I have to admit that I chose this cake out of pure laziness.  This weekend has been so hectic with so many unexpected events happening at the last minute that it has been nearly impossible to plan anything.  Those of you who know me know that this is absolute torture.  I have to plan everything.  I even make spreadsheets for my vacations so I know where I will be on each day.  I just hate not knowing where, when and what I will be doing at a certain time.  At any rate, I thought about just not baking this week since things were not going well and then I started feeling guilty about signing up for this challenge and then not doing it so I guilted myself into baking.  That is why I picked this recipe.  It was as easy as it could get and I had everything I needed to make it so no unnecessary trips to the grocery store for that one forgotten item or jar of impossible to fine imported moreno cherries (true story on the moreno cherries everyone, it took me three weeks to find them and the recipe used 1/4 cup of the little buggers).  Now with all the confessions out in the open, lets move on to the cake.  These crumb type coffee cakes are not really high on my list of favorites or must have on hand cakes.  I remember growing up with these from the corner bakery.  My mom bought them all the time because all of the women in the neighborhood would gather for coffee in my mom’s kitchen and she always had to have some type of sweet to go with it.  This one is very good.  The sour cream gives it a nice moist crumb as opposed to that sandy texture of most of these coffee cakes.  I think it is this sandy texture that I most object to with these cakes.  The crumb is very nubly and rich with walnuts and cinnamon and butter.  The cake has a nice light vanilla flavor, I doubled the vanilla just because I really like vanilla.  All in all I was very happy with this cake and glad that I guilted myself into making it.  I think it would be nice to experiment with some different varieties of apple.  I’d also like to try some pears, maybe add some Poire William and almonds.  If I am feeling really decadant I could always try chocolate and hazelnuts.  The point is, it is a nice cake to use as a departure point for your own experiments.  Let’s bake.  

For the crumb, Pulse the walnuts, brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon until the walnuts are coarsely chopped. (You probably already figured that I did this by hand, and you would be right.  It was easier than washing and drying that processor bowl and blade, you can thank Nigella Lawson for my laziness, I take her Express route).  Set aside 1/2 cup of this nut mixture.  Add the melted butter and toss to combine and then set in the refrigerator to firm.  On to the cake.  

Peel and slice the apples and toss them with lemon juice to keep them from browning.  Whisk together the eggs, vanilla and 3 tablespoons of the sour cream and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.   

Add the butter and the remaining sour cream and blend until the dry ingredients are moistened.  


Turn the speed up to medium and beat the ingredients for about one and a half minutes.  Then add the egg mixture in two additions, beating each addition for about 30 seconds to stregthen the structure.  


Add about two thirds of the batter to the prepared spring form pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup of nut topping onto the batter evenly and then add a layer of slices apples.  Top with the remaining batter and smooth the top.  Then bake the cake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

The finished batter

The crumb layer

The apple layer

Ready for the oven

Once the cake has baked for 35 minutes, remove it from the oven and set it on a rack.  The cake is still fragile so be gentle with it.  Take the reserved crumb mixture from the refrigerator and break it up using your fingers to get some larger chunks and some smaller pieces.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the cake and put the cake back in the oven to bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake tests done.  Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rake in the pan for 10 minutes.  Unmold the cake and allow it to cool completely.  

The baked cake ready for it's crumb topping


The finished cake



Next Up:  Cranberry Crown Cheesecake