I can’t think of a better pairing for apples. With my apple pie I prefer a slice of cheddar to any ice cream. And when making an apple pie myself, I incorporate the cheese in the crust.
Well, this is not the aforementioned pie, but no less delicious treat. The extra-sharp cheddar is in the filling, as well as in the streusel topping.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada! (I doubt I’ll manage another post before Monday) And good luck with that turkey!

Makes one 8-inch round cake, about 12 servings

For the streusel topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick; 55g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 oz extra-sharp cheddar, finely grated

For the filling:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 20 oz (about 4 medium) cooking apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced thinly crosswise
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1/3 cup plumped raisins
  • 2 oz extra-sharp cheddar, coarsely grated or finely chopped

For the cake batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Make the streusel topping:

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, both sugars, and salt. Add the cubes of cold butter and work them into the flour using a pastry blender or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the cheese. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to a couple of days.

Make the filling:

Melt the butter in a heavy large skillet over the medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar. Cook until a grainy sauce forms, about 1 minute. Mix in the apples. Cook until the apples are tender, translucent and the sauce is reduced to glaze, about 7-10 minutes, stirring often. Add the lemon zest and remove from the heat. Stir in the raisins. Cool completely, and then stir in the cheddar.

Make the cake batter, bake the cake:

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. Generously butter an 8-inch 3-inch deep springform pan (you can use a 9-inch pan as well (there’re enough batter and filling), but reduce the baking time). Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Dust with flour, knocking out the excess. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.

In the bowl of the stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar beating on medium-high speed until well combined, pale in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon zest. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with the flour, until just combined. Stir in the walnuts if using. Transfer about a half of the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the apple filling on top of the batter leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top with the remaining batter (place the batter in dollops over the filling, starting near the edge to prevent the filling from the contact with the pan sides), then gently smooth the top. Crumble the refrigerated topping over the top of the cake. Place the pan onto a baking sheet and slide into the oven.

Bake the cake until nicely brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1hr-1hr 15 min (about 45 minutes if baking in 9-inch pan). If the top browns too quickly, cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil (it is usually required after 40 minutes or so of baking). Cool the cake on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then unmold. Cool until slightly warm on a cooling rack before serving (it is great warm). The cake is also good at room temperature.