We call this the devil made me do it cake as I've been known to double down around Halloween. As Gina De Palma describes in her book “Dolce Italiano” it's an easy, make it in an afternoon cake. Try to get the eggs, butter & milk to the same temp. (I lifted the ingredients & instructions from a Serious Eats post, but the book is well worth the purchase!)
This time I also subbed corn meal for the polenta I was missing and a 1/4 teaspoon allspice for the ginger (am I really missing ground ginger from the spice cabinet?!) -worked out anyway and the cake is delicious in its original. For Ohio fans or those in a shipping area, Jeni's Splendid Brown Butter Almond brittle can't be beat as a topper.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup instant or fine polenta
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apple
8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center. Grease a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray, dust it with flour, and tap to knock out the excess.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, poleta, baking powder, salt, and spices together and set aside. Peel the apple and grate it, using the medium side of a box grater. Place the grated apple in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, olive oil, and sugar together on medium speed until and fluffy, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the honey until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl, followed by the vanilla extract.
On low speed, beat in half the dry ingredients, followed by all the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds to emulsify the batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the grated apple.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto the rack to cool completely.
Eat – B