One of my many wonderful food discoveries in San Francisco is a spectacular (but best known to locals) bakery/cafe - Hearth.
Now there are several mega famous San Francisco bakeries, all completely delicious, where the queues (especially on weekends) stretch down the street - but Hearth and its treats are still under the media radar and lucky we are that it is. The scones are great, buttery mounds of goodness - ginger/apricot, cheddar/scallions; the croissants as crisp and flakey as the best in Paris - plain or fragrantly centred with strawberry/cream or expresso/chocolate; while a savoury Danish is unexpectedly rolled with prosciutto & cheese. Yum.
The star (for me) is the apple/pecan coffee cake which appears several times a week (if you are lucky). Moist, rich, thoroughly appley, with a pecan streusel topping, it is truely memorable.
Back in London, I decided I had to make it. Nothing quite like it turned up in my web search, and so I worked through my shelves of cookbooks, old & new.
Finally I found - in one of the great cookbooks of the early 80's, "The Silver Palate Cookbook" by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, first published in 1979 (now in a 2007 25th anniversary edition) - what might have been an inspiration for Heath's creation. "Chunky Apple Walnut Cake" is almost it - with a few changes (as well as pecans in place of walnuts).
My version was extremely good - though when I make it again (and I will) I will make a few further adjustments (see NOTE at end of recipe).
This is how I made it:
ALL YOU NEED IS:
9 1/2": cake pan, preferably loose bottomed
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sdugar
3 eggs (large)
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour, sifted
1 1/4 teasp ground cinnamon
1 teasp baking soda
1/4 teasp salt
1 cup wholemeal flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
2 average size eating apples thinly sliced
3 tablesp apple juice
Preheat oven to 325F
in large bowl, beat vegetable oil & sugar until thick & opaque
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each
Sift together flour & spices, baking soda & salt. Stir in wholemeal flour.
Add to oil/egg mixture and mix until well blended
Pour half of batter into well greased and lined 9 1/2" baking pan
Lay sliced apples in layers over batter
Add rest of batter
Top with chopped nuts, teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup sugar, stirred together. Press slightly into batter
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour 15-20 minutes or until point of knife inserted into centre comes out clean.
NOTE: my version was delicious, but not quite as moist as Hearth's, and so next time I plan to use 3 apples instead of 2. And perhaps a more traditional pecan streusel topping.
Wonder how I would do on the GBBO with it?????