Next stop on our cooking-through-food-rules journey is Rule #2: Don’t Eat Anything Your Great Grandmother Wouldn’t Recognize as Food. (Or your grandmother. depending on your age!) My great grandmother wasn’t necessarily the healthiest of cooks; she lived in a time when Crisco was considered healthier than butter. Nevertheless, she did make delicious, nourishing food (mostly from scratch) for anyone lucky enough to have a seat at her table. For this rule, I thought it would be fun to share her recipe—handed down by her mother—for Fresh Apple Cake.
My great grandmother Ruby’s food is woven through my culinary heritage. In a way, she taught me how to cook. When my mom married my dad, the first meal she cooked for him was black and bloody fried chicken, which prompted my dad to gently suggest she spend some time in the kitchen with Ruby. So she did, and my mom eventually became a wonderful cook and got me started in the kitchen.
My dad grew up spending his summers on the farm, herding cows and baling hay with his grandfather. He reverently remembers the huge, midday dinners she’d make (supper was in the evening), how they’d come inside to escape the heat of the day and how he’d never tasted anything so good.
Both my mom and my dad speak of how disciplined Ruby was: she had Type I diabetes and couldn’t enjoy most of the desserts she made (her pies, goodness gracious), but she took joy in serving them (generously!) to us. Ruby is the reason “sliver” is in my dessert-serving vocabulary—you had to ask for a sliver, unless you wanted to end up with a quarter of the pie on your plate.
Speaking of what great-grandmother passed down, I have a gut feeling she’s the reason I love being barefoot outside.
So, back to this apple cake. Guys. It’s so good, even if you over-bake it, which I’m pretty sure I’ve done every time I’ve made it. The cake does bake a while, but it’s quick to throw together. It also makes the perfect wintry treat (a treat you should probably have for breakfast the following morning).
You’re going to love this Fresh Apple Cake because it’s:
- Filled with fruit
- Super spiced
- Not too sweet!
Let me know how you like it! Maybe snap a pic and tag me @katielepine, too? Use the hashtag #eatingfoodrules as you follow along.
- 3 cups chopped apples (I like to use Pink Lady)
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup canola oil, coconut oil, or butter
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (1 for the cake and 1 for the icing)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons hot water or coffee
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your baking pan. I've used a 9 x 13 and a larger round cake pan. Both work well!
- Start by chopping the apples, then add the wet ingredients.
- Give the mixture a few stirs, then add the dry ingredients (I always do heaping teaspoons, when it comes to the spices).
- Mix and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, mix up the icing. My favorite version is 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup maple syrup, and 2 tablespoons coffee.
- Poke holes in the baked cake and pour the icing on top while it's piping hot.
- Serve plain, or top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon!