Since apparently I’m making confessions (like the fact that I adore white food), here’s one for you: generally speaking, I eat cake for the icing. I know that may seem odd, given the fact that I once wrote a Friday list where I spouted off about my disdain for cupcakes with eight inches of icing on top, but hear me out. To me, an iced cake has to be balanced-enough icing to give me that buttery, gooey texture, but enough cake to prevent me from going into sugar overload (and it’s helpful if the icing isn’t overly sweet). While my husband is just as happy eating plain cake as iced cake, that’s always been a world that I just don’t understand. Well, just didn’t understand. That, my friends, was before I discovered Smitten Kitchen‘s spiced apple cake.
I am sure that it’s not going to be a surprise to any of you that I am mildly obsessed with Deb Perelman’s blog. I would imagine that a great many of the food-obsessed are. She has an unbelievable number of recipes, scrupulously tested to the nth degree so that they are practically perfect in every way. I preordered her cookbook, and when you have Amazon Prime, your pre-ordered books arrive at your house on the day that they are released. I read the book three times through immediately then proceeded to make at least half of the recipes in quick succession. I am sure that you can all understand the reason that I chose The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to start my “cooking through my cookbooks” project, determined to cook as many of the recipes that I haven’t yet tried (and many that I have) again.
Deb’s spiced apple cake-well, actually, her mother’s spiced apple cake-is the kind of cake that will make you wish that you had spent a little more time looking for fantastic cakes that don’t involve icing. Packed full of MacIntosh apples (my very, very favorite apple) and walnuts (optional, but why on earth would you leave them out?) and cinnamon (though I couldn’t resist using my Alchemy Spice Wake and Bake Sweet Spice Blend), it’s tart and sweet and tender and crunchy and as moist as cakes can come. The cake itself seems to weigh a ton but it isn’t heavy in the sense that we think of food being heavy.
This spiced apple cake is amazing, and now I’m determined to find some more perfectly moist fruity cakes to love.
Yield: 1 10-inch cake
This recipe is adapted, barely, from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook .
30 minPrep Time:
1 hr, 30 Cook Time:
2 hrTotal Time:
- butter for the pan (you can also use nonstick cooking spray)
- 2 1/2-3lb apples (Deb recommends MacIntosh, which are my favorite, so you won't hear any arguments from me)
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or a blend, such as the Alchemy Spice Wake & Bake Blend I am so enamored with)
- 2 cups plus 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice (I used fresh squeezed, about 1 1/2 oranges)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 Large eggs
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- powdered sugar (for serving)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter or spray a 10-inch tube pan. Peel, core, and chop the apples; toss with the 5 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon or blend and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the 2 cups of sugar, orange juice, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon to fully incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold in the walnuts, if using.
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and top with half of the apples, then repeat with the remaining batter and apples. Bake for about an hour and a half, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool the cake completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan. Use a knife or offset spatula to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, and try not to eat three pieces in one sitting.