Here’s a nice, easy recipe for a real cake made with just enough apples — three or four. That’s enough apple peeling to get you into the fall spirit, but not so many you get tired of peeling.
The cake is tender and rich, like a pound cake, and stays moist for several days, perhaps due to its apple topping.
You can add cinnamon if you like, or chopped nuts, arrange the apples in halves on the top (which is what Mom does) because this is the recipe in its most basic form.
I used four small Cortland apples and pushed the slices into the top of the stiff batter, making a pattern by arranging them in a spiral from the center, moving outwards to almost the edge of the cake. It’s easier than it sounds.
The sugar and butter never quite mixed, perhaps because I didn’t beat it long enough, and it formed a depressing emulsion, a rookie error. Consequently when I added the eggs, one at a time, I had to let the batter mix for more than five minutes after each one to smooth it out. Just be sure to beat the butter and sugar until smooth.
About the pan — the recipe calls for a 9-inch pan and I chose to use a cheesecake pan, so I could push the bottom out and present the cake on a plate. A springform pan would do the same job. But you can just fill any 9-inch pan, slice, then lift out piece by piece.
I placed the pan on a baking sheet to catch any leaks and make it easier to move into and out of the oven.
It got rave reviews, and next time I’ll use twice as many apples: I’ll put half the batter into the pan, layer with apples, then add the rest of the batter and continue as above. That is, if I feel like peeling.
Easy Apple Cake
3 large or 4 small baking apples
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel apples, cut into slices, as if for pie. Set aside.
Grease a 9-inch round pan. Beat together butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated, and vanilla.
Beat until light and fluffy and smooth.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture to make a rather stiff batter. Spread into prepared pan, place pan on a baking sheet.
Push apple slices into cake batter, starting from the center and going around in a spiral until most of top of cake is covered. Brush apples with melted butter, and pour remaining butter over batter. Sprinkle apples with sugar.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden and apples are tender when pierced.
Check after 30 minutes and cover with foil if browning too quickly.