My Favorite Apple Cake

This recipe is apparently quite old, appearing in both my 1943 & 2006 editions of The Joy of Cooking. My late Aunt Doris used to make this cake for family gatherings, and to date, I don’t believe that anyone in the family has been able to make it taste quite the same as she did.

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Note: this is a dense cake, not a fluffy one, and when you make the batter you will wonder if you have enough to spread across the pan. Trust me, you will. Also, trust that you will want to make two of these cakes, because they will disappear quickly!

Aunt Doris’ Apple Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 tbsp cold, for the batter, 3 tbsp melted, for the topping)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • about 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 C sliced peeled apples (I prefer to use a slightly sweeter Jonathan rather than a Granny Smith.)
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Grease 8″ or 9″ round pan and set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl. (You will want some room in the bowl for when you work in the butter.)
  3. Using a pastry blender, 2 forks, or best of all your hands, add 1 1/2 tbsp of the butter to the dry ingredients a little at a time. When combined, the mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal.
  4. In a glass measuring cup, combine egg and vanilla. Add milk until mixture is measures 1/2 C.
  5. Stir the egg mixture into the flour/butter mixture to form a stiff dough.
  6. Spread dough into prepared pan evenly using a rubber spatula or your hands. (This is a very hands-on recipe. See what I did there?)
  7. Arrange apples atop the dough in a decorative manner, overlapping them slightly.
  8. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 3 tbsp butter (melted). Sprinkle over fruit and the top of the cake.
  9. Bake for about 25 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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