If you wish to make this as a dessert, serve this with the custard sauce but if you wish to just have it simply with coffee or tea in the morning or afternoon, you can serve it on its own. Of course, no one will stop you if you wish to add a scoop of Vanilla ice cream, too! Please enjoy!
Note: You can make a smaller cake or a thicker/bigger one. They are both good either way. When I fancy a more substantial cake, I simply double the recipe but for convenience I will add here how I adjust it. The one in parenthesis would be the bigger version but feel free to adjust it to your family's needs. Needless to say, baking would take much longer and you may want to cover the cake pan with foil after 35-40 minutes to prevent over browning of the top and then continue to bake until fully cooked. This is what it looks like when the recipe is doubled.
2 large or 3 small Granny Smith or other tart Apples
Juice of 1 large lemon (or 2 small ones)
1 cup all-purpose Flour (2 cups)
1 teaspoon Baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup Sugar (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
8 Tablespoons unsalted Butter (divided in half, soften to room temp half of the butter and set the other half aside) (For the bigger cake - 12 Tablespoons Butter, divided in half, soften to room temp the other half while set aside the other half)
1/2 cup Milk (1 cup)
2 Eggs, beaten lightly (3)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (1 1/2 teaspoon)
Cinnamon-Sugar (for dusting)
For the Vanilla Custard Sauce
1 cup Milk
4 Egg Yolks
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. If I am making the bigger version of the cake, I use a springform pan otherwise I use an 8-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper.
Squeeze the lemon(s )to get the juice. Pour the juice in a bowl. Peel, core and then cut the apples in thin slices. An apple slicer would be handy for this. Place the apple slices in the bowl with the Lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices. Add the softened butter then using a pastry blender process/mix until the butter is fully broken up into small pieces (about 1/3 of the size of a pea) and is well coated by the flour mixture. You may use an electric mixer to do this if you wish.
Pour in the milk, beaten eggs and the vanilla extract. Stir until blended and smooth (no more big lumps). Pour into the prepared pan.
Arrange the apples on top in an attractive manner. I just form a circle using the Apples but feel free to be creative.
Bake for about 40 minutes (about 60 minutes or so for the bigger version) or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed. You can insert a toothpick in the center as well and it's done when it comes out clean. If doing the bigger version, cover the cake pan with a tent foil after 35-40 minutes to prevent over browning of the top and then continue to bake until fully cooked.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Immediately after, melt the remaining butter. While butter is melting, sprinkle/dust the cake with Cinnamon-Sugar. I have a Cinnamon Sugar grinder which I use for this. If you don't have one just combine a little ground cinnamon with some granulated white sugar and then sprinkle/dust it all over the cake. Drizzle the melted butter all over the cake. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
When it's cooled completely, lift the cake from the pan, remove the parchment paper and then transfer to a serving platter or cake stand.
For the Vanilla Custard Sauce
Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat up to medium until bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. In the meantime, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thickened and has a lemony color. Slowly pour in the hot milk while stirring. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook on low heat for about 8 minutes stirring constantly until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain the sauce in a sieve and then add the vanilla to the sauce. Serve the cake with the warm sauce!!! Drizzle or smother it with sauce, that is your choice!!!