It’s been quite a week, my friends. I’m digging into my Mary Poppins bag of tricks and pulling it all out: perspective, persistence, love, gratitude, humor – thank God for humor – and cake.
I made this cake three times in January for birthdays and other gatherings, and the reaction in my house was never “apple cake again?” – it was “apple cake again!” It’s from the amazing Deb at Smitten Kitchen, a recipe from her mom, and it’s pure comfort in cake form.
Deb makes it in a tube pan, which makes a lovely presentation, but since I don’t own a tube pan, I just made it in a regular 9″x13″ Pyrex. It’s nothing special for looks, but the easy squares are readily lifted for snacking out of hand. A steaming hot cuppa and a piece of this, and I’m ready to stand up and get back to work.
I find it’s easiest to peel apples if I start with a ring around the top and bottom of the apple first. Depending on your peeler, it’s often simplest to set the apple on a surface, hook in the peeler and steadily spin the apple around. It’s easy then to peel top-to-bottom strips around the apple.
Cut apples and toss with sugar and cinnamon. This cake has as many apples as a pie.
Wet ingredients (oil, orange juice and vanilla) go into dry (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder). I love avocado oil for its high smoking point, neutral taste and monounsaturated fats, but though it’s carried at Costco in California, it’s not a widely available option yet. Any neutral-tasting oil will work just fine.
Add eggs, one at a time.
The cake gets layered with batter and apples. First half the batter.
Then half the apples.
The rest of the batter.
And the rest of the apples.
The Pyrex isn’t glamorous, but the flat cake cooks faster than the tube cake.
Powdered sugar on top is a nice touch. I love having a simple dredge to shake it on, but when I don’t have one, I’ll use a mesh strainer.
Not all cakes give comfort – some are just too leaden, gooey, artificial-tasting or pretentious – but this one is wholesome and sweet, a hug in cake form.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you get what you give. I’m giving you all a warm hug, and I’m already feeling yours back. Thanks, guys. Share this one with those you love.
Apple Snacking Cake
This comforting apple cake, moist and soft, has as many apples as a pie. Bake it in a tube pan for lovely presentation or a regular Pyrex for easy snacking squares. Adapted from the ever-inspiring Smitten Kitchen.
- 6 apples (a bit of tart is nice, eg Pink Lady, Granny Smith, McIntosh)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 3/4 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ tube pan or 13″x9″ baking dish.
- Peel, core and cut apples into chunks (about 1/2″). Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
- Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add oil, orange juice and vanilla, stirring well. Add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in walnuts, if using.
- Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake until a tester comes out clean (about 1 1/2 hours for tube pan; 55-60 minutes for 13″x9″ pan). If using a tube pan, cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter. Dust with powdered sugar if you like before serving.
- When peeling apples, I find it easiest to remove a circle of peel around the top and bottom of the apple. Then it’s easy to peel strips from the top circle to the bottom one.
- This is a moist cake that keeps well at room temperature for a couple of days. After that it should be refrigerated.
- Any neutral-tasting oil will work well here. Costco in California carries avocado oil, which I really love for its high smoking point, neutral taste and monounsaturated fats, but it’s not a widely available option.
- Low-fat version: I’ve used 1/2 cup applesauce in place of 1/2 the oil, which works well.
Here’s the link to a printable version.