Harvest apple cake a treat from the past
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 09:51
Organizers of Downtown Bowling Green's Farm Fresh Recipe Contest are thrilled with the winner of September's contest for the Downtown Farmers' Market, this month dedicated solely to recipes featuring apples.
|Betty Winslow poses with her Grandma's Harvest Apple Cake. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Betty Winslow's recipe for her Grandma's Harvest Apple Cake "is just the kind of thing I hoped to get when we started the contest," noted DBA's Barbara Ruland.
Winslow got her recipe for the oh-so-moist apple cake from her grandmother Kathryn Whitlock.
"The cake will fill your house with the scent of apples and cinnamon while it's in the oven," she pointed out.
Baking one, Winslow feels, is a wonderful way to celebrate a special occasion or just the arrival of fall.
"This cake is dense and moist and needs no frosting," Winslow added.
"My grandmother served it one Christmas in place of fruitcake and it was a big hit."
In fact, the family unanimously agreed it was going to have to become their clan's new holiday dinner tradition.
Winslow recalls the occasion vividly. She was a 20-year-old recent bride and brand-new mother.
"It was the first Christmas after our first daughter was born. We drove all the way down from Bowling Green to Jacksonville, Florida," where they joined other family members for the final leg to her grandmother's in Tampa.
"My grandma wasn't exactly a great cook; she fried everything," Winslow says, frankly. So the family's response to the harvest apple cake represented a real triumph for her.
Winslow herself definitely knows her way around a kitchen. She is a two-time Cook's Corner feature subject, first for her Christmas meringue cookies in December 2007 and again with her Good Morning Granola in February 2011
She made sure that when the car headed north out of Tampa she was in possession of the cake recipe.
She's made it multiple times in the intervening two decades, and it's one of her "most immediately requested recipes."
Mostly, Winslow serves the cake to her own family. "I haven't made it so much in recent years because of some health issues" that necessitate a stricter diet, but "I actually think I'm going to make it for Christmas this year."
Like most good things, this cake can't be rushed. The prepared apples need to marinate in the refrigerator for several hours to blend the flavors, and Winslow says this can be done overnight. Aside from that time, it takes about half an hour to prepare the recipe and another hour to bake in a medium oven.
Serve the cake as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or breakfast with a little cream cheese.
Winslow emphasizes that there's no need to frost it.
"The only time I ever did frost it was one time I baked it in a Bundt pan without greasing it well enough. You have to grease and flour it really well. It stuck coming out of the pan, so I just scraped out the stuck part, put it in the middle, frosted it with whipped topping and no one ever knew."
The choice of apple will create variations in the flavor of the harvest cake and there are several locally grown apples that will work well.
"If you want to use a tart apple, Doug Haslinger suggests trying Jonathans or Ida Reds, while Fujis are a good choice for a sweeter apple," Ruland noted. "Jonathan and Ida Red apples will probably be coming in late September or early October."
Fuji apples are available now at the Haslinger Orchards booth at the Downtown Farmers' Market.
Winslow herself believes tart apples are "probably a better choice for this cake, since it's already kind of sweet. I think I've used Jonathan apples myself."
For the Winslow clan, the harvest apple cake has replaced fruitcake at Christmas. That's saying something, because they have a tradition of eating really good fruitcake.
"It's Claxton fruitcake, made in Georgia. You can find it up here in the north - last year it was at Walt Churchill's in Perrysburg - and it comes light and dark. But it's really sweet, so you can't eat too much."
For those who opt for harvest apple cake for their own big fall-to-holiday events, Winslow offers one warning.
"Make sure you bake it for at least an hour. Since it's so moist, it's a little harder to tell it's done. The toothpick test may still come out damp."
Final recipe contest
Wednesday at 8 p.m, is the entry deadline for the last recipe contest of the season. Contest entries can feature any of the following produce items whose names start with P: Parsnips, Peppers, Potatoes and Pumpkins. Healthy recipes and those with a uniquely regional character are favored.
Submissions can be made at the Sentinel-Tribune website, on the farm page, http://www.sent-trib.com. Recipes will also be accepted at the newspaper office, 300 E. Poe Road; DBA at 121 E. Wooster, or at the Downtown Farmers' Market. The market is at 201 S. Main and runs from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Grandma's Harvest Apple Cake
4 cup chopped apples
2 cup sugar
2 T. lemon juice
2 t. vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cup all purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
Combine the apples, sugar and lemon juice and let stand overnight or for several hours in the refrigerator.
Sift together all dry ingredients. Beat eggs. Stir together the vanilla and the oil. Stir the eggs and the oil mixture alternately into the sifted ingredients, then stir in un-drained apples and chopped nuts.
Pour into a well-greased and floured 9-by-13-by-2 inch baking pan or Bundt/tube pan. Bake at 350 F. for 1 hour or until done. Let cool in pan, then turn out.
Nutrition analysis based on 12 servings: calories: 378; carbohydrate: 22 g; fat: 16 g; protein: 2 g.