Temperature-wise, it doesn't feel like Fall here in the Pacific Northwest, but the evidence of leaves on my deck this afternoon says otherwise.
Now, we seem to be having our summer and I'm not complaining, but the fall clothes are out in the stores, kids are back in school, our furnace got its yearly service readying for the drop in temperature, and apples and pears have begun to replace the cherries and strawberries in the market.
My mother would be baking apple pies and trust me, I love apple pie, but today I felt it was time to do a little experimenting. I get that from my mother too; well, not that she did a lot of experimenting, but anytime I wanted to try something, she'd say, "you'll never know unless you try." Great words from a great woman! It was her trust in me when I was 7 years old and asked to add ground Fritoes to the Thanksgiving dressing and that phrase "you'll never know unless you try" was first spoken. I still make our dressing with Fritoes to this day.
So, you've probably guessed that there are apples in this pound cake, but I've taken the flavors to new heights by adding goat cheese to the batter. Goat cheese or chevre (the French word for goat) has a distinguishing tang to it, but did you know that it's closer to human's milk than cow's? When our daughter, Kelly was scheduled for her double mastectomy and had to wean her son, Ari, she gave him goat's milk for the transition. It's easier on the digestive system for young and old. Goat cheese has been made for thousands of years and was one of the earliest dairy products. It has a higher proportion of fatty acids, such as caproic, capryllic, and capric acid which gives it the tangy flavor it's association with. France produces a great number of goat cheeses, but other countries like Spain & Portugal, United Kingdom, United States, Greece, Norway, Italy, China, Australia and Venzuela aren't far behind.
I like goat cheese with fruit and it just seemed the thing to do, but rest assured, this is not a savory pound cake. With the addition of sugar, honey and spices, this is very much a dessert.
Wonder-Fall Pound Cake
2 large or 3 medium cooking apples (I used Fiji), peeled, cored and chopped
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cardamon
pinch of salt
In a large sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Toss the apples with the spices and brown sugar, then, add the mixture to the sauce pan. Add a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
Lower the temperature to med/low and cover pan. Cook 7-10 minutes. The apples should release their juices and start to soften. Remove lid and cook over low until most of the juices have evaporated. Remove from the heat and transfer apples to a glass bowl to cool.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 oz. (about 2/3 cups) goat cheese
2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup honey ( I used Wildflower honey)
2 Vanilla beans, split and scrape (or 1 T. Vanilla extract)
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with a baking vegetable oil spray. Over the last few years, I've been replacing my "old" bake ware with newer versions. The Gold-Touch nonstick by Williams-Sonoma is one of my favorites.
In a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, cream the butter and goat cheese together. Add the sugar, honey and vanilla bean paste and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating completely into the batter. Measure the flour and salt and add to the batter, beating on medium just until combined. Scrape down bowl and beat 1 minute more. Fold in the apples.
Spoon into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 15 minutes, then, lower oven temperature to 300F-degrees and bake 50-60 minutes more until a wooden skewer comes out cleanly. Let cake cool about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a serving plate.
Dust the top with confectioners' sugar.
The flavor of this cake reminded me of an apple bread pudding...not the texture, just the flavor. The typical brown crust of pound cake encircles the wonder-fall flavors of apples and goat cheese which makes this perfect for dessert night when the temperatures start to drop. However, for me, I'm not waiting--it was in the 80s and I'm still having my cake. Enjoy!