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Saturday, September 19, 2015

A is for Apple Cake

Fresh Apple Cake made last week from my mother-in-law Mary's recipe,
topped with a nasturtium from our garden box.
I have 15 more minutes to wait while the grated apples meld with the sugar. I grated fruit H. grew on our tree this year; apples found on an old Cape Cod trail; and two big Honeycrisps from Kings. You use the peel and all, so I like that. But apples and sug have to rest for 30 minutes total.

This time my mother-in-law Mary's Fresh Apple Cake recipe is in use for H.'s Free School of Bergen County reunion tomorrow on the cool dairy farm owned by his fellow Free Schoolers, Jonathan and Nina. They all call the place they went to a hippie school.

Here is the recipe Mary Hurley has mastered for her family's birthday and holiday celebrations. [She just made it for Figgy's birthday. Fig was vegan for half the week, so could eat it.] Mary has lived up in the Bangor area since the 1970s.

This is a recipe I cut out of a newspaper many, many years ago. It took first prize in an apple contest. For 12 small servings, use an 8" square pan and follow this recipe. But I usually double the recipe, using a 13" x 9" pan. Everyone loves taking a piece home if there are any leftovers! My son John likes to bring treats to his painters, too.

2 cups coarsely grated apples, unpeeled (about 4 medium)
Use Gala, Golden Delicious (nothing too juicy,) and those promoted for baking*
1 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup cooking oil (canola or vegetable)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 scant tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
  1. Blend sugar with grated apples. Let stand 30 mins.
  2. Add beaten egg, oil and vanilla to apple and sugar mixture. Add all dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  3. Bake in a greased pan in a preheated 350 oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Check for doneness after 35 mins. Don't forget the batter is pretty juicy, so consider that when testing.
  4. Optional--frost it. But I always do. Cream cheese frosting** seems to work best. Wait till cake is cool. I carefully invert the cake onto a platter (perfect plastic size at our local dollar store, for one dollar). Kids love this as a cupcake recipe, using mini tins, if you wish. The cake does take a while to make and frost, as you will discover!
Tomorrow should be fun! H. has been planning the reunion with Jonathan and his other old friends. These are kids who grew up in the Teaneck, NJ area and chose to go to this alternative high school known as "Free School." My H. went for three years, and then he got his G.E.D. and went to college. He has worked hard to become a successful writer. He is self-made, and I'm proud of him.

But it's hot, hot in the kitchen, and I can't wait to get this baby in the pan and in and out of the oven.

I need to rest. We are leaving early in the morning.

Good night, godspeed to us all.

*I have so far found that any apple variety works.. --Alice
**I like this reduced-quantity version of Ina Garten's cream cheese frosting from Barefoot Contessa Parties!, copyright 2001. It's the first Ina book I ever bought. Soften 1 stick butter and 6 oz. cream cheese at room temp. Beat with electric mixer to blend. Add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and enough confectioners' sugar to make a sweetened frosting. H. thought I used too much sugar in the frosting last time. So I am going to go by eye and taste tomorrow morning. He also asked me to reduce the sugar in the cake, so instead of the full two cups for a doubled recipe, I used about 1.5 cups.

  1. Applied concealer and mascara.
  2. Good dental care.
  3. Went to support group.
  4. Enlisted teen baby sitter to watch Punchy for 3 hours so I could walk to town for the annual sidewalk sale. In peace.
  5. On the way home, sat and visited with my friends/neighbors Claire and Patrick and their baby girl on their lovely front porch. 

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