This fall, we received countless calls from from friends and neighbors with way too many apples on their hands. While we strongly believe in sourcing as much as we can locally, we were scratching our heads trying to figure out how to make the time and space to take them all in. Especially since we’d already processed 1500 pounds of fresh peaches and 100 pounds of tart cherries and put away four trees worth of plums from our farm. Fruitapalooza!
But when a good friend of Ginger and Baker called us and said her apple tree (named “Ima Good”) was being particularly prolific, we couldn’t pass up the chance and headed to her property. We filled case after case with some of the best apples we’d ever seen! It took several trips and many hands to make a dent in the the bumper crop that Ima Good produced.
With so many apples on our hands, we had to come up with creative ways to use them. We made loads of applesauce, pie filling (naturally), apple muffins, apple cocktails and apple cakes. We even tried our first attempt at apple cider!
So in honor of autumn windfalls, I’d like to offer you a classic old recipe for apple cake from a classic old-time baker. Don’t worry, it comes with a back story. 😉
My friend and fellow chef, Dacia, comes from a long line of good Southern cooks. Her grandmother, Opal Lee (Meemoe to her family), was famous for her cakes and it is said she made a fresh cake every day and almost never repeated her recipes until the next year. In my book, this feat alone makes her a world-class cake expert.
A few years ago, I asked Dacia for one of Meemoe’s best apple cake recipes, and boy did she come through! I was given permission to print this recipe and I am thrilled to share it with you. This cake has love baked into every bite
If so inclined, you may serve the cake in any of the ways suggested at the end of the recipe, although that butterscotch sauce is a winner in my book. This recipe makes several cakes, so you may want to cut it in half or make the full recipe and freeze the extra cakes – they do freeze really well. To freeze, triple wrap in plastic wrap and store up to 2 months.
Thanks Meemoe and Dacia!
Opal Lee’s Apple Cake with Real Scotch Butterscotch
Makes one 13×9 plus one 9-inch round cake or one loaf pan or 12 cupcakes
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
4 1/2 cups sliced apples, peeled or unpeeled
4 tsp. baking soda
3 sticks butter, (1 1/2 cups)
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temp
2 cups raisins or dates (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup nuts, chopped or ground
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour pans.
In a medium bowl combine: flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside. In another bowl, prepare apples and toss with baking soda. Set aside.
(Note: This recipe makes a large amount of batter, so this is where you need a large bowl.) Cream butter and sugar using a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, alternating with flour mixture. When eggs and flour are completely incorporated, add vanilla, then apples, raisin/dates and nuts (if using).
Pour batter into prepared pans, filling 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean.
13×9 pan: 40-50 minutes
9-inch round or square pan; 35-45 minutes
Loaf pan: 40-50 minutes
Muffins: Begin checking at 20-25 minutes
Meemoe would spread salted butter over the hot cake and serve it warm. Or, you can dust with powdered sugar, or when it’s hot out of the oven, drizzle with Real Scotch Butterscotch sauce and serve extra on the side.
Real Scotch Butterscotch Sauce
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. corn syrup, agave nectar or honey
1 pinch of sea salt
3 Tbsp. scotch whiskey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, butter, cream, corn syrup and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (as the sauce cooks, the boiling mixture will develop larger “bubbles” as the liquid evaporates. When this happens check to see if the sauce will coat the back of the spoon, if it does, then you are ready for the next step).
When caramel sauce coats the back of the spoon, stir in scotch and vanilla. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool. Have a few spoons ready… it’s THAT good. Sauce will last for 2 weeks in refrigerator. Warm gently before serving.