Best Ever Apple Cake

In the past few weeks I've shared a recipe for Pumpkin Bread (aka pumpkin cake, baked in a loaf pan,) not to mention a Torta della Vendemmia (aka a cake with grapes) and also this Chocolate Fudge Souffle Cake (no explanation needed). This blog certainly isn't short on cake lately, and while I'd normally try and shake things up with a vegetable-y dish -- or, who I am kidding, at least another type of dessert -- you must know that I absolutely had to make this cake. 

It's as simple as this: this Apple Cake grabbed my attention and wouldn't let it go (it has a surprisingly strong grip, for a cake). For starters, it comes from Deb Perelman aka Smitten Kitchen, whose cookbook I consider my Bible and whose posts are so entertaining that they are the equivalent of reading a good book; it had a whopping 1,281 (!!!) comments, all of the reviews positive, on her site; and last but not least, the recipe comes from her mom, and if there is anything better than Mom's cooking, I reckon it's the cooking of the mother of a legendary food blogger. Indeed, this cake promised to be phenomenal, the best cake I'd ever eat, one I'd make over and over again. I was, needless to say, intrigued.

The verdict: the cake, fresh out of the oven, was excellent. It was packed with apples, subtly spiced with cinnamon, and just sweet enough, one of those many-hat-wearing cakes that works for breakfast, tea, or dessert. I was very pleased with it, found it up to the usual standard of Smitten Kitchen recipes, and knew I'd share it on here. Fast forward to the next afternoon, however, when I discovered that this cake, while great the first day, is simply phenomenal in the days after, when the apples have had time to work their magic, their juices settling fully into the cake, rendering it extra dense and moist, intensely apple-y and almost pudding-like (swoon!) It turns out that this is the kind of cake you find yourself thinking about long after your first slice, that sneakily whispers your name until you head back to the kitchen for another sliver or two, and well, you have to even out that last bit to keep the cake looking, um, symmetrical, so that's another slice gone (I speak from personal experience). And oh, did I mention that it's also absolutely beautiful? Yup, this cake is tall and impressive and dare I say regal, Her Royal Cakeness, decked out in a crown bejeweled with cinnamon-y apples, utterly majestic. Last thing: once your done chopping and peeling your apples, all that's left to do is whisk together the remaining ingredients, and voilà, you're on your way to pure autumnal dessert nirvana. Yes, my friends, this is a cake that truly has it all.

A couple of notes, if you haven't yet dashed to your kitchens to make this: Deb says you can sub melted butter, olive oil, or even coconut oil for the vegetable oil. Like I said, this cake is really, truly amazing a day or two after baking, so I recommend making this in advance for the full-on Best Ever Apple Cake experience. I kept it at room temperature wrapped in foil. You'll see in the below photos that I had a potato peeler to peel my apples with, assuming it would work like an apple peeler. It doesn't -- peeling an apple with a potato peeler is pretty hard -- so either invest in an fruit peeler, or sliver the skin off with a knife, like I did, which isn't ideal but works fine in a pinch. Finally, my apologies for the not so pretty photos at the end of the recipe -- the part where the batter and apples go into the pan! -- but I made this cake after work Tuesday and by the time I'd gotten to the end of the recipe, the sun had disappeared.

A few other desserts that can pass for breakfast: this delectable Ricotta Pound Cake, this Nutella Swirl Cake, this Strawberry Jam Crostata, this Triple Orange Pound cake, these Orange Poppy seed Muffins, this Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread, these Danish Fastelavnsboller, and this Lemon Poppy seed Cake. Have you picked so many apples that you need to bake this cake and then something else? Try this Apple Crisp with Pecan-Oatmeal Topping or these Apple Cinnamon Muffins -- and stay tuned for a Triple Apple Pie (yeah, 3 kinds of apples!) to be posted in the next few weeks.

BEST EVER APPLE CAKE

Ingredients for the apples:
6 large apples, whatever kind you like (I use a mix of green and red)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons (65 grams) granulated sugar

Ingredients for the cake:
2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
2 1/2 (13 ml) teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius). Grease a 9-inch tube pan -- Deb used this one, I used a regular one piece pan that worked just fine -- with butter. Peel, core and chop the apples into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry ones and stir well until everything is incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.
 

Recipe from www.smittenkitchen.com ("Mom's Apple Cake")

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