qotd, writing advice
many things make a post

on apple cake

Usually on Mondays, I post pitcures from some fabulous adventure that we had over the weekend. This weekend, we had no adventures, fabulous or otherwise because, frankly, we are all a little adventured out. On Saturday, the Boy didn't even make it out of his jammies, which was totally fine. His entry into the kindergarten pool has not gone smoothly - mostly he seems to object to doing what is asked of him when it is asked of him, which has long been a driving force of the Boy's character since birth - and he needed a day to not be pushed. And we needed a day to not have to push him.

And so a weekend of not much. Scott and a rented undergrad resealed the driveway in preparation for the winter. I made bread. I also made apple cake, which is what I wanted to tell you about. There may be a picture here if I can find a decent one on my camera. (The pictures were universally bad. Do your best to imagine the cake.)

I've gotten into the habit of buying a half-bushel of apples every fall then using them to make apple butter, apple sauce, apple cake and, um, apples (for eating without any intervention.) This fall's batch of Cortlands was especially nummy and have been great for cooking with.

I screw around with the recipes for all of the other apple things but I always make the same cake.

And now I'm going to have to back up.

In college, six or eight of us lived in the same house. Technically, the boys lived on one side and the girls lived on the other. The kitchen on the girls' side was where we'd all hang out.

One day I came home to find a cake on the counter. It smelled like fall should smell, apples and cinnamon and brown sugar. When the chemistry major roommate wandered in - I'll call her Peace Corps because that is what she's doing right now - she mentioned that her mom brought it up with some other random stuff and would I like a slice?

Reader, it was heaven on a plate.

Peace Corps was the same roommate who spent a weekend playing with a stovetop espresso machine - this was long before Starbucks had made it out of Seattle - and getting us all teeth-rattingly wired for 48 hours. But that is another story.

I knew Peace Corps' mom could cook. I'd been lucky enough to stay at her house on numerous occasions and always left full to the eyeballs. But that cake was in another realm of good.

From that point on, every fall, Peace Corps' mom would bring a cake or two. And then we all graduated and scattered to the winds.

Scott and I moved to Texas, which was a kick in the head for a number of reasons. For the purpose of this story, let's focus on Austin's lack of seasons. Fall is one day in February when wind blows the dead leaves off of the trees. Winter is usually the next day. Spring is the day after that. And then summer starts again.

I was a little down during my first October in Austin. My life wasn't working out as I'd hoped - I was working long hours in a shitty Crate and Barrel knock-off in the mall for Pete's sake - and, additionally, it was still 100 degrees. Peace Corps' mom, after hearing how miserable I was, overnighted an apple cake to us. It arrived in pieces and we consumed every last crumb.

The next fall, I asked if maybe she could send the recipe? Which she did and Peace Corps let me know that the recipe was only a guideline and that, to the best of her knowledge,  like snowflakes, no two cakes were ever identical. But they each were delish in their own ways.

And every fall since I have made an apple cake using that recipe as a guide. Sometimes two or three cakes in a season, depending on how long the apples hold out. Mine, of course, haven't quite lived up to my Proustian ideal. But, really, what does? It's a very good cake even when it's not the best cake ever. I make the cake because one day the sorta-orphaned friend of one of my kid's will want to have one mailed to her because they remind her of happier times. 

I make the cake because it is time to make the cake.

(For the record, however. This weekend's cake was seriously meh. I think I have one more in me before winter comes.)

ETA: the recipe, such as it is, is in the comments.


Is it possible to share that recipe, since I don't think you will ship me one, although the seasons in Louisiana are awfully much like the ones in Austin, just not as dry.

Lovely story. Made me all nostalgic for that awful orange & metallic speck counter in the kitchen. Euchre anyone?

All that and no recipe? What gives? :)

Next time the recipe and my computer are in the same room as me, I'll put it in these here comments. Had no idea anyone else would like to make the cake. Sorry about that.

I heart apple cake. And miss it.

My brother-in-law's mom made something called Jewish Apple Cake which is delectable, AND freezes well! She is many years gone from us, but I still have the recipe and make it every autumn.

I made poached apples 2 weeks ago and it was really really good. the syrup left over has been garnishing everything from ice cream to sponge cake. So I get the whole "fall feeling" of making some pefect thing from apples. it is kind of important, isn't it?

Love this post! And it must be serendipity because I have an apple cake in the oven as I type. It's been a couple years since I've made one, but had a bunch of extra apples...and it always reminds me of Sundays when I was a kid because that was the only day my mom made dessert and often it was an apple cake :) After this post, I'll be trying to make one every year :)

Must have recipe..... pretty please.

Hm, I seem to recall that, in actuality, both the boys AND the girls lived on the girls' side . . .

I also recall the slap to W's face that brought down the ceiling lamp . . .

Yes please, we need the receipe.

The recipe:
2 c sugar
1.5 c corn oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3c unsifted AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
.25 tsp ground clove
1 tsp cinnamon
5 c diced, peeled apples

Cream sugar and oil. Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix drys, add to apples, then add apples to creamed. This batter will be very stiff.
Bake in greased, floured bundt pan 55-60 minutes at 325.

Some advice (which came originally from Peace Corps' mom) - you can mess around with the amount of sugar and oil. I generally use about half of what's called for. Also - add more spices. Also - add nuts, if you like them.

Wow. Oil not butter, is it a WWII cake?

I'm not sure if it's a WWII cake. I do get the feeling, tho, that it has been in the family for quite some time - so it's not unlikely.

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