Note: Please welcome our new Serious Sweets columnist Maria del Mar Sacasa of High Heels & Frijoles. She'll be chiming in weekly with a sweet treat. Take it away, Maria! —The Mgmt.
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I love a vertigo-inducing heel, but Monday through Friday my feet are more sensibly (and happily) shod in clogs or sneakers. In the same manner, on weekdays I'm not looking to eat—and least of all make—a fussy dessert. I much prefer a comfortable cake that doesn't overwhelm morning Joe but is just proper enough for afternoon Earl.
Apple cake is big, moist, pleasantly dense, and spice-scented. The chopped apples in the batter create a strong backbone of apple flavor—this is what they should mean by fruit cake!
Apples release liquids during cooking. If you'll notice, it's the chopped apples, rather than a fluid like juice or cream, that are alternated with the dry ingredients during mixing. A couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the cake and crown add brightness and accentuate the tart Granny Smiths, while ground cinnamon and allspice add warmth.
The flavors really come together and, like unpicked fruit on a branch, ripen as the days go by. Don't feel like you need to wolf it down as soon as it's cool enough to handle. I love baking it on a Sunday night; Monday morning's grim shadow is a little easier to face when you have cake to look forward to.
This recipe (of unknown provenance) has been a favorite in my mom's kitchen for years, and given its popularity with family and company alike, I scribbled it into my own notebook and have now transcribed it neatly for you.
About the author: Maria del Mar Sacasa is a recipe developer, food stylist, and author of the food blogs High Heels & Frijoles and Voracious Billy Goat. Behind her girly façade lurks truck driver's appetite.
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