Crumbs. That's all that was left of this cake by the time I found my camera. While digging through my freezer in search of bits of food I might turn into a meal last week, I discovered a bag of ground pecans mixed with spices from a nut crust I made a while back. It was dated 2007 which was shocking, but I tasted the nuts and they didn't smell or taste rancid, so I immediately started devising how many recipes I could make from this beautiful gift from my freezer. It is beyond me how I could have forgotten about such a cherished and expensive ingredient as pecans. All I can think is that it was meant to be just so that I would discover this wonderful cake!
Apple cakes are standard fair with Eastern European Jewish Grandmas, so needless to say I've eaten quite a few of them. They are simple, easy cakes to make, and since they are made with oil, rather than butter, they are moist and stay that way for many days. I have a few apple cake recipes that I use but I have never loved any of them that much. Last week while flipping through my binder of recipes I've clipped out of magazines or newspapers over the years I spotted one from the NY Times (also from 2007, I think it really was meant to be). The recipe, Teddie's Apple Cake was first printed in the Times in 1973 (the year of my birth). The picture was enticing, and I knew it could handle an extra cup or so of ground nuts, so I set off baking.
I altered the recipe a bit, adding some whole spelt flour, cardamom, a little less sugar and a few other things. The cake had a wonderful crispy but light sugary crust and a deliciously spiced tender crumb. I have been on a long and strong baking kick over the past few weeks, I promise some good savory foods soon, but for now, enjoy just one more sweet this holiday season. Happy New Year!
The Best Apple Cake
adjusted from the original Teddie's Apple Cake
Butter for greasing the pan
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups apples, pealed, cored and cut in thick slices or 3/4-inch cubes
1 to 2 cups chopped or coarsely ground nuts (walnuts or pecans are best)
1/2 cup currants or raisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
- Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon, cardamom and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, nuts and raisins and stir until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve at room temperature.
tube pan for the apple cake
Have you had any great baking successes lately? Please share!