braeburn apple cake

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze #bundtbakers

It’s the third Thursday of the month y’all! You (probably) know what that means!

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Bundt bonanza baby! #bundtbakers is back and this month’s theme is BOOZE!!!

Now that’s my kinda theme! I knew when I joined the bundt bakers that booze was bound to turn up as a theme sooner or later, and I’ve been waiting patiently since day one. When I hosted a few months back I almost chose it myself, but I decided that I shouldn’t force it. Thankfully I didn’t have too long to wait!

I want to say a big big thank you to our host, Lauren of From Gate to Plate, and remind everyone to keep scrolling down after the recipe to see all of the beautiful booze based bundts everyone baked this month!

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

I wanted my bundt this month to have a nice assertively boozey flavor, but also wanted the cake to be seasonally appropriate with some kind of Autumnal produce.

After weighing several options I decided on an apple spice cake with a boozey glaze. I love the flavor of apple cider spiked with a bit of whiskey so I figured I couldn’t go wrong turning that into a cake. I opted for bourbon because it has such a nice sweet caramel-y flavor, but in a pinch you could use other whiskeys. Scotch might be a bit too smoky, though that actually could be an interesting addition.

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

As fate would have it, I’d have a few stumbling blocks before I’d end up with a finished cake to slice into.

Early on I had a feeling that the batter was too liquid, but I’d gotten the recipe from a trusted source so I powered through and put the cake in the oven. The minute it came out of the oven I knew it wasn’t good. The cake seemed like it had hardly risen at all, but within minutes it managed to start to sink in the center. I waited for it to cool a bit before un-molding, but the minute I lifted the pan off of the cooling rack I knew something had gone very wrong. The texture was dense and rubbery, almost flan-like, and not in a good way. I think the addition of a small amount of bourbon to the batter may have made things even worse, but I hadn’t made any serious changes or substitutions so I still don’t fully understand what went wrong.

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Not being one to accept failure, especially in the face of a #bundtbakers deadline, I asked Russell to run to the store for me while I washed the pan and took out more butter to soften.

The second time around I decreased the amount of liquid and apple and increased the amount of flour. Before the batter even went into the pan I knew things were going to be okay.

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Aaaand then I went to make the glaze.

I thought a brown sugar bourbon glaze would compliment the flavors in the cake really nicely, but when I tried creaming the brown sugar with butter it refused to dissolve and the resulting glaze had a terrible gritty texture. Ugh. Seriously?

So, that batch went in the garbage along with my first cake. Next I tried melting the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan to get rid of the grit factor, but again, disaster. I don’t know if my brown sugar was old or something, or if I was just having an off day. Either way, two cakes had been baked and I was about to make a third glaze.

Thankfully the third time really was a charm, and the glaze was perfect both in texture and flavor. Phew!

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

In the end, this cake was worth all the effort and frustration.

It’s unbelievably moist and wonderfully tender with loads of fresh apple flavor and plenty of spice. Like apple pie in cake form, with a hint of sweet bourbon to round everything out. It doesn’t get much better than that, especially this time of year. Bourbon has such a rich caramel-y flavor that the buttered bourbon glaze perfectly compliments all that apple and cider and spice. The glaze does have a kick to it, but you get such a small amount in every bite of cake that it feels really well balanced. None of the alcohol gets cooked out of the glaze though, so this cake is strictly for adults. Sorry kiddos!

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Spiced Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Buttered Bourbon Glaze

adapted from Serious Eats

1 stick unsalted butter, softened (plus more for pan)
1 medium firm apple (I used Braeburn), peeled and grated (about 3/4 cup grated apple)
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz) bourbon whiskey
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously butter and flour a non-stick 10 cup bundt pan and refrigerate until ready for use.
In a medium bowl, mix together the grated apples, apple cider, buttermilk, bourbon, and vanilla. Set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and white and brown sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating fully between each addition.  Mix in canola oil until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding 1/2 of the liquid mixture. Mix to combine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining flour and liquid, ending with flour.
Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool for 20 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack to remove from the pan. Cool completely before drizzling with glaze.

Buttered Bourbon Glaze:
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoon bourbon
1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

To make the glaze, melt and slightly cool the butter. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar and bourbon until smooth and free of lumps. If too thick, you can add a few more drops of bourbon until it reaches the desired consistency. Drizzle or pour over the top of the completely cooled cake and allow the glaze to dry before serving.

spiced apple cider bundt cake with buttered bourbon glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Check out this bounty of boozey bundts! They all sound amazing, and I can’t believe how much our group is growing!

Grandma Rindfleisch’s Apfelkuchen (sort of)

Apfelkuchen (or apple kuchen) is a german apple cake.

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen  | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Apfelkuchen translates simply to apple cake, but this is not just any old apple cake. This quintessentially German recipe consists of a single layer of buttery cake topped with neat and orderly rows of sliced baking apples. Most recipes today are made in a square or rectangular shaped pan and cut into bars, but I have seen some older European recipes that produce a thicker round cake. Most recipes are finished with a crumble or streusel topping, but some are simply sprinkled with confectioners sugar.

