we woke to a gorgeous, crisp autumn day today that seemed perfect for baking one of my favorite fall treats — also one of the recipes i’ve really been wanting to make with the apples we still have from our apple picking trip a few weekends ago.
my grandmother’s apple cake is one of the things i really look forward to making every single year. it’s seriously like crack for me. something about the combination of apples, fall spices and butter in a gooey, sweet, melty mix makes me crave this thing with my breakfast coffee and become perfectly capable of devouring half a cake in one shockingly short sitting — and then grabbing the other half for a snack later. i am positively terrified about the fact that Spy leaves tomorrow afternoon for a 10-day Europe trip and i will be left in the house alone with this evil thing. lord save my thighs from myself.
at any rate, my mother rattled off the recipe to me several years ago over the phone and i jotted it down. not sure if it was her memory or my note taking that failed, but my results have seemed off — mainly too gooey to really be considered a proper cake, but delicious nonetheless. so i’ve spent the past few falls doing practice round after practice round trying to get it exactly right.
at it’s perfection, the cake gets a crisp outer shell — partly from being shellacked in a butter/sugar glaze at the end — and is a soft, slightly gooey cake inside filled with apples and speckled with walnut pieces and flecks of cinnamon and nutmeg. it’s not ever going to be a beautiful cake, but those who choose a cake from the dessert table for looks will just have to miss out!
today, i think i finally, finally cracked the code. at least enough that i’ll stick with (and share) my latest version of the recipe for the time being. enjoy! (warm with vanilla ice cream, cold with coffee, by one 1/8 inch slice at a time swearing you’re totally not eating another bite today . . . no judgement.)
Nan’s Apple Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups sliced apples (McIntosh or Golden Delicious work well — just use something sweet, slice thin and leave the skins on)
1 cup walnuts
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix first 6 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and oil for about a minute. Add sugar and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add apples and walnuts and stir until just covered. Pour into prepared bundt pan (I just use PAM Baking spray). Bake 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Just before cake is done, bring glaze ingredients to a boil. Pour on hot cake while it is in the pan. You can help it drain down into the sides more by gently pulling the sides away from the pan with a butter knife. Let cake cool for several hours or overnight. The longer the glaze has to dry, the better. Gently turn the cake onto a plate. Gently loosen with a knife if it seems stuck. Store it uncovered for a bit to let the glaze harden.