PREP TIME: 20 minutes to 25 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes
Makes 8 Servings
2 pounds Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady apples (about 3 large or 4 medium), or a combination
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Store-bought or homemade caramel sauce, for serving (optional).
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom and 2 long sides of the pan with a sheet of parchment paper that extends past the sides by a few inches to form a sling.
Peel 2 pounds of apples. Halve and core the apples, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (use a mandoline for best results) and place in a medium bowl.
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg in a small bowl and lightly stir.
Place half-and-half, vanilla extract, and salt in a liquid measuring cup and whisk until combined.
Place eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until pale and glossy, about 90 seconds. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined and no visible flour remains for about 10 seconds. Add the half-and-half mixture and beat until just combined about 10 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined and no visible flour remains about 10 seconds.
Add the apple slices, making sure to separate the slices as you add them. Using a flexible spatula, fold the apples into the batter until evenly coated.
Transfer about 1/3 of the apple mixture to the loaf pan. Arrange the slices so that they lie flat in the pan, then press the apples down to evenly distribute. Repeat with half of the remaining apple mixture. Arrange the remaining apple mixture in a shingled pattern on top, then press the apples down to evenly distribute. Pour any remaining batter evenly over the apples.
Sprinkle sliced almonds over the top if desired.
Bake in the center of the oven, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center meets little resistance and comes out clean, 65 to 70 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour.
Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen, then grasp the excess parchment and lift the cake out of the pan and onto the wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. Dust the top with powdered sugar if desired. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with caramel sauce if desired.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They can be eaten cold straight from the fridge or warmed up in a microwave.