Apple Cake

from The Boston Globe

Butter or spray (for the pan)

Flour (for the pan)

1 cup canola, or other neutral-flavored oil oil

4 eggs

¼ cup orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ 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)

Preheat the oven to 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 (3 tablespoons) of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and add one-third more batter, and the remaining apples.
  6. Sprinkle on 1 tablespoon of the remaining cinnamon-sugar. Cover with the remaining batter, smooth the top (it may not cover the apples; that’s OK), and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of 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.

Notes:

  • 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.

Adapted from “The Way We Cook”