Last weekend I visited Lopez, one of the San Juan Islands, with my friend. Her family has a lovely house there, including apple and pear trees. The Northwest is known for those two fall fruits, and I certainly know why. I picked one of the apples and cut it open then and there. It was unbelievably crisp and juicy. As soon as I tasted it I knew I had to make something. Not being at home, I had to be a little more creative with what was there. I had a nice selection of tools, but no Kitchen Aid stand mixer! I got some help making the cakes from my friend's little sister, so she deserves some credit. I rarely bake with other people, so it was nice to have a hand.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a medium bowl and whisk until well combined.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter for 10 seconds, until soft. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly in between.
Beat in dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk, in two parts. Start and end with the flour. Try not to overmix. Set aside.
6-7 medium apples, preferably tart variety
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and cut apples into thin, 1/4" slices. Toss in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Let macerate for 15 minutes in the fridge. In a large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and turn on medium heat. Once butter is melted, add apples and cook until the apples are cut through easily, but not browned.
Lay apples in the bottom of the muffin tins that have been buttered and floured. Fill the remainder of the muffin cup with cake batter. Bake for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven.