Although my preference is always for chocolate desserts, lately I have been fantasizing about an apple bundt cake. I’d had this cake once when my husband and I were visiting his grandparents, Fran and Joe, in their stylishly modern and thoroughly spotless apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side many years ago. I liked it so much that I’d asked Grandma Fran for the recipe which I then jotted down in a little spiral-bound notebook I keep for just such occasions.
Fran’s cooking reminded me a lot of my own Grandma Mary’s repertoire — simple, nourishing and delicious. Perhaps this holds true for all Jewish women who were raised in Brooklyn during the Depression era? Regardless, you could tell that both of these ladies had been cooking for a long time — I never experienced a single culinary failure in either of their small, immaculate kitchens.
Below is the simple recipe. I left out both the walnuts (because my husband dislikes them) and the raisins (because we both dislike them in baked goods) but feel free to add them in or not as you see fit. This is a very easy dessert–the most time-consuming piece is preparing the apples and even that is not bad at all. It also happens to be a completely dairy-free dessert if you are lactose-challenged.
Fran’s Apple Bundt Cake
- 2 cups flour plus a little more for the cake release
- 2 tsps baking soda
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 free range, organic eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large organic apples, peeled and cut into small pieces (1/2 inch or so)
- 1 tsp lemon zest (try to use an organic lemon)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- A handful of raisins or currants (optional)
- A little butter for greasing the bundt pan (you can use a cooking spray if you’re trying to avoid lactose)
1. Preheat oven to 370 F. Sift dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and then add the oil, sugar, vanilla, apples, lemon zest, walnuts and raisins (if you’re using raisins and nuts.) Mix well and then add the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.
3. Butter the bundt pan thoroughly and evenly then pour in a few teaspoons of flour and roll the pan around over the sink to coat the surface evenly with the flour. Once it’s well-coated with flour, turn the pan upside-down over the sink and rap the pan with your knuckles to remove any excess flour–this is called a “cake release” and will help prevent the cake from sticking to the pan once it’s cooked.
4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until tested done. To test for doneness, stick either a clean sharp knife or a bamboo skewer, etc., in–if it comes out clean, the cake is done, if any batter clings to it, it needs more time.
5. Let cool then remove from pan by turning upside down on a plate or platter and rapping it with your knuckles, hopefully it should slide right out onto the plate. Then dust the cake with either confectioners sugar or cinnamon sugar and serve. Goes nicely with some ice cream or whipped cream.
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