3/4 cup (75 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans
1 pound (454 grams) apples (about 3 large)
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cup (195 grams) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup (50 grams) raisins
1/3 cup (85 grams) apricot preserves or jam
Apple Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan and then line with parchment paper or wax paper.
Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack and then coarsely chop.
Peel, core, and chop the apples into bite-sized pieces. Toss with 1 - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk and beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the chopped nuts, raisins, and chopped apples.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 - 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
While the cake is still warm, prepare the glaze. Place the apricot jam or preserves in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until liquid. Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Alternatively, place the apricot jam or preserves in a small bowl and heat in the microwave. Using a pastry brush, spread the warmed preserves over the apple cake.
Serve warm with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Reheat before serving.
Makes about 9 servings.
An Apple Cake is the perfect Fall dessert, with its chunks of apples, nuts, and raisins, all wrapped in a cinnamon-laced batter. This cake is best served warm from the oven with a dollop of softly whipped cream, a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, or with a little heavy cream poured over the top. Absolutely delicious.
I like the process of making an Apple Cake. I like gathering all the ingredients together and laying them out in neat piles on the kitchen counter. First there is the mound of peeled and chopped apples, tossed with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Next to the apples is a pile of plump dark raisins and a pile of chopped walnuts or pecans, all brown and aromatic from being toasted in the oven. Once that is done I pull out the mixer and start making the cake batter. I carefully measure all the dry ingredients and place them, one by one, into the mixing bowl. A quick whirl blends them together. Then I add the melted butter, vanilla extract, eggs, and milk and beat until a soft and creamy batter is formed. All that is left is to fold in the chopped apples, chopped nuts, and raisins. Once the batter is poured into the cake pan and placed in the oven, the waiting begins. I first wait for the scents of cinnamon and apple to fill the kitchen and then I wait for the apple cake to rise and turn a beautiful golden brown. When it is firm to my finger's touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of the Apple Cake is free of crumbs, I pull it from the oven. But my job is not done. While the cake is still warm, I like to spread an apricot glaze over the cake. The glaze gives the Apple Cake a lovely sheen, plus it adds a little more flavor to the cake. If I am hungry, I often sneak a small slice, pouring just a little heavy cream over the top as I love how the cream soaks into the cake.
Of course, use locally grown apples in this cake if you have them but year round favorites like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Braeburns, and McIntosh, to name a few, are also excellent. Besides apples, this cake contains raisins and chopped pecans or walnuts. Dark or golden raisins can be used, as both dark and golden raisins are simply dried Thompson seedless grapes. The difference is that dark raisins are sun dried which gives them that dark shriveled appearance, whereas golden raisins are treated with sulfur dioxide first to prevent them from turning dark and then air dried to keep them a golden yellow color. Walnuts or pecans can be used in this cake and I like to first toast the nuts in the oven as this brings out their lovely flavor.