Since December is already a crazy busy baking month, why not throw a delicious yeasted cake into the mix?! The December host of the Bread Baking Babes is Gretchen of Provecho Peru. She chose the lovely and easy German cake Apple Kutchen. It is perfect for this time of year and a breeze to put together. Being a good little baking buddy (well, I am trying to be at least) I firmly put my mind to baking this and not flaking off like last month. Since I didn’t have any apples on had I used some dried pears that I had. I first soaked them overnight in Amaretto and then rehydrated them in pear-cinnamon cider, finally giving them a rough dice. I also had some cranberries in the freezer (thank you Noelle for the idea) and last but not least, some finely diced crystallized ginger. It smelled heavenly coming out of the oven and now my mother has the perfect treat to bring with her to church on tomorrow morning. I was a little worried about how dark my crust was but when tried it I was happy that it was still very soft and moist. Easy and delicious. Bake on!
Yield: 12 servings
Source: Adapted from BH&G Holiday Baking 2009 Magazine
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup quick oatmeal (I used Quaker)
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 1/4 – 2 3/4 cups flour,divided
1 package (2 1/4 tsp)active dry yeast (I used 2 teaspoon SAF gold yeast)
1/2 cup milk (I used lowfat)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dried Pear topping
2 cups reconstituted dried pears, roughly diced
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (I tossed mine in a small bit of egg whites then some sugar so as to not be so tart)
2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely diced
*If you want to make it Apple Kutchen, use this for the fruit topping instead:
4 cups apple slices (about 4 medium baking apples)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Grease a 13x9x2 baking pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour and the yeast; set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat and stir milk, granulated sugar, butter and salt just until mixture is warm (120F-130F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture and eggs to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high-speed for 2 minutes or until smooth. Beat in as much of the remaining flour as you can without the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour to make a stiff batter.
Spread batter into the prepared baking pan. Evenly spread the pears over the top of the batter then sprinkle the cranberries over them and finally the ginger. Crumble the topping over the fruit mixture.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
(for apple topping combine apples, brown sugar, tapioca, lemon juice and apple pie spice. Place apple mixture on top of the batter. Sprinkle with Crumb Topping. )
Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30 minutes or until top is browned and apples are tender. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.