Since my last fateful encounter with Golden Delicious Apples, I have not had any chance to see these precious gems in the supermarket. Do not confuse these apples with the Red Delicious variety. While the name may be similar, the taste and texture are vastly different. Golden Delicious Apples have a semi-crisp bite and are juicy sweet with a very slight hint of tartness. On the other hand, Red Delicious Apples are my least favourite variety, and its been so long since I ate one that I have forgotten the taste of it.
While I was keeping a lookout for Golden Delicious Apples at Jurong Point Ntuc Extra, I was pleasantly surprised to see two batches of green apples lying in the same area. Immediately, I recognized the familiar yellow-green colour of the Golden Delicious Apples. Elated with my find, I grabbed close to a dozen apples and made my way to the counter for payment.
With my newly bought apples, a few baked goods came to mind - an apple upside-down cake and an french apple tart. Few weeks earlier, I baked an apple upside-down cake using one of my favourite cakebook: Rose's Heavenly Cakes. Sadly, I did not have my camera on hand then and hence missed the opportunity to blog about it. After that incident, I swear that I will bake this cake again soon, simply because this cake is too heavenly for me to get it off my mind.
When I first prepared the caramel, the sugar burnt due to the high heat. On the second attempt, I made sure the flame was kept to a minimum. Thankfully, the caramel turned out smoothly. I did not wait for the caramel to turn deep amber and poured it into the lined cake tin.
After the caramel cooled, arranging the apples was much less worrying. I arranged the apples in a circular fashion in the middle of the tin and left a small uncovered circular patch. The arrangement continued to the outer perimeter until the whole tin was filled. Finally, the left over few pieces were used to cover the circular bald patch in the center.
The last time I baked this cake, I substituted a whole egg for an egg yolk and used the conventional butter creaming method. The resultant cake ended up with giant holes. This time round, I followed the recipe exactly, except omitting the walnuts. While the cake was rising, I noticed big bubbles in the batter just like the last time. Notice the bumps on the surface of the cake? These were caused by the big bubbles. When the cake was done, it deflated slightly. Most butter cakes I baked do not experience this.
My analytical mind tells me that the cause of the big bubbles is probably due to the baking soda. There might be too much leavening, causing big bubbles to form when the batter is rising in the oven. When there is too much big bubbles, the bubbles collide into one another and may cause the cake to collapse.
The recipe asked for 1/4 tsp of baking soda which is almost equivalent to 1 tsp baking powder ( This is according to Shirley O Corriher in Bakewise. From what I recall, she mentioned that baking soda has aboout 4 times the leavening power of baking powder). Another 3/4 tsp baking powder is required and that would make an equivalent of 1 & 3/4 tsp baking powder, which is quite alot for the amount of batter in my humble opinion. Based on observations, a smaller amount of leavening agent would be sufficient.
Luckily, there are no big holes present this time. The cake is so tender and moist that it gives the impression that the cake crumbs are melting in the mouth. The combination of butter, sourcream and vanilla hits off harmiously to give a rich dairy buttery flavour, something that would not be achieved without the addition of sourcream. As the cake is overly tender, it is rather challenging to slice it neatly without causing the cake to fall apart.