This incredibly moist bundt cake gains its strong apple flavor from 4 cups of shredded Granny smith apples baked into the batter, as well as a concentrated apple liquid (made by reducing apple juice and apple liqueur) that is brushed over the warm cake after baking and used to create the cake’s sweet-tart apple and cream cheese glaze. Grating the apples, as opposed to chopping them into pieces, makes for more even distribution of moisture and apple flavor throughout this dense and delightful cake. While we opted to keep the spice factor simple here (to avoid overpowering the apple) with just a teaspoon of cinnamon, feel free to mix it up and add other favorite spices—such as cloves, ginger, nutmeg, or allspice. You can also swap the vanilla bean paste for 11/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. If you can’t find apple liqueur, simply substitute apple flavored brandy or 1/4 cup more apple juice.
1 3/4 pounds Granny smith apples, peeled and cored (4 cups shredded)
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
Cut the apples into pieces; shred using a food processor fitted with a grater attachment. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugars, milk, 1/4 cup apple juice, vanilla paste, and eggs. Gently fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Fold in the grated apple. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake at 350° for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center of the cake comes out clean. While cake is baking, combine remaining 1/2 cup apple juice and apple liqueur in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about 1/4. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the apple juice mixture
Place cake in pan on a wire rack. Pierce the surface of the cake in pan with a skewer; brush cake with the remaining apple juice reduction. Let stand 15-20 minutes. Pour the reserved 3 tablespoons of apple juice reduction over cream cheese in a small bowl; whisk until smooth. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Invert cake onto a serving plate and allow to cool slightly (15-20 minutes); drizzle with cream cheese mixture.
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