The Perfect Apple Cake

In the past eleven days, I have baked three apple cakes.  There, I’ve said it.  It’s off my chest.   I’ve been on a baking binge, but once you bake Teddie’s Apple Cake, you will completely understand.  This is a fun cake to bake and the results are flu defying.

The first time I baked it was the day before Thanksgiving.  My Pirate came home from Seattle, sick and I suspected the flu, behind those cold-like symptoms, when he collapsed into bed and then moaned for more Nyquil.  And yet he insisted that we have Thanksgiving with My Kid.  Well, I was confused about what to do because I didn’t want My Kid to get sick because he’s the music director at the Washington School for the Blind and he doesn’t have a good substitute teacher to replace him, yet.  So, I baked Food52’s Genius Recipe, Teddie’s Apple Cake, while I contemplated my options. 

I had all the ingredients on hand, it’s simple to throw together, and the results far exceed the effort put into baking it.  The delicious smell of it cooling on the kitchen counter roused My Pirate from his nap and he came into the kitchen. So I tried to plate the cake before it fully cooled.  Big mistake.  It fell apart in my hands and I laughed as I handed him a chunk.  He liked the crunchy crust contrasting with the moist spicy cake holding apples, rum soaked raisins and toasted walnuts so much that he asked for apple cake for dessert on Thanksgiving instead of apple pie.  And so I proceeded to bake another apple cake.  I cooled it overnight before I plated it and with the help of My Kid, poured a caramel glaze on it.  

At dinner on Tuesday with My Kid, while we were all nursing our colds and enjoying a bowl of soup, I admitted that I didn’t know what to bring to the potluck celebrating the last day of master gardener class.  My Kid suggested that I bring an apple cake, so I proceeded to bake my third apple cake.     

Now, what did I do with all the extra apple cake?  I shared it, which is the best part of baking.  And this year, on a whim, I handed it out to the local homeless.  And they all gave me the same response.  They took a huge bite, looked stunned and broke out into a huge smile and gave me an excited thumbs-up.  I’m telling you, you need to try this cake.  And if you have extra, don’t hesitate to share it with those around you asking for a handout.  It might just make them feel loved.  

Teddie's Apple Cake
published in the New York Times in 1973 and Amanda Hesser republished it in The Essential New York Times Cookbook in 2007

Serves 8

Butter for greasing pan
 cups flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 1/2
 cups vegetable oil
 cups sugar
teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg—I chose to add nutmeg
teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon vanilla
cups peeled, cored, and thickly sliced tart apples like Granny Smith
 cup chopped walnuts—I oven roasted mine first
 cup raisins—I soaked gold raisins and currants in rum first

Preheat oven to 350°F. 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 and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts 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. Mine took five extra minutes.  Cool in the pan before lifting out. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Here's the link to the caramel icing recipe that suggested using.  It's delicious.