Yesterday, the temperature topped out around here at 86 degrees, F. The humidity was so high that when I stepped outside from my air conditioned digs, my sunglasses promptly fogged right up, forcing me to stumble my way to my car. That’s muggy, people! Now I ask you – is that any way for Autumn to behave? It’s almost November, for crying out loud!
One of the few clues that that it is indeed Fall exists in the produce aisle of my local supermarket. The presence of orange-fleshed squash, crisp, juicy apples and those cheesy, fake “Autumn” leaves are my telltale signs that the season has changed. Even then, it’s hard to shift seasonal gears when the store is flooded with tourists in swimsuits, Bermuda shorts and guayabera shirts .
I compensate by turning my a/c down really low and padding around the house in sweaters and big, wooly socks. Pathetic, isn’t it? Another way I console myself about this situation is to cook and bake warm, spicy things, using many of the aforementioned Fall fruits and vegetables. This lovely apple cake is one of them.
I first saw this cake on the Smitten Kitchen  web site last year. I was immediately drawn to Deb’s photo of her chunky, cinnamony, appley creation and I knew I had to make it. Afterward, as my cake sat on the counter cooling, I marveled at its burnished, rustic beauty and reveled in its heady aroma which reminded me of hot spiced apple cider. Being the impatient person that I am, I couldn’t wait to take a bite and tried to separate the cake from its pan before its time. I ended up with this:
Yes, people, there really is a reason why they tell you to wait until a cake is completely cooled before attempting to remove it from the pan.
Even though it fell apart, it was still a damn delicious cake, so yesterday I decided it deserved another try.
I used a combination of Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious and Fuji apples…..
…..and lots of cinnamon!
After the cake was baked, I forced myself to wait until it was completely cooled before unmolding it. That was the hardest part!
My patience was rewarded. This time, I had a gorgeous cake – all in one piece.
Look at all those lovely, gooey, caramelized apple chunks and specks of cinnamon!
Aren’t you jealous? Don’t you want to run into your kitchen right now and make this cake? It is sooooo good!
So, what are you waiting for? Here’s the recipe. Go forth and bake!
Deb’s Mom’s Apple Cake
from Smitten Kitchen 
6 apples (Deb’s mom uses McIntosh apples. I used a combination of Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious and Fuji)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
- Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of the apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.
- Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.