My dad is a huge fan of apple desserts, which is an odd thing in itself because he doesn’t like many things. You give him anything with apples and he’ll be a happy camper; apple pie, strudel, danishes, muffins, donuts, oatmeal, etc. This week, I decided to make something that I knew he would just love and devour.
I go to the local farmer’s market every Thursday, and get a bag of apples each time. A small bag of apples, with about a dozen for $1.50 is not a bad deal! I ended up accidentally stocking up on apples over the past few weeks and since no one was eating them, this cake happened.
This beautiful cake is from the brilliantly awesome Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, one of my very favorite blogs. When I am in search for any kind of recipe, I usually check her site first. I’m convinced everything she makes, even the things I haven’t tried, are just absolutely delicious. I made her S’more cake (from her cookbook) for my birthday this year, with amazing success. This apple cake is originally her mother’s, which makes it even more special and a higher guarantee for deliciousness.
The process is pretty straight forward. The most difficult part of the recipe, if any, was probably peeling, coring, and chopping the apples. Everything else is a cinch, and doesn’t even require a mixer. The only piece of equipment necessary is a tube pan. These things can be finicky, and can literally make or break a cake. This dense but delicate cake can definitely crumble under mishandling from the pan. I may or may not know this from experience 😉
The result is a lusciously thick cake, full of cinnamon-y apple craters. The edges of the cake caramelize in the oven, forming a sugary sweet crust that goes deliciously against the soft and tangy apple pockets. It reminded me a lot of an apple pie, which is a yummy change. My dad, and everyone else in my family, thoroughly enjoyed this cake. I would definitely make it again, and strongly suggest you do too.
Apple Cake – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes one 9 or 10-inch tube cake
- 6 apples, (Deb’s mom and I both used McIntosh apples)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
- Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla.
- Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. A hand mixer makes mixing a breeze but is not necessary, just make sure you have a sturdy whisk! Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
- 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 for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and carefully unmold onto a platter.
- I used a 10-inch tube pan for this recipe, with great results. Deb originally used a 9-inch, and recommends this one.
- Grease that tube pan really, really well. I didn’t have any sticking problems but it can happen.
- I used half brown sugar and half white sugar for the apples, which is not necessary. Deb’s original recipe asks for all white sugar, which is absolutely fine.
- Make sure that when you insert a cake tester into the cake, that you do so towards the center for higher accuracy. Do not fret if the tester comes out slightly wet towards the end of baking; it’ll continue to cook while cooling. Do not overbake!
- Seriously, completely cool the cake before taking out of the pan. I bolded it for extra importance. I cannot emphasize it enough! This cake is dense but fragile, because of the apples, and can cause breakage if unmolded while warm. Trust me, the wait is worth it.