Loaded with apple chunks, dried fruit and nuts, here is a not-overly-sweet cake that can be enjoyed for breakfast, afternoon tea, or as a casual dessert when topped with whipped cream. Beautiful in its simplicity, this moist cake will disappear as quickly as you can make it.
Brandied Apple Cake with Figs & Walnuts
3/4 cup diced dried Mission figs (about 4 1/2 oz./140 g.)
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) brandy
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g.) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (5 oz./155 g.) firmly packed golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 cups (1 lb./500 g.) peeled and chopped tart apples
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) walnuts, toasted and chopped
In a small bowl, combine the figs and brandy and let stand while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Generously butter a 9-inch (23-cm.) square pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour mixture on low speed. Add the apples, walnuts, and fig-brandy mixture and stir just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Cut into squares to serve, or cover tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes one 9-inch (23-cm.) cake.
Find more recipes inspired by fruits, vegetables or herbs grown in your own garden in Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Garden Cookbook, by Jeanne Kelley.