Monday, October 11, 2010

Low-Fat Apple Coffee Cake: Get in My Mouth, Right Now

Today on Serious Eats: All-American Chili. Wonderfully autumn-y, and even better the next day.

As a New Yorker, I like to think that October is our reward for making it through August.

If you’ve ever been here in late summer, you know that the humidity, stench, and collective bad mood make our eighth month a special kind of hell. Yet, less than 31 days after it’s over, we’re compensated with weather straight out of a John Irving novel.

In October, the atmospheric moisture all but disappears. The temperatures drop from the high 400s into the ├╝ber-pleasant upper 60s. The persistent aromas of bus fuel and body odor are replaced by … well, nothing. And let me tell you, Eau de Nothing in New York is about as good as you’re gonna get, except for that time the Jersey chemical factory leaked and the city reeked of maple syrup for two days.

Yeah, that was cool.

Anyway, October also means an entirely new season and style of cooking. Out are raw salads and grilled meats. In come long-simmering stews and cinnamon-spiked quick breads. Zucchini and tomatoes are making way for butternut squash and heavenly-when-cooked-correctly Brussels sprouts. And let’s not forget fall’s finest bounty: bag after bag of regional apples, purchased for a pittance. A pittance! Forsooth, I say!

I recently procured just such a sack of the medium-sized MacIntosh variety, which I find fairly solid for eating, saucing, and all-purpose baking. One by one, I turned them into snacks, applesauce, and Low-Fat Apple Coffee Cake from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Which? Will make you drool on your culottes. It’s that good.

Words that describe this cake: warm, moist, sweet, light, fairly low-fat, apple-packed, crunch-esquey, cinnamonilicity, scrumptulescent.

Words that do not describe this cake: gross, stapler, Michael Vick.

Of course, if you should embark on this journey of delectable…ness, there are a few things to know:

1) You’re supposed to coat the baking pan with cooking spray. I ran out, but a thin swipe of Butter-flavored Crisco stood in nicely.

2) I substituted a real egg for egg substitute. Whoa. Meta.

3) As noted, I used MacIntoshes, but other baking apples may elicit even better results. So, experiment! (Except with Red Delicious. They’re pretty useless in cakes like this.)

Welcome, autumn. I could not be happier to eat, er, see you.


If you think this looks good, you’ll really like:

Low-Fat Apple Coffee Cake
Makes 10 servings.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
NOTE: This looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s not, I promise. A bunch are repeats. No fear!

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
A few dashes nutmeg
1-1/2 cups small-diced, peeled, cored apples (2 small) (I used MacIntosh)
1/4 cup egg (about 1 large egg)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans
1/4 cup applesauce (I used homemade)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon coldish butter, cut up into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round baking pan with either cooking spray or Crisco. Set aside.

2) In a small mixing bowl, combine 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg with a whisk. Set aside.

3) In a medium mixing bowl, combine apples and egg. Add sugar, 1/4 cup chopped nuts, and applesauce. Pour in flour mixture. Stir to combine. Pour batter into your pan. It will be thick, but don’t worry. Flatten it out evenly with a spatula.

4) In a separate small bowl, combine brown sugar with remaining all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter, either with a fork or a pastry blender. It should look like crumbs when you’re done. Stir in remaining nuts. Sprinkle it over your batter.

5) Bake 30 or 35 minutes, or until the cake passes the toothpick test. Remove, let sit in the pan for 10 minutes, and serve to rousing applause. It’s seriously, really good.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
205 calories, 5.8 g fat, 1.4 g fiber, 3.1 g protein, $0.23

2/3 cup all-purpose flour: 303 calories, 0.8 g fat, 2.2 g fiber, 8.6 g protein, $0.07
1/2 cup whole wheat flour: 228 calories, 0.6 g fat, 1.7 g fiber, 6.5 g protein, $0.11
1 teaspoon baking soda: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon: 6 calories, 0.1 g fat, 1.2 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.03
1/4 teaspoon salt: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
A few dashes nutmeg: negligible calories, fat, fiber, and protein, $0.01
1-1/2 cups small-diced, peeled, cored apples: 79 calories, 0.2 g fat, 2.1 g fiber, 0.4 g protein, $0.25
1/4 cup egg: 74 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g fiber, 6.3 g protein, $0.21
3/4 cup granulated sugar: 581 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.16
1/4 cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans: 190 calories, 19.4 g fat, 2.3 g fiber, 3.5 g protein: $0.50
1/4 cup applesauce: 26 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.7 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.13
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar: 207 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.15
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour: 29 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, 0.8 g protein, $0.01
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour: 29 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.2 g fiber, 0.8 g protein, $0.02
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon: 3 calories, 0 g fat, 0.6 g fiber, 0 g protein, $0.02
1 tablespoon coldish butter: 102 calories, 11.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, 0.1 g protein, $0.06
1/4 cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans: 190 calories, 19.4 g fat, 2.3 g fiber, 3.5 g protein: $0.50
TOTAL: 2047 calories, 57.3 g fat, 13.5 g fiber, 30.7 g protein, $2.25
PER SERVING (TOTAL/10): 205 calories, 5.8 g fat, 1.4 g fiber, 3.1 g protein, $0.23

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Danielle said...

This looks delicious! I have an apple cake that I love to make and I could swear that it's the simplest recipe I have. It has a cinnamon sugar topping instead of crumb topping. I posted it on my blog as well...

Gotta love apple season! Yum!

mangocheeks said...

I can just imagine the texture on this. Yum.

Laura Lee Drum said...

Wow - this looks great! I've actually got some pumpkin bran bread in the oven. I think I might try yours next!

Follow me here to find out how the pumpkin bread turned out!

Erin said...

This cake looks amazing. I love how you included all the nutrition information. I really can not wait to make it!

Anonymous said...

I just made it this morning.... YUMMY!!!!!! I made 2 batches and i shared one pan with my friends and the other one i'll share it with my hubby and kids later. For my taste, it's a little too sweet, so next time i will cut some of the sugar and i ll try only whole wheat flour..
But this LOW FAT CAKE is a KEEPER!!!!
Thank you!

Michael Clark said...

Fantastic recipe! Thanks for posting it. I was looking for something apple related and this really hit the spot.

Farmgirl Susan said...

Ha, your intro cracked me up. Thanks for the laugh. I, too, feel each year like October is a beautiful reward - and I loved the part about the temperature being in the high 400s. NYC summer sounds just like rural Missouri, only we don't have the bus fuel and body odors - well, at least not other peoples' until we leave the farm. ;)

Your cake looks great! That's my kind of comfort food recipe. Now if only I hadn't baked all the (sadly supermarket) apples I bought the other day into a pie last night (which we naturally ate for breakfast this morning). I'm envious of all your cheap apples! :)

LibertyJBE said...

I made this over the weekend and it was SOOOOOOO good. My husband ate half of it over the day and can't stop talking about how good it was. Thanks for the recipe!

a said...

you think i could sub a mashed banana for the applesauce?

usually box cakes let u use either apple sauce or banana to sub out oil...

i dont keep apple sauce on hand but have a ton of bananas and apples....

Anonymous said...

I always look for healthy recipes and i'll say this is the best apple coffee cake. I didn't even had to make any changes, turn out perfect.
Definitely a Keeper!!!!