Oktoberfest maybe the most wonderful time of the year. It's certainly one of my favorites, especially now that I can drink beer. Of course, when I reviewed the 25 year old menu from the Oktoberfest tailgate in 1986, a cold shiver went down my spine. In a game not dissimilar to last weeks suck-fest, Penn State played lowly Cincinnati at Beaver Stadium. Surely it would be one quarter and back to the beer. Right? Please?
No. It would not be so. In one of the worst (if not the worst) games I've ever seen the eventual national champs carried a five win Cincinnati team deep into the Fourth Quarter only winning the game on a blocked punt in the end zone. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in that.
Also, there is
pie cake. Let's just hope that it's not humble this week.
8 cups peeled, cored then chopped into bite-sized chunks, tart baking apples, such as: Cortland, Granny Smith or Winesap, or a combination of apples, about 2 1/2 pounds of chopped apples
1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted and completely cooled
2 cups total sugar, 1 cup for the apples and 1 cup for the batter
1 generous tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 large orange, all of its zest and 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons pure orange oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, and, 4-6 tablespoons flour, for preparing tube pan
Step 1. You must have a tube pan with a removable bottom for this recipe. Don't confuse it with a bundt pan, as removing the cake from a bundt pan is not a pretty sight!
Generously butter the entire inside of the pan, including the center tube. Add the flour. Holding the pan over the sink or trash can, shake, twist and turn the pan until the flour has evenly coated the entire surface, including the center tube. Shake out and discard any excess flour. Set aside.
Step 2. Prep apples as directed, placing in a medium mixing bowl as you work. Add the almonds, 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the mixture until apples are evenly coated and the sugar is dissolved. Zest and juice the orange.
Step 3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.Step 4. In a second large mixing bowl, add the eggs, orange juice, orange zest, orange oil, extracts, vegetable oil and the second cup of sugar. On medium high speed of a hand mixer beat until the oil is thoroughly incorporated, about 1 minute.
Step 5. Reduce the mixer speed to low.
Add the flour/baking powder mixture. You can add it gradually, but I just put it all in at once.
Continue to mix on low speed, constantly scraping down the sides of the bowl with the spatula, until the flour is thoroughly incorporated and a thick, spoonable batter has formed, about 1 minute.Step 6. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! Using a large slotted spoon, remove and place half of the apple mixture in a medium mixing bowl. Take them from the top of the bowl. Allow all of the juices to remain with the rest of the apple mixture in the bottom of the bowl. The apples we just removed are the apples that will go on top of the cake. Set them aside!
Step 7. Using a large spoon, place half of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan, spreading it around as you go. Give the pan a few firm back and forth shakes to make sure the batter is evenly distributed.
Step 8. Using a large spoon distribute the second half of the apple mixture, the mixture in the big bowl WITH the juices, along WITH all of the juices, over the batter.
Step 9. Spoon and spread the second half of the cake batter over the apple mixture, doing your best to get it evenly distributed.
Step 10. Distribute the remaining half of apples evenly over the top.
Step 11. Bake cake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted at several spots comes out clean. This is a very dense, moist cake, so don't worry if it takes another 5-10 minutes to finish baking.The cake will be starting to shrink away from the sides of the pan. Using a sharp knife, completely loosen cake from sides of pan. Holding onto the tube portion of the pan, lift and transfer the cake, on the tube portion of the pan, to a cooling rack to cool completely, about 2 hours
Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and set aside to cool, in pan for 15-20 minutesUsing a sharp knife, loosen the cake from the bottom of the pan, carefully invert it onto the cooling rack, then invert it again onto a serving plate to slice and serve
As always there are more photos, stories, and information at Kitchen Encounters. Enjoy the game.