This was my favorite cake when I was growing up. I used to beg my mother to make it for my birthday, and was bitterly disappointed that apples were not in season in late spring when my birthday occurs. I like a chocolate cake as much as the next person, but my fondness for this apple cake goes beyond mere liking. It is probably the reason that apple is not my favorite sort of pie – if you are going to make a baked apple dessert, why not make this?
It is essentially baked apples held together by a batter, and it is simplicity itself.
Make sure the following ingredients are at room temperature. I did not grow up using an electric mixer, and I still don’t have one, so I think having things at room temperature is important:
- 1 cup sugar (I think this is too much – I use a scant half cup)
- ¼ cup shortening
- 1 egg
- 3 cups apples, peeled and cut in ½” dice (about 2 large apples)
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans), optional
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp each baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350° F and butter an 8” square pan. The pan I used had something unpleasant going on with its non-stick coating, so I lined it with parchment.
Cream the shortening and the sugar, add the egg and the vanilla.
Add the apples and the nuts, and the dry ingredients.
Mix carefully, making sure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Turn the batter into the pan and bake for 35 minutes.
I make this whenever I can and, contrary to the family wisdom of this only being suitable autumn food, I once served several pans of it to a house full of friends in coastal North Carolina – in August.