Sunday, May 29, 2011

Two Apple Cakes

Will and Minnie 1912
Minnie’s future husband William emigrated from Germany in the last decade of the 19th century. As a young teenager, he would almost certainly have been conscripted into Kaiser Wilhelm’s army if he had stayed in Germany.

William traveled to America with his elder sister Louisa; they already had other relatives living in the Mohawk Valley, so they planned to join them there. According to family lore, someone stole Louisa’s shoes on board the ship, so she stepped onto American soil for the first time in her bedroom slippers.

The two siblings knew only a few words of English, most notably “apple pie.” In tribute to this most American delicacy, we present here two versions of not pie, but apple cake.

Perhaps Minnie prepared this cake for William and her growing family:

Here are the steps in the order I followed them:

Grease an 8” x 8” baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 F, 325 F if using a glass pan.

Pare and slice the apples. Spread the apple slices in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle half the cinnamon on the apples.

Sift dry ingredients. Cream the butter or margarine; add the beaten egg and vanilla.

Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Spread the batter over the apples and sprinkle on the rest of the cinnamon.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. 

This is similar to the pineapple upside-down cake my Mom used to make, but this one has apples instead. Don't over-bake it or it will be a bit too dry. 

Apple Upside Down Cake

My Mom had a recipe for a Dutch apple cake, which was not from Grandma VandenBergh's cookbook, but perhaps from another Dutch friend or relative. When I was living overseas, Mom wrote out the recipe on one of her colorful recipe cards and sent it to me so that I could have a taste of home:

Mom's Handwritten Dutch Apple Cake Recipe

Sometimes Mom would make this in a square pan like the upside-down cake, but most often in a pizza pan, as she has noted. When prepared this way, it makes a nice breakfast pizza:

Dutch Apple Cake

Whether you like your apple cake upside down or right side up, you can't go wrong with the aroma of apples and cinnamon. Enjoy!

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