An Apple Cake is the perfect Fall
dessert, with its chunks of apples, nuts, and raisins, all wrapped in a
cinnamon-laced batter. This cake is best served warm
from the oven with a dollop of softly whipped cream, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream,
or with a little heavy cream poured over the top.
I like the process of making an Apple Cake. I like gathering all
the ingredients together and laying them out in neat piles on the kitchen
counter. First there is the mound of peeled and chopped apples, tossed
with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Next to the
apples is a pile of plump dark raisins and a pile of chopped walnuts or
brown and aromatic from being toasted in the oven. Once that is done I
pull out the mixer and start making the cake batter. I carefully measure
all the dry ingredients and place them, one by one, into the mixing bowl.
A quick whirl blends them together. Then I add the melted butter, vanilla
extract, eggs, and milk and beat until
a soft and creamy batter is formed. All that is left is to fold in the chopped apples, chopped nuts, and
raisins. Once the
batter is poured into the cake pan and placed in the oven, the waiting
begins. I first wait for the scents of cinnamon and apple to fill the
kitchen and then I wait for the apple cake to rise and turn a beautiful
golden brown. When it is firm to my finger's touch and a toothpick
inserted in the center of the Apple Cake is free of crumbs, I pull it from
the oven. But my job is not done. While the cake is still warm, I like to spread
an apricot glaze over the
cake. The glaze gives the Apple Cake a lovely sheen, plus it adds a
flavor to the cake. If I am hungry, I often sneak a small slice, pouring
just a little heavy cream over the top as I love how the cream soaks into
Of course, use locally
grown apples in this cake if you have them but year round favorites like
Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Braeburns, and McIntosh, to name a few, are
also excellent. Besides apples, this cake contains raisins and chopped
pecans or walnuts. Dark or golden raisins can be used, as both dark and
golden raisins are simply dried Thompson seedless grapes. The difference
is that dark raisins are sun dried which gives them that dark shriveled
appearance, whereas golden raisins are treated with sulfur dioxide first
to prevent them from turning dark and then air dried to keep them a golden
yellow color. Walnuts or pecans can be used in this cake and I like to
first toast the nuts in the oven as this brings out their lovely flavor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
(180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a
non stick cooking spray,
an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan and then line with parchment paper or wax
Place the nuts on
a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and
fragrant. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack and then coarsely chop.
Peel, core, and
chop the apples into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
In the bowl of
your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking
powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, vanilla
extract, and milk and beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the chopped nuts,
raisins, and chopped apples.
batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 -
45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the
cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
While the cake is
still warm, prepare the glaze. Place the apricot jam or preserves in a small
saucepan and warm over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the
jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Alternatively, place the
apricot jam or preserves in a small bowl and heat in the microwave. Using a
pastry brush, spread the warmed preserves over the apple cake.
Serve warm with softly whipped
cream or vanilla ice cream. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Reheat before
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