Schatzi: I’m not sure why, but I was haunted by apple cake recently. While perusing Slashfood at work (don’t tell!), I came across this intriguing recipe, and that same day came across this one in the New York Times while randomly trolling for cake recipes. And while going through Fashionable Food by Sylvia Lovegren, I found yet another similar recipe in the Seventies chapter. Apparently, I was fated to make an apple cake.
According to Lovegren, “Apple cakes of various types were extremely popular in the Seventies, both with Suburban Gourmets and their urban brethren. [ … ] This recipe was copied at many a club meeting across the country in the Seventies—but unlike other such formulas, it still tastes good. And it doesn’t have a particularly strange texture, although it is very moist. I believe the original recipe first appeared in Sunset magazine in the early 1950s.”
I used the NYT Teddie’s Apple Cake recipe, though mine differs slightly. For one, I am mad for brown sugar, and use it whenever I can, so I substituted half the sugar for dark brown sugar—next time, I would probably use only golden brown sugar. I’m also a bit of a spice addict, and this recipe seemed so richly fruity that it required more spice. So I added extra cinnamon, as well as some nutmeg and a dash of allspice (more like Bunny’s Apple Cake recipe). That’s the gingerbread coming out in me yet again. The Fashionable Food recipe, and the one Lovegren mentions in Sunset both contain chocolate, in the form of cocoa and melted chocolate, respectively, but I don’t see that as necessary. The end result of my cake was a moist, old-fashioned cake of the highly fruited variety with just the right amount of spice. The dark brown sugar gives it a mild caramel flavor and a slightly gooey texture, and it’s great warm or cold, plain or a la mode. My brother-in-law gave it a “delicious” on the “Okay-Good-Delicious” scale.
butter and flour, or cooking spray, for greasing pan
3 cp flour
1-½ cp vegetable oil
1 cp dark brown sugar
1 cp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
5 peeled, cored and thickly sliced tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 cp chopped walnuts
1 cp raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer for about 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat until creamy.
2. Sift together flour, salt, spices, and baking soda, and stir into batter. Add vanilla, apples, walnuts, and raisins, and stir until combined.
3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out.
“Put in lots, won’t you? I ‘m rather fond of plum-cake,” observed Tom, likening himself to Hercules with the distaff, and finding his employment pleasant, if not classical.
“I always do, if I can; there ‘s nothing I like better than to shovel in sugar and spice, and make nice, plummy cake for people. It ‘s one of the few things I have a gift for.” [ … ]
Cutting carefully, slice after slice fell apart; each firm and dark, spicy and rich, under the frosty rime above.—Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl