Roasted Apple Coffeecake
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
3 1/2 cups peeled and diced (1/3-inch) Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Stayman, Sun Crisp or other flavorful sweet-tart cooking apples
3/4 cup, plus 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries or 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 cups all-purpose white flour
2 teaspoons Rumford Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (or 1 8-ounce carton) low-fat or regular vanilla or caramel-flavored yogurt
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon combined with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch square pan or a 9-inch springform pan. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Stir the apples, 6 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon together on the foil, then spread out evenly. Roast 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the juices mostly evaporate and begin to brown. Stir the cranberries (or nuts) into the apples. Set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter on 50 percent power, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds just until mostly melted. (Alternatively, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat until mostly melted.) Let the residual heat finish the melting. Cool to warm.
Meanwhile, thoroughly stir together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, the Rumford Baking Powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, beat the yogurt, then eggs into the butter until well blended. Add the butter mixture and apples to the dry ingredients, stirring just until evenly blended; for the tenderest crumb, don't
Evenly spread the batter in the baking pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the cinnamon-sugar garnish.
Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack at least 15 minutes and preferably longer before cutting into servings. Serve with dollops of whipped cream, if desired. The cake keeps, covered and at room temperature, for 3 or 4 days.
Don't skip the apple roasting, as it's essential for success. It evaporates the excess juice and intensives the apple flavor, plus it partly cooks the apples so they will be fully baked and tender when the batter is done.