It's not fall, but apples are busting out all over the local supermarkets. Time for a very special apple cake!
For this month's Secret Recipe Club I have the honor of selecting and making a recipe from Grandma Loy's Kitchen.
Grandma Loy is a 70-something wife for 50 years, mother and grandmother. Besides cooking, she also enjoys knitting, sewing and quilting. We have a common interests in that we both read cookbooks like novels, love to experiment in the kitchen and spend way too much time reading blogs.
As you would expect from a grandma who cooks, Grandma Loy has a long list of delicious recipes.
Such as her version of an upside-down cake she calls Topsy Turvy Apple Cake. Luscious thin slices of apple tossed in cinnamon-sugar, then baked underneath a nut-studded yellow cake. Cut, flip and serve with the apples on top. Grandma Loy suggests serving the cake warmed in the microwave, but I served it at room temperature to friends and they loved it as is. Speaking of heating up, this past week the intertubes were ablaze with upside-down cakes and casseroles so it's nice that I'm on the leading edge for a change.
It really has been awhile since I made a cake. The last month or so I've been testing and tweaking salads and dressings for a Superfood Salad program at the local library that I've been too busy to make a cake even for my own birthday. But this apple cake looked so good (and does contain superfood-type nuts) I figured I can get away with a little bit of dietary cheating.
Anyway, getting back to the cake. I've had many an upside-down cake with whole nuts halves first placed on the bottom of the pan, becoming the top of the finished cake, so it's a very nice look and mouth-feel difference here incorporating chopped nuts into the batter itself. Speaking of looks, it is very important for the look of the served cake that all you see is a lovely layer of soft caramelized apples with no cake peeking out. The apple slices thus have to completely cover the bottom of the baking dish ... no cheating. If you own a mandoline or or handy enough with a knife to slice the apples super thin, you can get away with using only 4 apples, otherwise you might need up as many as 6. I used 5. Dee-licious!
Topsy Turvy Apple Cake
Adapted from: Grandma Loy's Kitchen
Yield: one 9 x 13 inch cake (12 to 15 servings)
Note: If desired, warm individual servings in the microwave at 100% power for about 30 seconds.
4-6 medium MacIntosh (or your favorite baking) apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, chopped (see here how to toast 'em)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with the slices apples in a single layer (to be sure you sliced up enough).
Transfer apples to a large mixing bowl. Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl, then add to the apples, tossing gently to coat evenly.
Wipe the baking dish dry, then spritz evenly with the cooking spray. Return apple slices to baking dish, spreading them again into a single layer. Set aside.
Combine flour and remaining 3/4 cup sugar and baking powder in a small mixing bowl. Pour vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring cup. Add eggs; beat until well mixed. Use a spatula or large spoon to fold egg mixture into flour mixture just until incorporated.
Gently stir in pecans or walnuts.
Spoon batter onto the apples. Carefully spread batter out with the spatula until apples are evenly covered as much as possible.
Bake at 350F about 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Cut into squares, carefully flipping each serving onto dessert plates so that the apple side faces up. Serve warm or at room temperature.