In my family, we all make this cake so much, as it is so versatile. I know the recipe like the back of my hand. We’ve made some changes over the years, like substituting the white flour for almond flour. Why add the empty calories when you can add protein-rich almonds? Besides, it makes the cake much more moist and flavorful. Also, we cut down the sugar. Waaay. And swapped white for brown sugar, because not only is it healthier, the apples like it better. Is ¼ cup of sugar in an entire cake too little for you? We think it’s perfect, but up it if you like.
Start this cake with your favorite apples. It’s the season! For us, the tarter the better. We choose Pink Lady or Green Apples, but there are so many varietals that will work. Another key adaptation of this traditional recipe — leave the apple skins on. They look pretty, have key nutrients, give the cake a great texture, plus you don’t have to peel apples. We call that a 4-point win! Just core and slice the apples in a pretty fashion (in half, in half again, and one more time make even eighths).
Key to the success and texture of the cake is to cream the butter and sugar well. Stand mixers are bomb.com. Be patient, scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times, and get that butter nice and fluffy. The rest of the cake assembles super-fast, so take your time with this step (only).
The most wonderful thing about the artisan cake is that it needs no layering, frosting or any of that faff. A sprinkle of powdered sugar on the top and you’ve got a mouth-watering treat, especially if you serve it still warm from the oven. A dollop of whipped cream takes it over the top, you should go for it. And a nice cup of tea.
Sometimes I don’t want a whole cake sitting around our household of 2 — I’ll end up eating the whole thing. So I third the recipe and use a small cake pan. It fits in the toaster oven, so I just bake in there. And then my little cutie has a super-cute after school treat! (With a small slice for me, done and done.)
My Mom’s Apple Cake
makes one 8-inch cake
1 stick butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 your favorite apples, cored and sliced into 8ths
a sprinkling of sliced almonds (or walnuts), if desired
Preheat the oven to 350°F & line an 8-inch cake pan bottom with parchment.
Cream together the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or eggbeaters, until the butter is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Mix together the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon. Crack the eggs into a small bowl or jug and lightly beat.
Add the egg mixture and the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar in 2 stages: first, add about half the eggs and mix until incorporated, then half of the flour and mix. Repeat.
Put the cake batter into the prepared pan, and top with sliced apples. The batter will rise and spread, “nesting” the apples in the cake. Scatter the top with nuts and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and the edges are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Allow the cake to cool (even just slightly!) before serving with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream, sweetened with vanilla bean paste, powdered sugar and a splash of booze (either cognac, brandy, whiskey — all work a charm).