This was the week to make it because David had already requested this for his “October Goody of the Month” and we went apple picking last weekend in East Tennessee. (Which is very fun although the farmer told us that actually September is prime picking month, so we were a bit late this year).
In 1996, the summer after I got married, Dave and I worked at a camp in East Tennessee. We lived on a college campus and ate cafeteria food all summer. The camp was a great experience, however, the food was lacking significantly. One of the weeks, a leader from the camp organization, Joe, came to visit with his wife, Freda, because one of their daughters was on our team that year. Freda, knowing the treat that it would be to bring us a baked good, arrived with A Fresh Apple Cake in hand. Well, I thought I would eat the entire cake! It was so moist and cinnamony with a crusty top and a moist inside. It seemed coffee cake-like. I asked Freda for the recipe so that when I returned to normal life with my kitchen, I could make it. She told me to grab a piece of paper and proceeded to quote the recipe. I think she has made it a time or two. I have been making it ever since!
My only gripe about this cake (other than it is full of calories and fat…like most great cakes) is that it chronically sticks to the pan! What a pain! The good thing is that it is forgiving. I am always able to dig out the stuck part and smush it on the cake. I have tried greasing and flouring various ways- Baker’s Joy, Crisco, butter, cooking spray, etc. I have resorted to loaf pans when I have felt discouraged. I even thought it might be my cheap-o bundt pan so I used Birthday money one year to buy a real, Bundt brand, high dollar pan at Williams Sonoma. But alas, it stuck. Nevertheless, I am loyal to this cake and think it is exceptional. So… I make it, hold my breath and prepare for surgery. It is worth it.
Fresh Apple Cake
4 cups fresh tart apples, peeled and diced
¾ cup oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
Mix together in a bowl
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. (or more) cinnamon
Stir dry ingredients together in another bowl.
Add the dry mixture with the apple mixture.
Place in a well-greased and floured bundt pan (if you dare).
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 min- 1 hour 30 minutes. It is tricky to know when it is done because the top puffs and forms a crunchy exterior and the inside is moist.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cake plate.
My friend had a birthday a couple of weeks ago and asked what kitchen tools I thought should be on her wish-list. It was fun to think of “essential tools”. So, when I was baking this week I thought of a couple of cooking tools that I think are of great value in the kitchen that I wanted to mention to you. When peeling and cutting apples, a good knife is essential. It is certainly the most taxing part of the recipe and if you have a good knife it helps. My favorite knives are Cutco. They are easy to handle, sharp, effective knives with a lifetime guarantee. If you don’t have a good knife I suggest you add it to your birthday or Christmas list.
Also, I love a batter bowl. You can see in the photo my new plastic batter bowl. I have always had glass ones (1 quart and 2 quart) and use them all the time. The handle makes them so easy to use and stir, and the spout comes in handy when pouring batter is required. So, I have to confess that I am kind of a wild cook. I am messy in the kitchen (which I deem as an indicator of my creative chef-ness, when teased and criticized about this quality). And I have a lot going on in my life, and in the kitchen, and in my fridge. Because of these variables, I have shattered BOTH of my batter bowls in the past few months. My mother graciously replaced the large one for me and decided plastic would be a safer route this time. She knows me pretty well.