With this iconic fall recipe, famed baker Sarabeth Levine, of New York's fleet of Sarabeth's restaurants and author of the new Sarabeth's Good Morning Cookbook ($22; amazon.com), promises the sweet-tart glory of apple pie combined with the moist goodness of a cake made with custard. "It's the best of both worlds," she says. "Whenever I make it, it reminds me of my grandmother's apple cake, but it's much more chic." Maintaining that gourmet simplicity means following two rules: Arrange the apples deliberately so that the cake looks pretty when you turn it out, and don't over-bake it, she says. Otherwise, "you lose the custardy texture."
Apple Custard Cake
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, plus more for greasing
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup whole milk
2 tbsp heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large Honeycrisp apple or other tart apple, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350°F.
2. Butter a 9-inch tube pan and dust with flour, making sure the center tube is well-coated; tap out excess flour and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In a measuring cup, mix milk and cream.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Reduce speed to medium; gradually pour in sugar. Continue beating, scraping sides of the bowl, until mixture is fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg, scraping down sides of the bowl. At low speed, add dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk and cream mixture. Scrape batter into the prepared tube pan; smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
6. To make the topping, arrange apple slices on the surface of the cake (gently press into the batter, but don't submerge them).
7. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk, cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla; drizzle over apple slices.
8. Sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over the cake.
9. Bake for about 45 minutes, until top is golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
10. Run a small offset spatula around edge of the cake and center tube to loosen. Place a 10-inch plate over the cake pan; quickly flip the pan and the plate, then lift off the tube pan. Place a serving plate over the cake; flip again so that the cake is right side up.
For more fall recipes, pick up the October issue of InStyle, now available on newsstands and for digital download.