You May See Apples, But I See Cake

I searched and searched for the perfect recipe to use up our family's apple-picking haul. Lucky for you, I found it -- here's the story behind the recipe.™
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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 minutes

Ingredients

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 milk

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan, dust lightly with flour, tap out excess; set aside.
  2. In a bowl whisk together flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In an electric mixer cream together butter, oil, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Working in two batches, incorporate dry ingredients into butter mixture. Fold in apples.
  3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Combine remaining 1 teaspoons cinnamon and turbinado sugar and sprinkle over cake. Bake until top is golden and a tester inserted in cake's highest point comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
  4. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a plate right side up; allow to cool completely. Whisk confectioners' sugar and milk together in a bowl to make icing and drizzle over cake.

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.

 

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