November 5, 2014

A Delicious Apple Cake

It's apple season: the farm and orchard stands have shelves lined with bags full of all kinds of apples. Last year, when I had a huge bounty of apples from my antique orchard (this year they are resting, so no apples) I looked around online for a good apple cake recipe. I was lucky to find a wonderful recipe for Mom's Apple Cake from the site Smitten Kitchen. The recipe comes with a charming story about its origin, which you can read at the link. I passed the recipe on to my mom, who also liked it. This year I used Macouns, which are my favorite eating apple, while the recipe calls for McIntosh. This is a very large cake, making at least 10 servings, or maybe 8 if people are ravenous.

Smitten Kitchen's Mom's Apple Cake

6 apples
1 Tbs cinnamon
5 Tbs sugar

2 3/4 cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 teas salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar (I use a bit less)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teas vanilla
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core, and chop apples into chunks, then toss them with the cinnamon and sugar.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, then add eggs one at a time, beating after each one until the batter is smooth and well blended.

Pour half the batter into the tube pan. It won't look like much, but it expands a great deal in baking. Put half the apples over the batter, then the rest of the batter on top of the apple layer. The remaining half of the apples goes on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours until a knife tests clean; the apples will get deliciously caramelized.

This cake looks a big more disheveled than I'd like, and I'm going to tell on myself as to how I can do some dumb things in the kitchen. The tube pan that I have, given to me by my mother, has 3 metal tabs sticking above the rim so that you can put it upside down on the counter to let a sponge cake cool. So silly me (I didn't do this foolish thing last year) turned this cake upside down to cool. Of course, when I went back into the kitchen 15 minutes later, half the cake had fallen onto the counter. I tried to carefully put it back together using a spatula, then stuck it back in the oven for a few minutes, hoping that might be a kind of gluing process. It didn't really work: the cake fell a bit apart when it was cut, but it was still very delicious. I'm sure you'll enjoy it if you try this recipe; and thanks to Smitten Kitchen.


  1. This looks so good! (I wonder if it would work without a tube pan.) You could hardly call it an apple cake, but one of my all-time favorite cakes is the cranberry-apple-walnut cake in the original Moosewood cookbook. It's amazing.

  2. If the cake is even half as good as the still life photograph, count me in!

  3. I hope you'll all try it; it is as good as it looks.
    Susan, I'm not sure that the cake would cook as well in another kind of pan; it might not get done in the center.