Dorie's Double Apple Bundt Cake

Truth be told, this post was supposed to be about an entirely different recipe. Perfectly delicious, mini dutch apple pies, in fact, using jazzed up store-bought pie crust. But then this lovely Double Apple Bundt Cake happened, and well, pie, schmie. Also, it makes for a wonderful segway into
talking about how I've gotten to chat with the ever-inspiring Dorie Greenspan twice in the past week, in person. And I died a little from the wonder of it all both times.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dorie Greenspan, I will resist the urge to shake and judge you and just say this: she is a fantastically talented food, cookbook and recipe writer, and her baking recipes in particular are some of the most phenomenal and fool-proof around. Add to that her homes in Paris and New York City, an unbelievably sweet and warm demeanor, smartly cropped hair and wee spectacles, and you've got yourself the sort of woman that you can only dream of growing up to be. She, and her books, are really something.

I first spazzily introduced myself to Dorie nice and early on the first day of BlogHer Food, a forecast of the many inspiring folks to whom I'd have the pleasure of spazzily introducing myself over the course of the weekend. I won't go into elaborate details about the conference itself, because there are so many fabulous bloggers who have already shared their experiences and told of the general events of the weekend. But because we're friends, I'll be honest with you: I sort had mixed feelings about the whole thing. I know! I know. Hear me out.

Here's the thing: for starters, the upsides were huge, such as the aforementioned face-to-face meeting of other bloggers who constantly inspire me, meeting new friends and the mad knowledge that was dropped at several of the sessions I attended. But the awkward teenage introvert in me quickly discovered a downside--excitedly chatting with so many people I'd never met while crammed body-to-body with hundreds of other excitedly chatting people and somewhat aggressive, product-pushing sponsors was, in a word, crazymaking. Halfway through the first day, I needed a padded room, a nap, a cake and a fork. Come to think of it, this Double Apple Bundt Cake of Dorie's would've knocked out my throbbing social anxiety quite nicely.

After a week of recovery from BlogHer Food, I got a double dose of Dorie at her San Francisco book signing (for her latest treasure Around My French Table--please love yourself a little more by getting a copy ASAP, thank you very much). I spazzily greeted her all over again, and she was every bit as adorable and welcoming as she was in our first meeting as she signed my well-loved copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours. Flipping through it back at home after the signing, I realized that the time was right--nay, perfect--for her Double Apple Bundt Cake.

If you can think of anything more suitably October in feeling than baking a softly spiced, apple-studded, big mama Bundt cake, then I'd really like to know what that is. Because while the cake alone would've been enough to make anyone burst with Fall Joy, I also prepared a huge pot of shortribs and vegetables braised in red wine, and the whole thing was just so magically autumnal I could've cried right there on the spot. I think Dorie would be proud.

Double Apple Bundt Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours

You can really use any kind of apples for this recipe, but the more firm they are, the easier they'll be to grate. Also, if you opt for a store-bought apple butter, try to find the least sweet of the ones that are available (or, hey, make your own!). My cake came out a little sweeter than I might have liked due to an apple butter that was creeping near cloying, though nobody (but, um, me) complained about the sweetness of the finished cake.

If you've got the time (and the willpower), this Bundt is the sort of fabulous cake that tastes when better when left to stand overnight, wrapped well in plastic wrap, before serving.

Makes 12 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup store-bought (or homemade) apple butter, spiced or plain
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden)

Optional glaze:

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
about 2 tablespoons lemon juice, orange juice, (or milk or water, whatever you've got)

Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan, or if yours is not nonstick, butter and flour it, too.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, fluffy and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl again. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the apple butter--don't worry if the batter looks curdled at this point. Mix in the grated apples. With the mixer still running on low speed, stir in the dry ingredients gradually. When just a few streaks of flour remain, stir in the nuts and raisins. Stop the mixer and give the batter a few folds by hand just to make sure everything's incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean inserted deeply into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before unmolding it onto the rack to cool completely.

If you want to glaze the cake, stir together the confectioners' sugar and your liquid of choice, a tiny bit at a time, until the glaze falls easily off the end of a spoon. Place the cake on a serving plate. Drizzle the cake generously with the glaze, letting it drip down the sides of the cake. Alternatively, you can dust the cake with confectioners' sugar just before serving. This cake keeps beautifully at room temperature for up to 4 days, or up to 2 months in the freezer.

CakeShauna Sever