Ginger Apple Torte

By • November 7, 2010 259 Comments

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Author Notes: Thanksgiving desserts have to be able to be made ahead and not require much work for serving. After such a large meal, who wants to start cooking again? I think that’s why pies are such a popular Thanksgiving dessert. This torte is part gingerbread, part apple cake. (The gingerbread is a variation of Laurie Colwin's from Home Cooking. I used to bake it in a heart-shaped pan. ) Ginger is thought to aid digestion, so this is perfect for after Thanksgiving dinner. It can be made one-two days ahead, and the flavors will develop. - drbabs

Food52 Review: A fusion of gingerbread and apple cake, this recipe is our dream cake for fall -- layers of spiced batter sandwich tender caramelized apples and on top a coating of turbinado sugar melts to a sturdy, glassy crust. Eat this cake fresh, within a day, and make sure you caramelize the apples when sauteeing, so they get a little oomph! - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6-8

  • 3 large apples (I used Honeycrisp and Fuji.)
  • 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter + ~2 TB butter + more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (if you want more of a gingery kick; optional)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (I peeled a 2 inch piece and grated it with a microplane grater)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 10 walnut halves
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9” springform pan. If you are concerned about your springform pan leaking, wrap the bottom with aluminum foil.
  2. Core and peel apples, and cut into thin slices. Melt ~2 TB of butter in saucepan and cook until it is lightly browned. Stir in apple slices until all slices are covered with browned butter. Sprinkle ~2 TB turbinado sugar over apples, and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, till apples are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger (if using) and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Beat in two eggs. Beat in lemon zest, ginger, molasses, rum, and vanilla extract. (The mixture will look curdled. It's OK.)
  5. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time, stirring after each addition so the batter is thick and smooth. Fold in the milk and yogurt till batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  6. Scrape half the batter into the prepared springform pan. Cover with apple slices, and spread the other half of the batter over the apples. Smooth top with spatula. Place walnut halves on the top of the cake, and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake may slightly pull away from the sides of the pan.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it completely from the sides of the pan. Open the ring and remove it. If you want to remove the cake from the base of the springform pan, wait until it has cooled completely, then slide a long thin spatula between the cake and the base. Use a large spatula to then move it to a serving plate.
  9. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a blob of barely sweetened softly whipped cream.

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