Pureed apples, blended into the batter, give this cake a distinctive flavor, but it’s the cup of cognac—or other brandy or bourbon—cooked with butter and sugar that makes it memorable.
Prep time: 50 minutes
Bake time: 50 minutes, plus
one hour of resting time
Makes about 12 servings
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more if using a Bundt pan
2 medium apples (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored and quartered
2½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1 cup Cognac, Calvados or other brandy or bourbon
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan, or butter and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan.
2. Put the apples in a blender or food processor; puree; remove, and set aside. Put 1½ sticks butter and 1½ cups sugar in a food processor, and pulse until combined. With the motor running, add the eggs one at a time. Add the apple puree, and process until just combined.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the apple mixture in the food processor. Then, with the motor running, add about half of the milk; add another third of the flour, followed by the rest of the milk, then finally the last of the flour. Process until the batter just evens out. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until the middle is set (your fingers should leave only a small indentation when you gently press the cake), 45 to 50 minutes. When the cake is done, cool it in the pan for about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine the liquor in a small saucepan with the remaining ½ stick butter and 1 cup sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then pour over the cake; let it sit for at least an hour before serving. (For a Bundt cake, let it sit for an hour, then unmold.) Cover with wax paper, and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.