Fruit kuchens have been around for centuries, and many traditional recipes used to be leavened with yeast. Many cooks swapped the yeast for chemical leaveners like baking powder and soda as their popularity grew decades ago.  However they’re made, most recipes today resemble a dense fruity coffee cake.


Growing up, my great grandmother was famous for her apple kuchen, and it came along with her to every family gathering and church function as far back as I can remember. She made it almost by instinct, measuring out all her ingredients in her hands, and since she didn’t use exact measurements she never put the recipe down on paper.  It was definitely her signature and no get-together was complete without it.

When she passed in 2003, it dawned on everyone in the family that no one had ever asked her to teach them how to make it. Suddenly she was gone, and so was her apple kuchen.

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen  | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

She’ll always be Grandma Rindfleisch to me, but she was born Anna Hollatz in Germany in 1909. She emigrated in 1928 when she was engaged to be married to my great grandfather who lived here in the U.S. Before their marriage they sent love letters back and forth to each other from across the world, and my grandfather says she still had all those letters when he was growing up.

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen  | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Get a look at that dress! Va-Va-Voom! If you ever wondered how wedding dress fashions may have looked in the late 1920’s, now you have an idea.

Writing about her apple kuchen got me really curious about my great grandmother’s history, and because I’m a total nerd, I researched her Ellis Island records. She sailed on the White Star line’s S.S. Arabic, and the ships manifest was full of information I never expected to find there, including handwritten changes to the name of the person who met her when she arrived. I was even able to find a few photos of the actual ship on which she made her journey, and I’m thinking of trying to get one printed and framed.

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

After they were married, she and my great grandfather moved from Connecticut to the Fingerlakes region of upstate New York, where they owned and operated a dairy farm on the shores of Cayuga Lake. My mom has tons of stories of what life was like on the farm when she was growing up, and even keeps some of the dairy’s original glass milk bottles on a shelf in her kitchen. One of her fondest memories is of watching Grandma Rindfleisch churn her own butter in the well worn wooden churn she kept on her countertop. I best remember her thick German accent and the way she used to tightly wrap her white braids on the sides of her head like Princess Leia.

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I started asking around about trying to recreate her recipe, my mom and all her cousins had loads of ideas and advice. “The cousins” (as mom calls them) had some ideas on what recipes would come closest, what ingredients should go in, and in what order. My uncle has a recipe that was supposed to come close, but a few of the cousins said it wasn’t right for a few reasons. First, and most importantly, the almond flavor should be present only in the crunchy streusel topping on the cake, but in his recipe the almond extract is added to the cake instead. There was also quite an uproar over the fact that his recipe called for (gasp) cooking oil spray!

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen  | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

The one thing everyone could agree on was that nothing would ever come close to the flavor of her home-churned butter, and therefore no one will ever be able to make her kuchen exactly the way she did.

My advice is to use the best quality unsalted butter you can find. If you have the means to churn your own, knock yourself out. If not, don’t sweat it. I was lucky enough to find some imported German cultured butter made with cream from grass fed cattle when I was butter hunting. The flavor was amazing and I think it really did make such a difference in my kuchen.

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen  | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

The recipe I ended up settling on, given to me by one of the cousins, comes really damned close to the real thing. It’s been over a decade since I tasted grandma’s kuchen, but if memory serves I think this is almost perfect. The only significant difference is that she would bake hers on a sheet pan or jelly roll, producing a thinner cake with a much higher apple to cake ratio. I didn’t go that route because it would make way more cake than I could handle, but if you’re looking to feed a crowd that’s the way to do it.

Either way, this cake is phenomenal. It’s simple, homey and unfussy but totally satisfying. It also happens to be really easy to make. The cake itself has an incredible rich buttery flavor that’s perfectly complimented by the sweet and tender apples. The topping combines even more butter with almond extract and cinnamon to finish the cake with just enough sweet crunch to tie everything together.

grandma Rindfleisch's apfelkuchen  | german apple cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Grandma Rindfleisch's Apfelkuchen

1/2 cup (1 stick) highest quality unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
3 or 4 firm baking apples (I used braeburns)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) highest quality unsalted butter
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat your oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking dish (or an 18×13 jelly roll pan or half sheet pan). Cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg & beat until well incorporated. Whisk together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with milk. Beat just until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Spread the batter in the bottom of the buttered pan. Peel, core, & slice the apples. Arrange the slices in three four or neat rows lengthwise, depending on the size of the apples. Whisk together the remaining sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mash the butter into the topping with a fork, or with your fingers. Mix in almond extract, break the topping up so it’s nice and crumbly, and sprinkle it evenly over the apples. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake (avoid apple slices) comes out clean. If you’re baking on a jelly roll the cake may cook faster, start checking after 30 minutes.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before dividing into three rows of slices.