As this buttery cake bakes, the apples sink into it as though they have been swallowed. Choose medium-size apples for the best presentation. Rome, Winesap, and Newton Pippin will work, too.
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges (about 1 1/4 pounds)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine honey and lemon juice in a large nonstick skillet; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add apples; cook 14 minutes or until almost tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.
Beat 3/4 cup granulated sugar, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon rind. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Pour batter into a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.
Remove apples from skillet with a slotted spoon; discard remaining liquid. Arrange apple slices spokelike on top of batter, pressing slices gently into batter. Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over apples. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into wedges using a serrated knife.