Monday, November 14, 2011

Washington Apple Cake

There are dozens of recipes for "Washington Apple Cake" out there, but this one is special for a couple of reasons. The first is that the recipe for this cake was handed down to me from my Great-Grandmother (whom I believe discovered it in the newspaper). The second is that it contains a lot more (and different) spices than most apple cakes! Most ask for no more than two teaspoons of cinnamon, whereas this recipe calls for two tablespoons, plus a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. The cinnamon might seem excessive when you are making the cake (the batter is practically red, and the cake IS red when you take it out of the oven). But the apple/cinnamon/nutmeg combination actually produces a mild cinnamon flavour once it has been baked (I can't stand things that have heavy-handed flavours, so trust me when I say it's not spicy!). The cake is perfectly moist and topped with a delectable caramel frosting. A wonderful treat for a chilly fall evening!

Washington Apple Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 - 2 c. sugar
2 eggs

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 T cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
6 large apples - 3-4 cups diced (peeled)
2 tsp. vanilla

Oven 350 degrees 35 min. (That's all my great-grandmother wrote, but I would recommend baking until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, which is about 40 minutes).

Caramel Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 T evaporated milk
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Mix in small saucepan and heat lightly to just melt butter. Mix until sugar dissolves. Add enough confectioners sugar to make consistency right for spreading.

Those are the directions that came with the recipe. You will notice there are no directions provided for the cake - I think my great grandmother expected you to know how to mix a cake! Personally, I always prepare my wet ingredients and dry ingredients seperately and then add the dry ingredients to the wet in my mixer.

I find it really funny that she equates 6 large apples with 3 cups of diced apples! Today's apples are much, much larger than they were 100 years ago.(it reminds me of recipes from the colonial period, where they tell you to use 1/2 dozen eggs when three would do today - eggs were a lot smaller then!). For this recipe, I used 4 galas, which equaled about four cups when finely diced. Also, I would add that you can safely increase the amount of apples in the cake up to 4-5 cups. If you are using apples from your own orchard, then it will probably take six!

I made this cake for tea last week, and my oldest daughter (who just turned two) had a wonderful time eating cake and drinking tea from real teacups. This was her first tea party, and she clearly felt like quite the little grown-up!


acornmoon said...

Does it taste better when served on Spode Blue?

Anonymous said...

It looks delicious. I just copied the recipe. I've never made caramel frosting. That was my mother's gift so I am looking forward to trying it. Thanks.

And yes, I bet it does taste better on blue and white dishes!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

OMG! MARGARET DEAREST! Hello, HELLO! It has been a long time since I have seen you but LOOK! LOOK! You have been busy! Oh.....she is darling, and you must be having FUN just holding her in your arms!

Thank you for taking the time to come and visit me! I send you greetings of joy and friendship and blessings of sweet motherhood.....BISOUS! Anita

Thorsprincess said...

Oh, Margaret!

I have a confession... Years ago, when I re-copied the recipe,I wrote a capital "T" over the small one, changing the recipe to call for two tablespoons. As you know, your mother does like spice! The original actually only called for 2 teaspoons, and I thought it needed a boost!

From the picture, I think the cake must taste much better on your beautiful Spode.

This is my favorite cake--I always asked for it on my October birthday. It is also delicious when made with pumpkin! Momma

Margaret said...

@acornmoon - Yes! Lol. I think everything tastes better on blue and white ;)

@melinda belle - I hope you like it. The caramel frosting really is to die for!

@castles crowns and cottages - Thank you for stopping by, Anita! I had such a great time visiting your blog the other day. It really is a little oasis!

@thorsprincess - That was a sly trick! Well, I must say the 2 T was a clever move. It's delicious and not at all too spicy. I remember making it for your birthday almost every year! I don't think I've ever tried it with pumpkin though. Sounds delicious!

Jessica said...

I have several recipe cards that my mom wrote out & the instructions assume that the reader knows how to cook or bake! One recipe didn't state how long to bake carrot cake or what temperature, etc... :)

Thanks for the apple cake recipe, I may make it tonite!

Margaret said...

@Jessica - Old recipes are so funny that way. The worst part is, I frequently find ones I've written where I'm pretty much guilty of the same thing (i.e., lists of ingredients with no directions). Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you love enjoy the apple cake!