When reader Jefferson Davis wrote Culinary SOS asking for help finding a recipe, he didn't mince words: "The apple butter cake at Huckleberry is the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. I can't stop thinking about the taste. I would do anything for the recipe, including washing dishes there for the day. It's that good." And he's not exaggerating. We tested this recipe over and over — not because there was anything wrong with it, but because we couldn't get enough. It has a dense, crumbly texture from almond meal and cornmeal and a rich flavor from plenty of butter.
Huckleberry's whole-wheat apple butter cake
Total time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Servings: 16 to 20
Note: Adapted from Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds apples (about 3 large), peeled and cut into large chunks (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the apples, then the sugar and salt, tossing to coat. Cook, stirring often, until the apples are just softened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and spread out the apples on a rimmed baking sheet to stop the cooking process. Set aside to cool.
2 lightly packed cups (7 ounces) almond meal
1 cup (4.5 ounces) whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (2.5 ounces) cornmeal
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound butter
2 1/4 cups (1 pound) sugar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-by-3-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the almond meal, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter until softened. With the mixer going, beat in 1 pound sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, then beat in the vanilla.
4. Beat in the dry ingredients, a spoonful at a time, just until incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix.
5. Fold in the cooked apples by hand. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle over the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar.
6. Bake the cake in the center of the oven until the cake is risen and a rich golden brown on top, springs back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1½ hours. Check the cake after 1 hour; if it browns too quickly, loosely tent the top with a piece of foil.
7. Remove the pan to a rack. Cool for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan.
Each of 20 servings: 434 calories; 7 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 27 grams fat; 13 grams saturated fat; 136 mg cholesterol; 31 grams sugar; 406 mg sodium.