My grandmother, who lived with us when I was growing up, had a serious sweet tooth and would bake something almost every day.
In the spring, it was coconut cream pie. In the summer, home-made ice cream and peach pie. And during fall apple season, she would bake this very simple apple cake and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
My mother and I loved this cake GÇö it’s so simple, yet so satisfying and comforting — and never thought to write it down before my grandmother died. For years, we searched her recipe cards to no avail until last summer when I was doing research for a new cookbook called “Steak and Cake.” Happily, we came across a recipe card that looked like it might be the thing. I made the cake immediately and as my mother and I tasted it, we finally knew that we had found the one. Sometimes, the memory outshines the reality. But in this cake, it did not.
As I was testing recipes for the cookbook, I added my grandmother’s apple cake to 10 other cakes, some classic and some newfangled, for a neighborhood tasting_ the cookbook writer’s version of a “cake walk.” Everyone gravitated toward my grandmother’s cake.
I had to stop myself from adding a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of vanilla to the batter as I rarely make a cake without it, but I decided that I should preserve this cake just the way my grandmother made it. The batter is very stiff_like cookie dough_ before you add the apples, but rest assured as soon as the apples give up their juice, the batter
loosens and will bake beautifully.
Start to finish: 90 minutes
4 generous cups raw apples,
peeled and cut coarse (about 5
large Granny Smith apples)
2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil such as
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Confectioner’s sugar for decorating Cooking spray
Pan: 10-cup bundt or tube pan
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Peel and chop apples and set
aside. Meanwhile, beat together
sugar and oil and add eggs one at
a time until creamy.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon and soda. Add dry mixture to
sugar, oil and eggs by thirds.
Remove from stand mixer and
fold in chopped apples. Let sit
for 5 minutes, stir well and add
walnuts. Mix well.
Pour batter into prepared pan
— I prefer Baker’s Joy or another
brand of spray coating with flour
GÇö and place on a sheet pan to
Bake 60-65 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted in the center
comes out clean. Let cool in the
pan 10 minutes, then invert on a
cake cooling rack. Dust top with
confectioner’s sugar if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 412 calories; 147 calories from
fat; 17 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans
fats); 36 mg cholesterol; 222 mg
sodium; 63 g carbohydrate; 4 g
fiber; 42 g sugar; 5 g protein.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Elizabeth
Karmel is a barbecue and Southern