Four-Piece Apple Cake

Every Friday, the staff and students at YWAM Turner Valley get together at 10:30am for what has been dubbed “Friday Base Snack” (wow, we need a catchier title!). The three departments take turns putting together the snack, and a couple of Fridays ago was our turn as the School of Biblical Studies department. I have to confess that I already have all of SBS’s base snacks planned out until the end of December, and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have ideas for into January! I love planning what I’m going to bake next. It may or may not also be an excuse to scour Pinterest for recipes.

I got the recipe for what is known as “Apple Cake,” “Jewish Apple Cake,” or “German Apple Cake” from Smitten Kitchen, a fabulous food blog with several years’ worth of recipes. I’ve had my eye on multiple recipes from Smitten Kitchen, but this is the first I’ve tried, and based on the deliciousness of this cake, I’m eager to try some more! I’m not the only one who thought this cake was delicious; I dubbed it “Four-Piece Apple Cake” because Michael ate four pieces in one sitting, and asked me to make him a whole one for himself! While that won’t be happening, I would really like to make this cake again (that’s unusual for me – I don’t often make something twice as I like to try new things), maybe for the Christmas season, possibly gluten-free as my sister is somewhat gluten-intolerant (but in denial – just kidding, Jill!). I’ve read that this cake tastes even better the next day, when the apples’ juices have permeated the cake, but this cake didn’t last long enough to test that theory!

This cake feeds a crowd; I doubled it and it fed at least two-dozen people, with many people having seconds (or thirds…or fourths…). The original recipe calls for it to be baked in a tube pan (which is different from a bundt pan – it has a removable bottom), but I baked it in glass pan. Below, I’ve written out my version of the recipe (I used a bit less sugar than Smitten Kitchen), but double if it if you want the same yield as I had.

Four-Piece Apple Cake

Four Piece Apple Cake

  • 6 McIntosh apples
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • icing sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan or a glass baking dish (9 x 13″ works well). Peel core and chop your apples into chunks – not too small – chunks are what you want, not applesauce. Toss the apple chunks in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of sugar and put them somewhere where you won’t eat them or accidentally pour the other ingredients on top of them. (I, for one, have never done that…)
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. If you’re feeling ambitious, sift the flour. I’m far too lazy for such things. In a separate bowl, whisk together your oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Warning: the consistency is going to be really weird, and you’re going to think you made a mistake and frantically reread this recipe. You haven’t made any mistakes – the consistency of the batter will kind of remind you of streusel, but it won’t be as crumbly.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix to incorporate. I’m well aware that this is a weird order for mixing ingredients, but just do it! Once you’ve added the eggs, you’ll feel better about the consistency of the batter, I promise.
  4. Pour half of the batter into your glass pan or tube pan. Spread half of those delicious cinnamony apples over it. Pour the rest of the batter over the apples, and then arrange the rest of the apples on top. If you’re really committed to layers in this cake, I think a tube pan is the best bet, as the big glass pan will make for thin layers and apples peeking out from under the second layer of batter. Don’t worry too much about that. It’s all going the same place, after all.
  5. Bake until a tester comes out clean. I baked this cake for about an hour and fifteen minutes, but if you’re using a tube pan, it may take closer to an hour and a half.
  6. Let cool for ten minutes or so, then dust with icing sugar.

Makes 16-18 delicious pieces of apple cake, which will serve four ravenous husbands at four pieces each (we do not advocate polygamy). Adapted from recipe at Smitten Kitchen.

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