I realize that my post about the apple snow might make it seem that I detest peeling a bunch of apples—it was an exaggeration. It's not my favorite thing but given the right listening material and the right goal, I am perfectly fine with a 3-pound bag of apples that needs to turn into a pile of peeled apple slices. And, my friend, this cake is motivation.
I'm one of those people who don't really like cakes. Or, rather, I like to make cakes and I think they look spectacular, but I generally think there are better things to eat, like pie. This cake is the exception, but it's also different from other cakes because it's not much to look at, it's full of apples, and there are some fantastic textures: it's crunchy on top and gooey in the middle and a different kind of crunchy on the bottom and! I just realized this morning that if I toasted a single slice of cake (are you judging me for eating cake for breakfast? It has fruit in it.) then there was even more tension between the crunch and goo.
Teddie's Apple Cake
Adapted from The New York Times
Picture with explanation!
Note: You need a tube pan for this cake, although I think a bundt pan would work too.
3 c. peeled, thickly sliced tart apples, like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
3 c. white flour OR 2 c. white flour and 1 c. almond flour (available at Trader Joe's, economically priced!)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. toasted walnuts
1/2 - 1 c. raisins
Grease and flour your pan, set oven to 350º.
Beat the oil and sugar together on medium speed, beat them for 5 minutes! Beat in the eggs one at a time until creamy.
Hey! Don't skimp on this step because beating the eggs and sugar together creates a meringue-like substance, which results in a delightful crusty top layer of the cake. The rest of the cake is dense underneath this top layer and it makes slicing the cake a sort of adventure, as well as making presentation kind of a pile of brown cake, but whatever. You'll want that crusty top.
While you're beating that oil-sugar-egg mixture to creaminess, sift together the dry ingredients. At the appropriate moment (creaminess), add to batter.
Now add the vanilla, apples, walnuts, raisins. You will have to abandon your beater for a spoon and you may have a moment of despair when you think: "This batter is so thick! The fruit and nuts will never mix in!" But just keep stirring, and it'll probably happen. (Also, check out this interesting column about the difference between despair and depression and how Kierkegaard would be completely angry at society for trying to get rid of despair; it's interesting.)
After wrestling the batter into the pan, bake for at least 75 minutes. I've made this cake a bunch and almost always take it out of the oven before it's done and then the center is too gooey. Do the whole toothpick-inserted-in-center-comes-out-clean thing, and accept the fact that you may have to bake it for 90 minutes.
If you undercook it, I've found that slicing the cake and then baking the slices individually produces fantastic results, and even more crustiness. Also, this makes it easy to freeze slices individually so that one morning when you wake up and think about having a fantastic breakfast, but all you have is Grape Nuts and that's not going to cut it, you can pop one into the microwave and then toaster and pat yourself on the back for being such an excellent planner.
Also, about toasting the walnuts: I did it in the microwave. Yes! Turned out fine! I started out with 2 minutes on high, then stirred, another minute on high, another stir, one more minute, and then they were just barely overtoasted.
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