From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Our day began with an ark-worthy deluge that made our usual farm stand expeditions unwise. Fortunately, I had apples and all the spices I needed to test some new fall recipes, so boredom was not a problem. At this time of year, jars of cinnamon and nutmeg move from the spice drawer to the window sill, where they keep the salt and pepper cellars company. They'll be used almost daily from now till the Christmas holidays are over. My kitchen comes into its own in the fall and some of my favorite foods come from the oven and the fridge at this time of year. I love simple old-fashioned desserts and I have a real weakness for those made with ginger and apple or pumpkin. While I may serve a dacquoise to guests, there is an excellent chance you'll find an apple crisp or gingerbread lurking in my kitchen, waiting to be devoured by my family and me. The aroma and bold flavors of these fall treats are rich with memories of the kitchens in which I learned to cook, and if I close my eyes tightly, I can still see large untoned arms shaking as they beat eggs to submission and transformed them to cakes and pies and custards fragrant with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. I think you'll like this simple apple cake. It is not as spicy as some, but it has a lovely sweetness that I know you will enjoy. The recipe was originally published in Redbook magazine and it is almost foolproof. Almost. Be sure to spray your tube pan well or the cake will be next to impossible to remove. For as much as I love apples, I think the 4 called for in the original recipe is one too many, and the next time I make this I'll use only 3. This is a nice apple cake that is very easy to prepare. It will neither make nor break your reputation as a cook and, while it may not become a family favorite, it's perfect to tote to morning meetings or church potlucks. Here is how it is made.
Everyday Apple Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Redbook magazine
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 to 4 large baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup) (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch removable-bottom tube pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle pecans evenly on bottom of pan.
2) In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and cinnamon. Add apples and toss to combine.
3) In another large bowl, mix remaining flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, oil, butter, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Beat until batter is smooth.
4) Pour half of the batter (about 2 cups) into prepared pan. Top with half of apple mixture. Spoon remaining batter over apples and top with remaining apples, placing them 1/4 inch in from the tube and the border of the cake.
5) Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the sides and center of cake and turn cake out onto wire rack. Invert cake onto another rack to cool, apple side up. Yield: 12 servings.
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