I’ve been enjoying watching Working Class Foodie, a Web Show on Hungry Nation that features Rebecca and Max, two siblings with “a love of cooking and eating” who create simple meals using seasonal, local ingredients for under $8 a serving.
Their traditional apple cake recipe is a perfect example of simply delicious food. It’s your basic Jewish Apple Cake made from a recipe Rebecca and Max got from their aunt Tracy, who prefaced her recipe with these words to her niece and nephew – “Don’t mess it up!”
This recipe differs from others apple cake recipes I’ve seen in several ways – First the ratio of sugar to flour is almost 1:1. Other recipes I’ve seen have about a 2:3 proportion, making this cake considerably on the sweeter side. Perhaps to balance out the sugar, there’s a heck of a lot of cinnamon – 2 tbsp to be exact, compared to 2 tsp in most other traditional apple cake recipes. (Not to worry, it doesn’t overpower.) In many ways, the batter reminded me of the Commissary Carrot Cake
(one of my fave cakes of all time – I’ll make and post it for you someday), and indeed when I checked that recipe, the proportions of eggs, flour, sugar and oil were almost identical.
The recipe gives the option of of using either white or brown sugar – I decided to go half and half with each. It also offers the choice of apple chunks or layered slices – I went with the chunks, since that’s how Rebecca does it in her video. I also followed more of a standard approach to combining the ingredients, mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another, then combining them, as opposed to Rebecca’s dump it all in at once approach. It’s just the way I learned to make oil-based cakes.
Mr TBTAM absolutely loved this cake, as did my daughter and her friends. It was moist and flavorful, with a delightfully crispy crust. The cake did fall just a tad away from the crust as it cooled, but the dusting of confectioners sugar hid the unevenness of the top that resulted. The apple chunks were like little pieces of love embedded in sweetness. I have to admit, the cake was a bit sweet for my taste and I enjoyed the more natural sweetness of the apples in contrast to the sugariness of the cake.
I’d like to try this cake with some whole wheat flour substituting for some of the white flour and with a bit less sugar. I’ll bet the whole wheat would play off the apples really well. I think I’ll try it using one of those 2:3 ratio recipes, leave the skins on the apples, slice them paper thin and layer them. There’s a nice Polish Apple Cake recipe in Marlena Spieler’s book Jewish Cooking
that I’ve been wanting to try that fits that bill pretty well.
Rebecca and Max make their Aunt Tracy’s Apple Cake.