This rainy fall weekend called for making one of my all-time favorite cakes. My grandmother used to make this for every holiday. When I was in college, I’d often find it in care packages, carefully wrapped in cling film and tried with a bow. Despite my affection for this cake, I had a hard time tracking down the recipe, but finally found it in one of my grandmother’s old cookbooks. This recipe has all of hallmarks of the 1950s church cookbook that included it. It uses a somewhat clever method to create a liquid for the batter. It uses ingredients that everyone would have at their pantries. And, finally, the original recipe is attributed to Fern Pieratt -- who I imagine was the church’s favorite grandmother and brought this cake to every potluck.
In addition to reviving a classic recipe, this cake tastes like fall should taste. We used golden delicious and winesap apples from Reece Orchards in north Georgia. Fresh apples (which my grandmother certainly never had on the plains of New Mexico) impart a strong apple flavor, and there’s just a hint of fall spices. This cake also has a great texture. The apples keep their shape and become just cooked, like apple pie. Pecans give a bit of crunch into the cake’s very moist crumb.
Even if you don’t have the luxury of fresh-picked apples, this cake is delightful. It’s easy to make and keeps well. Enjoy!
Granny’s Apple Cake
For the apples
4 cups peeled, diced apples
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup roasted pecans, chopped
For the batter
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
- Mix the apples, sugar, and pecans. Let this mixture stand at room temperature for at least an hour, stirring often. The sugar will draw liquid out of the apples so that, in the end, the mixture will be a bit soupy.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Fold this into the apple mixture.
- Add the oil, vanilla, and eggs. Stir this by hand. (Fran cautions against using a mixer.)
- Pour this into a buttered, floured angel food cake pan or bundt pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.