The town of Marsala is located in the northwest part of Sicily and produces a fortified wine bearing her name.
In the late 1700’s the wine was ‘fortified’ with Brandy thus giving it a longer shelf life for all those seafaring men.
I recently had a neighbor (who is an excellent baker) ask me what the difference is between a dry Marsala and a sweet Marsala. Honestly, I didn’t even know there was a dry and a sweet. Before I lose all credibility, let me explain.
Now, here’s the thing, there was only ONE bottle of Marsala in the pantry! If I had to make a guess as to which kind she used, I would guess the sweet. To my palate, there does not seem to be a significant difference.
- 10 tablespoons softened butter
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Granny Smith apples cored, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup Marsala wine
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
- In a small saucepan, combine 4 tablespoons of the butter and the brown sugar. Cook over low heat until blended about 4 minutes.
- Pour into a greased 9-inch spring-form pan. Arrange the sliced apples on top.
- In a medium bowl beat the remaining 6 tablespoons butter until light and fluffy.
- Beat in sugar, eggs and vanilla.
- In a small bowl stir together the dry ingredients.
- Stir together the milk and Marsala wine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the milk and Marsala mixture, beating well after each addition.
- Place walnuts on a baking tray in preheated 350* oven for 5 minutes. Finely chop, stir into the batter and pour over the apples.
- Wrap aluminum foil around the bottom of the pan to capture any juices, thus saving yourself a sticky messy clean-up.
- Bake at 350* for 35-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when it’s done.
- Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes or so before removing the ring. Invert on a pretty plate and if you’re feeling a bit naughty a scoop of vanilla gelato would be nice.
** Note-Don’t let cake cool completely in pan before inverting because the brown sugar topping may stick to the pan.