1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter - room temperature
⅔ cup white sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling over cake
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
2 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch cubes (3½ - 4 cups)
Confectioners' sugar (optional), for decorating cake
INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the center.
Grease 9-inch springform or regular cake pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. If using a regular cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease again.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and rum. Batter looks grainy at this point; that's okay. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped apples.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and even the top. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool on a rack in the pan. Once cool, run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake. If using a springform pan, remove the sides. If using a regular cake pan, carefully invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, then gently flip the cake over and place right-side-up on a platter.
Dust with confectioners' sugar (if using). Cake can be served warm or room temperature, plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.