If the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," is true, we can all enjoy this recipe without feeling guilty!

Bill Pesch

HOME COOK: Bill Pesch is pictured in his kitchen, which he says sometimes "resembles a disaster area." Photo courtesy of Bill Pesch

Today I'm featuring a recipe for an apple-cinnamon cake. This delicious cake is perfect for a breakfast treat or, if you prefer, a great dinner dessert when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I found this recipe online several years ago. A Cleveland anthropologist by the name of Sue Ann Kullmann contributed the recipe. Thank you, Sue Ann!

Recent events brought this recipe back to my attention after a couple years' lapse in making it. I sit on the board of directors for Humanities Guåhan, a federally recognized nonprofit affiliated with the National Endowment of the Humanities. The organization's mission is to foster community engagement and dialogue, inspire critical thinking, celebrate diversity and enrich the lives of Guam residents through the power of the humanities. Dr. Kimberlee Kihleng is the organization's tireless director and is supported by a wonderful staff. To learn more about Humanities Guåhan, and some of our great projects, go to the website at www.humanitiesguahan.org.

The board meets every three months. As a result of the COVID-19 situation, for the past year we've had to meet virtually via Zoom. With all the board members vaccinated and pandemic conditions markedly improved, Kim suggested that those of us who felt comfortable with the idea could meet in person, while other board members could still attend the meeting virtually. Those of us who were going to meet in person were encouraged to bring something to eat for our 9 a.m. meeting.

After giving the matter some thought, I decided a coffee cake recipe would be perfect for our morning gathering. Of the various coffee cakes I've made over the years, this recipe for apple-cinnamon cake is the most popular. The interior is moist and flavorful, and the cinnamon-sugar topping balances the tartness of the apples. The inclusion of cream cheese elevates the flavor to a heavenly level! Sometimes I add nuts to the recipe. It really depends on your personal taste.

So if you're getting together with friends or family for a home-cooked breakfast, give this recipe a try and get ready for such comments as: yummy, delicious, mmmmm, tasty, scrumptious, etc. As I said above, you can easily turn this into a dinner dessert by serving it with some vanilla ice cream.

Even if an apple a day doesn't keep the doctor away, this recipe will keep the compliments coming!

Week 27: Apple-Cinnamon Cake

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 3/4 cups sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 cups peeled and chopped tart apples, or about 2 large apples (Granny Smith, Rome or Jonathan)

1/2 cup chopped pecans or other desirable nut (optional)

Steps

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan* with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Peel and chop the apples and place them in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) sugar and the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.

3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture on the chopped apples and mix until well coated and set aside. Also, set aside the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

4. In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with a hand or stand mixer for 1 minute, or until smooth.

5. Add in 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and vanilla extract and beat 1 or 2 minutes until well-blended and smooth.

6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

7. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until well-blended and smooth.

8. Stir the apples into the batter. Add nuts, if using.

9. Pour batter into springform pan and level the batter.

10. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mix onto the top of the batter.

11. Bake 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached and cake pulls away from sides of the pan. Cool on wire rack.

*A springform pan is a cake pan that comes in 2 parts that is used for delicate cakes or cakes with loose toppings, like the cinnamon-apple cake. It has a base and a removable ring for the sides of the pan. You clamp the ring to seal the pan. When the cake is baked and cooled, you simply unclamp the side piece. This makes cutting this delicate cake easy and eliminates the need to flip over the cake to loosen it from the pan. If you don't have one, use a regular 9-inch cake pan. Line the pan with either parchment paper or foil, leaving a good length of the foil or paper hanging over the sides of the pan to make it easier to lift the cake out of the pan when the cake is done. Spray the foil or paper with nonstick spray before pouring in the batter. (Or, you simply cut the cake directly from the pan and not worry about trying to remove the cake from the pan).

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