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Seasonal Recipe

Recipe for apple snack cake

Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Makes 1 rectangular cake

For after school, for breakfast, for a coffee break, for afternoon tea, for when you feel good, for when you feel bad, this cake hits the mark. On the surface it looks as plain as can be, but cut into it and discover deep apple goodness.

APPLES

2tablespoons butter
3baking apples (such as Cortland or Golden Delicious), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
3tablespoons brown sugar
1tablespoon lemon juice
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

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1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt.

2. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until apples soften slightly but still hold their shape. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

CAKE

Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
2cups flour
2teaspoons baking powder
½teaspoon salt
¾cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1cup granulated sugar
4eggs
1teaspoon vanilla extract
½cup milk
1teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Dust it with flour and tap out the excess.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to blend them.

3. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, then the milk, until blended. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

4. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, gradually beat in the flour just until incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and mix for 15 seconds, or until smooth.

5. Spread half the batter in the pan in an even layer. Spread the apples on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Drop the remaining batter in large spoonfuls over the apples, and carefully spread the batter over the apples with the back of a spoon.

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Cut into squares. Sally Pasley Vargas

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