Apples are everywhere right now.  If you’re lucky enough to live near an apple orchard, you can pick your own.  Or, even just for a fun outing, you can go there, with the apples already picked for you, and you can enjoy some great, freshly pressed apple cider.  Even better, hold out for some cider donuts. A cider donut is truly a religious experience.

If you’re anywhere near Western Mass, go to Atkin’s Farms for their apples and donuts.  Or, go a bit west, to Belchertown, to Cold Spring Orchard, which is part of UMass/Amherst, and check out their apples and pears.  Cold Spring has some experimental varieties that you won’t find anywhere else.  But their pears are the best I’ve had in years.  Usually, even at high-end markets, the pears are from Washington, and are picked when they’re not quite ripe.  By the time we get them, they’re still so firm that you can chip a tooth on them.  Then, there seems to be a one-day window of opportunity for ripeness.  Then they turn to mush.  So, like all things local, go grab some fresh pears.  Like tomatoes and corn, they’re only around for a short while.


And if you’re looking for some recipes, not only is a cobbler always welcomed, but so is an apple cake.  Sure, the summer fruit is now in our rear view mirrors.  But the ones we have now are great.


See you in the orchards!

Apple and Cranberry Cobbler

8-10 golden delicious apples, peeled and cut into 8 wedges

1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon tapioca

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sifted flour

¼ cup oatmeal, ground in a food processor

Preheat the oven to 350°.

  1. Combine the first seven ingredients, and place into a 9”x13” baking dish.
  2. With your hands, or a pastry cutter, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and oatmeal, until the butter is the size of small peas.  Sprinkle this over the apple mixture.
  3. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the apples are cooked through, and the mixture is bubbling.

Serve with vanilla ice cream (a classic!) or a wedge of cheddar cheese (a New England classis!).


Makes 8+ servings


Apple Cake

Butter (for the pan)

Flour (for the pan)

1 cup canola oil

4 eggs

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 baking apples (Golden Delicious, Cortland, Baldwin, Mutsu, Northern Spy, Opalescent, Rhode Island Greening, Rome Beauty, Spigold), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon mixed with 5 tablespoons granulated sugar

Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

Set the oven at 350º

  1. Butter a 10-inch tube pan, line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit it, and butter the paper. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. In an electric mixer, combine the oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat just until smooth again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Spoon one-third of the batter into the pan (barely a layer). Smooth the batter with a metal palette knife or spatula. Gently press half the apples into the batter (you’ll probable have to overlap the layers.  This is fine).
  5. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and add one-third more batter, and the remaining apples.
  6. Sprinkle on all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Cover with batter, smooth the top (it may not cover the apples; that’s OK), and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar.
  7. Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the top is firm and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. With a small knife, cut around the inside and outside edges of the cake to release it from the pan. Turn the cake out onto a plate. Set another plate on top and invert again so the cake is right-side up. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. 


  • The cake batter is dense, so you have to be careful when you spread it.  This is especially true with the 2nd and 3rd additions of the batter, as you want to avoid moving around the 2 layers of sliced apples.  A metal spreader works better than a rubber spatula, as the batter often sticks to the rubber one.
  • It might look like there’s not much batter for a cake, but it does ride quite a bit while baking.
  • This may look like a lot of steps, but it’s really not.  Once you make it, you’ll see how simple it is.