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Every fall since we moved to New Jersey 15 years ago we've gone apple picking with our next-door neighbors. Over the years our lives have evolved -- jobs are different, friends have come and gone, and the kids have changed from tots in diapers to cell-phone-wielding teenagers. But our annual trip to New Paltz, New York, has remained a cherished constant, a date we've kept regardless of soccer schedules, looming exams, or stormy skies.
Another constant is the near-comical volume of crisp Cortlands, mouth-puckering Macouns, and gigantic Mutsus we haul home with us, regardless of how we promise "not to overdo it this year" as we head off to the orchards. As a result of this undisciplined approach, I've spent way too much time figuring out how to use my overabundant apple supply.
Finding a great apple cake recipe was one of my first efforts. It sounded simple enough, but the recipes I tried left me cold. I finally hit pay dirt with this recipe I adapted from Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar- Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book. It was so phenomenal -- so apple-y, so moist, so rich and flavorful -- that I made it twice that very first day. And I've made it nonstop throughout the fall (and even during the rest of the year with store-bought apples) ever since.
Because this cake isn't quite as dazzling to the eye as it is to the taste buds, I doll it up with a drizzle of confectioners' sugar glaze to tempt people to try it. Once they taste it, however, I don't need anything but a fork to lure them back in.Apple Cake
Work: 25 minutes
Bake: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 35 minutesIngredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 pounds apples (3 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (Mutsus, Winesaps, Empires, and Granny Smiths are all good choices)
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
5 teaspoons milkDirections
An obsessive baker and a worshipper of butter, Peg Rosen finds any opportunity she can to turn on her oven. Friends, family, and colleagues blame her for their weight problems.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, October 2012.