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Apple of My Eye

The Apple Lover’s Cookbook Has It All

Intro by Jordan Staggs

Move over, pumpkin spice! The original fall phenomenon is back in a big way. The crisp, brisk days of autumn are upon us, meaning many Americans are enjoying hot cider or venturing to New England orchards for a day of apple picking. For those in search of some new seasonal apple dishes to try, you’re in luck! Yankee magazine’s senior food editor and TV host Amy Traverso has revised her 2011 Apple Lover’s Cookbook to offer thoroughly updated apple knowledge. The new tome, which released in early September, includes the history of this favorite fruit, over one hundred recipes, seventy apple flavor profiles—such as the wildly popular new Cosmic Crisp apple—and updated apple events and product sources across the United States.

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Grab your copy today or visit AmyTraverso.com to learn more!

Recipes and photographs from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook: Revised and Updated. Copyright © 2020 by Amy Traverso. Photographs © 2011 by Squire Fox. Used with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Apple Tea Cake with Lemon Glaze

By Amy Traverso

My favorite school roommate used to get regular care packages from home containing a rich lemon pound cake that was drizzled with tart glaze. It was incredible (she was good at sharing). Twenty years later, that cake inspired this variation, in which a buttermilk pound cake is layered with very thin slices of apple and topped with tangy lemon glaze. When you slice the cake, you see the pretty layers—a lovely presentation.

Apple Notes: Firm-sweet apples with pronounced lemon flavors are particularly good here. Try a Ginger Gold or a Gravenstein if you can find one. Otherwise, a nice Pink Lady or a Jazz would be great, too.

Equipment: 6-cup (8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch) bread loaf pan; mandoline; stand or handheld mixer; cake tester; wire rack

1 cake; 8 servings
Active time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


For the cake:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 small (or 1/2 large) firm-sweet apple (about 4 ounces; see Apple Notes), unpeeled, cored, cut in half lengthwise, and very thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch), preferably on a mandoline
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar


Preheat the oven to 350ºF and set a rack to the middle position. Butter and flour a loaf pan. Set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or, if using a handheld mixer, in a large bowl. Using a whisk attachment, cream on high speed until pale, very fluffy, and almost mousse-like. This will take between 6 and 8 minutes. Be patient, and be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically as you go. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

When the butter and sugar are fully whipped, add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each. Switch to your mixer’s paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add half the buttermilk and briefly mix. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining buttermilk, then the last of the flour mixture. Mix just until smooth—do not overmix.

Pour a third of the batter into the prepared bread pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Top the batter with half the apples, overlapping the slices. Sprinkle the apples with half the cinnamon. Repeat with an additional third of the batter and the remaining apples. Top with the remaining batter and smooth with a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: in a medium bowl, stir the lemon juice into the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Remove the cake from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes in the pan. While the cake is still warm, poke the top all over with a toothpick inserted all the way. Pour half the glaze on the cake and spread evenly with a spatula. Let sit for an additional 10 minutes to soak up the glaze, then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack for 30 more minutes.

When the cake is completely cool, drizzle generously with the remaining glaze, letting it run down the sides. Let the glaze dry for about 30 minutes, then serve.

Spiced Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

By Amy Traverso

It took several attempts to create a cupcake that was full of apple flavor without being mistaken for a breakfast muffin. Among the experiments: a liquid apple butter center, a scattering of finely diced apples. Finally, I considered adding boiled cider, which is just very concentrated apple juice. It did the trick, adding rich flavor to the batter while also producing a very tender, identifiably cake-like product. Spiced cream cheese frosting was the perfect finish. Honestly, I can’t think of any cake that wouldn’t be improved by cream cheese frosting. And it’s so much easier to make than buttercream.

Note: This recipe has a large yield: 24 cupcakes. I think this is a sensible amount for most birthday parties. However, you can cut the recipe in half fairly easily—most everything divides into two, except for the eggs and the boiled cider. In that case, use 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk and 3 1/2 tablespoons boiled cider. (You can order boiled cider from the King Arthur Flour catalog or from Wood’s Cider Mill at woodscidermill.com.) The frosting divides neatly in half.

Make-ahead tip: You can bake the cupcakes up to a week in advance. When cool, arrange them on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer. When frozen, transfer them to zip-top bags. You can make the frosting up to four days in advance. Bring everything to room temperature before frosting.

Equipment: 2 standard (2 1/2-inch) muffin pans; paper liners; stand or handheld mixer; wire racks; cake tester

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes


16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup boiled cider (see Note)
1 cup whole or 2% milk, at room temperature

For the frosting

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 325ºF and set a rack to the middle position.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, combine the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale, very fluffy, and mousse-like, 7 to 10 minutes (I usually average about 8 minutes). Stop every few minutes to scrape down the sides of your bowl with a spatula—you want everything evenly mixed, with no clumps of butter.

While you’re waiting for the butter and sugar to whip, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

When the butter-sugar mixture is fully whipped, scrape down the bowl with a spatula and add 1 egg and continue mixing at medium-high speed until fully combined. Repeat with the remaining 4 eggs. Add the vanilla.

In a small bowl, stir the boiled cider into the milk. It may look a bit curdled—that’s fine. Switch to your mixer’s paddle attachment. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter-egg-sugar mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Do not overmix. Add about half of the milk mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape down the bowl. Repeat with the flour, then the milk, then the flour.

Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup or large spoon, fill each muffin cup two-thirds of the way. Bake until the tops of the cakes are firm but still pale and a cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the frosting: Using your stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat well, scraping down the sides once or twice, until evenly combined. Set aside.

When the cakes are done, remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before removing, then let cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting. Frost generously.

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