Friday, October 01, 2010

When Life Gives You Apples, Make Apple Cake (And Invite Me Over)

About a month ago, Ranger talked us into buying an enormous bag of beautiful Granny Smith apples at a warehouse store.  My kids love tart Granny Smiths more than any other apple, and I am to blame (either by nature or nurture) for this.  There is nothing like the sharp snap of a tart slice of apple.

When I sliced the first apple from the bag and gave it to the kids, Ranger declared the apple sub-par.  In his defense it lacked the crispness that characterizes Granny Smiths.  I figured we could still make it through the bag; a green tart apple is a green tart apple, right?  It turns out that Ranger has the dedicated tastebuds of a wine master.

Later I fed him a sliced Granny Smith from a local orchard.  He loved it and asked for more, so I sliced an apple from the bag that I'd moved to the fridge the previous evening.  He took two bites and pushed it away.

I gave the leftovers to Scout who played with them for about 15 minutes before asking for "an apple."

I sliced another chilled bag apple and put it on a new plate.  She ate half a piece, shook her head, and asked for cheese.

Jim soon arrived home and helped me eat the two rejected apples.  That only left a few more pounds in the pantry.

In subsequent weeks, I kept trying to pass off the apples as grocery store apples.  To no avail.

Then I started looking for Granny Smith recipes.

Relish! had one for apple cake that looked straightforward and didn't require a special trip the grocery store.  The heavenly autumn olfactory trifecta of cinnamon, cake, and baked apples now waft through the house.

Relish! Apple Cake
Prep: 30 minutes Bake: 50 minutes
Serves 12

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups canola oil, (or cooking oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples , peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

per serving: 317 calories; 3 grams protein; 18 grams total fat; 1 gram fiber; 2 gram saturated fat; 35 grams carbohydrates; 21 mgs cholesterol; 188 mgs sodium
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

[1] Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a very large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; make a well in center of dry mixture and set aside.

[2] In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir in apples and nuts. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened (batter will be thick). Spread batter in prepared pan.

[3] Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

The sweet cake bakes to form a crunchy top that yields to a soft crumbly interior.  The texture and homey flavors of cinnamon-sweetened apples well suit this season of crisp leaves, pleasantly sharp breezes, and harvest flavors.

The commonplace ingredients, simple recipe, and exquisite results are typical of our cooking experiences with Relish!

This recipe was good enough to make me (momentarily) consider another mammoth bag of mediocre Grannies, but then I realized how wonderful it might be with fresh orchard apples.  If you try it, let me know, or, even better, invite me over.

***Baby Toolkit is written by at least one geek parent with a serious sweet tooth and a love for fall foods.  We are (paying) Relish! subscribers since October 2008 and credit the online menu planning service for most of the home cooking we accomplish.  We have no ongoing financial relationship with Relish!  We are however Amazon affiliates, so purchases made through our Amazon links support the ongoing blogging efforts of Baby Toolkit (many thanks!).  


Logan said...

I can't thank you enough for turning us on to Relish. We've been using it for about 7 months now and love it SO MUCH. We eat like kings every night. Our friends beg us to host dinner parties. Our food never goes bad. And it's so cheap! I sound like a commercial, but i'm so glad you told us about this.

adrienne said...

Hi Logan,

I'm glad Relish continues to work for you and your family! One of my favorite things about the shopping list is that Jim is willing to take the kids and do the grocery shopping every week. That is some alone time I really value.

Janet emailed me some suggestions for the apple cake:

"love the recipe but I made it with a combination of empire and granny smith. It works with any apple used in cooked recipes.
you can decrease the fat content by using applesauce instead of the oil. Makes perfect sense in an apple cake but I do it with most of my cakes and even brownies."

I haven't had a time to make a second cake (yet), but will be happy to try apple sauce in the place of the oil.

Thanks for the tips, Janet! I hope to hit the orchard for some freshly picked apples later this week.

Michael Phillips said...

Granny Smith + Fuji + vanilla extract + burbon => an excellent start on an apple pie.

adrienne said...

Mmmmm.... apple pie is divine. I just hate the mess of making the crust.

Michael Phillips said...

how big of a mess does crust making make for you?

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

I made this and it was great! I did double the amount of apples. In the future, I think I'd add more cinnamon and perhaps use some apple sauce in place of oil. But tasty overall!

Roxy said...

SOUNDS YUMMY!! Will try it out!