puncture the cake on either the sides or bottom. (I saved the discarded pieces and let the kids snack on them later).
Place one of the cakes on a plate with the hollowed out center facing up. Apply frosting all around the lip of this cake; this will allow the other cake bowl to adhere when placed on top. Fill both cake bowls with gummy worms or other assorted candies.
When done, very carefully put one cake bowl on top of the other candy-filled cake, paying attention that the edges are lined up.
With a spatula or non serrated knife, apply a light coat of frosting to the cake (also known as a crumb coat). Place cake in fridge for 15 minutes to chill. This first layer of frosting secures any crumbs to the cake so that the finished product will look neater. Remove cake from fridge. Apply a second and thicker coat of colored frosting. Place the tootsie roll on the top of the cake to be the stem. Using kitchen scissors cut out a leaf shape from the green fruit roll up and stick it on the top of the cake. Voila!
Tip: Once you cut into your cake and surprise everyone with the treats inside, cut the rest of the cake into slices or it might cave in (said from experience).