My boyfriend doesn’t like things made with apples, pumpkin, or squash, so fall is kind of a hard time for us. I’m all like, “It’s time to apple-pumpkin-squashify all the things!” and he’s all like, “Oh, it looks like there’s some bread over there for toast.” Literally, he had toast for lunch the other day. I could not even get him to try a bite of this butternut squash soup with fried garlic and chili oil.
I’ve been a paleo food blogger for long enough that I feel like a little bit of a failure when my boyfriend has toast for lunch.
Things are going a little bit better on the apple front, though, because Ben really liked this cake. Unless you’re the one to stir the grated apple into the batter, which would be a pretty major tipoff, you probably won’t know that there’s any apple in it. It does help make the batter extra moist, though, kind of like the zucchini in zucchini bread, and also adds a little more sweetness.
The very best part of this cake, though, is the buttery nut topping. I made it with both hazelnuts and pecans (the pecan version is what’s in the pictures, because the photos of the cake with the hazelnut topping are trapped inside my defunct old computer) and loved both, so it really comes down to which nut you prefer. Just don’t skip the topping altogether, because the salty-sweet crunch is irresistible!
And I almost forgot to tell you–this is a breakfast cake. It’s perfect warmed up in the morning with a little melty ghee or butter on top, and a big mug of coffee or tea. Enjoy!
Maple Apple Spice Cake
Yield: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
For the topping:
1/2 cup pecans or hazelnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon melted ghee
Pinch of sea salt
For the cake:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and grated (about 1 cup)
*I recently spotted King Arthur brand almond flour at Whole Foods and bought some to try. I was really happy with it because it’s very finely ground, which creates a really nice delicate crumb in cakes like this one.
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease it thoroughly.
To make the topping, toss the pecans and melted ghee together in a small bowl. Add the sugar and salt and stir.
To make the cake, mix the almond flour, arrowroot or tapioca, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl, using a whisk or fork to break up any clumps. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, ghee or coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir the grated apple into the wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and sprinkle on the topping.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is just set on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a tiny crumb or two. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, slice, and serve warm or at room temperature.
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