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Apple cider adds crisp fall flavor to cakes and bourbon cocktails

10/10/2013 2:45 PM

10/10/2013 2:45 PM

Summer has lemonade and winter has hot chocolate. Fall? It’s all about apple cider.

Cider, made from pressed apples, is often served outdoors at pumpkin patches and corn mazes. But it can also be a star ingredient in the kitchen.

Last year, I wrote a story about incorporating apple cider into recipes. My experiments involved using local

Louisburg cider

to marinate pork loin, glaze roasted root vegetables and lend a sweet and slightly tart flavor to bundt cakes. I even mixed apple cider into cocktails – below is a recipe for a Stone Fence, a bourbon cocktail that gets warmth from cinnamon and cider.

But my all-time favorite use for cider has to be this recipe for Apple-Cardamom Cakes with Apple Cider Icing. I baked the cakes in a mini bundt cake pan, so they came out looking like tiny golden pumpkins. Applesauce and chunks of fresh apple lend flavor and moisture to the cute cakes, which drip with apple cider glaze.

The cakes are a guaranteed hit at company bake sales, Halloween parties, even Thanksgiving.

Looking for more apple cider recipes? Try Jasper Mirabile’s recipe for

Apple Cider Zeppoles

, or doughnuts.

Apple-Cardamom Cakes With Apple Cider Icing

Cardamom, a complex spice often found in Indian curry dishes, pairs deliciously with apples and adds warm, floral notes to these moist single-serving cakes, which are completely customizable. If you don't have a Bundt cake mold pan, use a muffin pan. And if you don't keep cardamom in your cupboard, just swap in a blend of 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg and ginger.

Makes 24 single-serving cakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground

cardamom

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted, divided

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour 24 (3 1/2-ounce) cake molds or 2 (12-cup) cupcake tins and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cardamom together and set aside.

Using a mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted from the bowl. Reduce speed to low and mix in the vanilla and applesauce. Add 1/2 cup of the melted butter, sour cream and zest and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until smooth.

Fold in the apples and divide the batter among the prepared molds (about 1/4 cup per mold). Bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake tests clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Unmold the cakes and cool completely on the rack.

Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, confectioners' sugar and apple cider together in a medium bowl until smooth, then drizzle over the cooled cakes. Let the icing set before serving.

Per single-serving cake: 186 calories (31 percent from fat), 6 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 33 milligrams cholesterol, 31 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 155 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

Source: Country Living

Stone Fence

This simple cocktail recipe dates back to American Colonial times. Back in those pre-refrigeration days, fermented apple cider (or hard cider) was one of the most popular beverages around. "It was more commonly drunk than water where the water wasn't sanitary, " says Amy Traverso, author of "The Apple Lover's Cookbook." She adds that hard cider was also used as an antiseptic and an anesthetic.

This slightly less potent adaptation of the recipe pairs sweet apple cider with smoky bourbon. If you don't keep bourbon on hand, try it with rye whiskey, brandy or rum.

Makes 1 drink

2 ounces bourbon

Apple cider

Ice

Bitters (optional)

Cinnamon (optional)

Fill a Collins or Old-Fashioned glass with ice. Add bourbon and top with apple cider. If desired, add a dash of bitters, cinnamon and/or an apple slice.

Per drink: 152 calories (2 percent from fat), trace total fat (no saturated fat), no cholesterol, 3 grams carbohydrates, trace protein, 1 milligram sodium, trace dietary fiber.

Source: Imbibe Magazine

Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes dining columns for Ink and 913 and cooking stories for The Star’s Food section. Contact her via email at sarah@inkkc.com or tweet @sarah_gish.

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