Monday, September 19, 2011

Amen Farms Apple Cake

Slice of Cake with Whipped Cream and Apple Slice Garnish
Apple Cake with Apples and Whipped Cream

Recipe from Cooking by the Seasons by Karri Ann Allrich

I’ve been trying for several years to recreate my grandmother’s apple cake, a yellow cake with sliced apples and cinnamon on top. By the time I thought to ask her for a recipe, she was in her 80s and had started using a packaged cake mix with her apple topping. I’ve been trying to get the cake right for about 30 years. Luckily, our apple tree is giving me plenty of raw material to work with. In the meantime, I tried this fabulous and easy recipe for inspiration. [Update 2012: success! Gram’s Apple Cake here.]

For inspiration, I tried the Amen Farms Apple Cake from Karri Ann Allrich’s fantastic cookbook Cooking by the Seasons: Simple Vegetarian Feasts. This cookbook features recipes for all seasons, and every one I’ve tried is absolutely delicious. Karri Ann states that “one of my oldest and dearest friends contributed this recipe for old-fashioned apple cake.” It’s moist and light because of the eggs and the chopped apples, and not overly sweet.

Bags of Evaporated Cane Juice and Mascobado
Apples and Alternative Sugars
I substituted evaporated cane juice (raw sugar) for the white sugar and unrefined mascobado (raw golden sugar) for the brown. Nonfat yogurt worked fine, no need to add fat there. I didn’t use the nuts, but did make my grandmother’s traditional topping of real whipped cream. We garnished the cake with a sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. Karri Ann points out that it’s perfect with coffee and good conversation, which we found to be true (with tea as well as coffee) at a recent potluck.

Karri Ann doesn’t tell us the story of Amen Farms, but “Amen” can be translated as “so be it,” and is considered a universal affirmation. Paramahansa Yogananda suggested that the Hindu word “Om” is derived from the same root word as “Amen,” and that this in fact is the “Word” from the beginning of the bible, the universal sound that has existed for all time.  “Amen” to this cake and its classic ingredients. Enjoy!

Whole Apple Cake on Cake Plate Surrounded by Apple Slices
Apple Cake Bound for Potluck
Amen Farms Apple Cake
serves 6 - 8

3 cups unbleached flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
3 free range eggs
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups chopped, peeled apples
1 cup walnuts (optional)
Garnishes (optional): Whipped cream, sliced apple with cinnamon-sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a bundt pan or 9 x 13-inch cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sifted flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk in white and brown sugars.

Beat eggs with whisk. Beat in oil, yogurt, and vanilla until smooth. Stir into dry ingredients.

Fold in chopped apples, and nuts if using. Pour into pan and bake 50 min – 1 hour for bundt pan, or 40 – 45 minutes for rectangular pan. Cool on wire rack.

Turn cake out onto serving plate.

Eat as is or garnish with sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, and or whipped cream.

Unbaked Cake in Bundt Pan
Ready to Bake

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