One of my favorite memories of growing up on a farm is picking our own apples from our orchard. We called it an “orchard”, but honestly, it was about 7 apple trees, a few peach trees, and some wild plum bushes. Regardless, I would love to have that beautiful collection of trees in my backyard today. All of those amazing fruit trees are long gone – destroyed in the name of “city expansion” – but I still love visiting country orchards with my daughters and making our centuries-old apple recipes. My great-grandmothers and great aunts were long gone from this earth before I came along, but they certainly knew how to cook and I’m so grateful to have their wonderful recipes to pass on to my kiddos and friends.
This is an amazing apple cake recipe that I loved as a child, and now serve to my family and guests…..particularly in the fall after our baskets are FULL of apples. It can be served warm or cold, with whipped cream or not! Super versatile – and tastes great no matter how or when it’s served. I put a ton of apples in it – I don’t really measure them, but probably closer to 5 – 6 cups than 4! I like to think of it as baked apple pieces with a little cake around each piece.
Over the years, I’ve tried several changes to the original list of ingredients, all of which have worked beautifully. I’ve made notes at the end of the recipe below about changes I’ve tried. The recipe below is how I received it…..on a tattered, much-loved aged recipe card.
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
4 cups chopped apples (there is not a common variety of apple I HAVEN’T used – pick and mix the apple varieties for your taste)
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour cake pan (original recipe uses 9 X 13, but I use a smaller pan because I like the pieces thicker and more substantial).
- Whisk eggs and oil until frothy. NOTE: You can certainly use a mixer, but I mix mine up with a wooden spoon. The few dishes I have to clean every day…..the happier I am.
- Add sugar(s) and whisk again until well-incorporated.
- Mix the dry ingredients together, then slowly add to the egg/sugar mixture. I say this only because it sounds more official. Honestly, I dump the dry ingredients directly into the egg mixture and it turns out awesome. I did not attend culinary school, and I’m sure there is some kind of gastronomical scientific reaction that happens when they are kept separate THEN mixed together – but momma ain’t got time for that. Dump, mix. BAM.
- Stir in the vanilla, then add the apples.
**If you don’t have a rockin’ apple corer/peeler….you need one. They are AMAZING and save so much time.
Put the battered apples into the baking dish and bake for 50 minutes. It is a super moist cake and very dense, so the “clean knife” trick to test for doneness doesn’t always work. The top will brown and 50 minutes – 1 hour is usually enough time for it to bake.
Let the cake cool a bit, and sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional). Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if you’d like, I prefer to have it plain…..the apple flavors are delicious on their own.
Here are a few changes I’ve tried:
- Used 1 cup white sugar / 1 cup brown sugar
- Used plain yogurt instead of oil – works great, just a bit spongy (but not in a bad way)
- Added nuts: self explanatory – just a little more texture
- Reduced sugar to one cup and added 1/2 cup honey
- Added golden raisins (soaked in warm water first so they were soft)
- Used ALL whole wheat flour – or, 1 cup white / 1 cup whole wheat (my preference)
- Added a thin powdered sugar, butter, lemon juice icing
All of the above worked well, and you can experiment to make it your own! Enjoy with a warm cup of cinnamon tea or coffee. Leave your comments below on how your recipe turned out!