Apple Buttermilk Loaf Cake (Melissa Clark)

1 C granulated sugar
2/3 C plus 2 TB buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 TB brandy or rum (optional)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1-3/4 C all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t grated lemon zest
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 C (8 TB) unsalted butter, melted and cooled; more for pan
1 large apple, peeled
1 C confectioners' sugar

  1. Heat oven to 350F and butter an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2" loaf pan. Cut apple into quarters; core, then dice 3/4 of the apple into 1/2" pieces (you should have 1-3/4 C diced). Slice remaining quarter in half, then thirds (you should have 6 slices). Reserve.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together sugar, 2/3 C buttermilk, eggs, brandy, and vanilla. Whisk in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Fold in butter, then diced apples. Scrape into loaf pan; arrange apple slices on top and bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes up clean, 55-60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife or offset spatula around edges and flip onto a wire rack. Invert (so apple slices are on top) and cool completely.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and remaining 2 TB buttermilk. Pour evenly over cooled loaf, let set, then slice & serve.
Cook's Tour note: I found that this cake is best the day baked or up to one day after.