‘Tis the gift to be simple

This humble, 2”x 4” piece is all that remains of the full 12″x 16” apple cake I baked yesterday. It was, I am pleased to announce, the easiest cake I’ve ever made, and quite possibly, the most delicious apple cake I’ve ever encountered. I found the recipe in a Shaker cookbook, which makes sense. Humble, simple, perfect in its simplicity, it exemplifies Shaker cooking, which the cookbook describes as “plain, wholesome food well prepared.”

I must admit, I was doubtful at first: “Is that all I have to do?” Which was soon followed by, “How is this little bit of batter going to fill up this huge pan?” Well, it did fit, just at the bottom, after I scraped it around to fill in the gaps and made sure it was even. Be sure to scrape the cracklings – the sugary crust – off the bottom and the sides, when serving. It’s the best part.

Dutch Apple Cake from Shaker Your Plate: Of Shaker Cooks and Cooking by Sister Frances A. Carr

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup milk

2 cups flour

2 heaping teaspoons baking powder

4 apples (the recipe calls for 6 –8, although I’m stumped as to how to squeeze in that many onto the batter PLEASE NOTE: I just made the cake and could only squeeze two apples onto the batter. My advice is to go halve by halve.)

½ cup butter or margarine, melted

½ to ¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the sugar, eggs, milk, flour and baking powder together. Pour mixture in a 12” x 16” pan. Pare and slice the apples. Lay them on the cake batter real [sic] closely together. Pour the melted butter over all and sprinkle the sugar which has been combined with the cinnamon. Bake until apples are tender. This should take about 30 – 35 minutes.

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5 thoughts on “‘Tis the gift to be simple

  1. Molly this looks excellent and the kind of thing my kids could do with me. Perfect for the slew of apples we picked a couple of weekends ago. Incidentally, maybe the apples were smaller which is why the recipe called for more. Best, Valerie

    • Hi Val,
      Thanks so much for reading and for your terrific comment. I just saw a similar comment on Facbeook; someone saw the recipe and immediately made it with their young daughter. I’m going to have to keep in mind the idea of kid-friendly dishes. I love the idea of children helping their parents out in the kitchen — my parents were big believers in it, which I think helped foster my own enthusiasm for cooking and baking.

  2. There is nothing that says Fall like a nice warm apple pie. I have found a great way to make this all time favorite even better. Personal peices of pie:) All you do is make your pie as normal but instead of it getting put into a pan to bake you simply put the shell and stuffing into a cupcake pan. Only 6 are allowed at a time for spill over. This way there is no cutting and everyone gets just the right size/hand held peice of apple pie:) Or any other treat you don’t want to spend time cutting!

  3. Thank you for your post, I was sad that my family was not able to make it to the apple orchard this year. Instead I ended up buying one of the bags and using that to do some baking. This years apple treat was apple /oatmeal cookies..I think they would have done better if I put in some walnuts though. Either way they were a good treat to add to the pile of recipies:)

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