Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Day 2 of 12 - Grandma Normie's Apple Cake
(day late, dollar short - tomorrow I should have TWO recipes for you!)
Well, the holidays are fast approaching, and the household is buzzing. The tree is up (and even decorated!), the lights are outside, the stockings are hung over the fireplace, the Nativity is on the mantle. The countdown begins!
I love how Aldi obliges this time of year and gathers together the greatest, yummiest and easiest ingredients to make super cookies and confections! I had a hard time containing myself on my last shopping trip!!!! All the types of chips and chocolates and nuts and dried fruits, oh my.
One of my favorite memories of Christmas is baking cookies in my Grandmother's kitchen. Christmas began and Grandmom's and ended at Grandmom's. Christmas Eve started at church where I sung the Christmas Carols in the children's choir, then it was off to the nursing homes in the area to sing and bring cheer, then back to church for the midnight services. We were always allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and it was always our ornament from Grandmom. She was always so good at picking something that really represented that year. Then we'd vainly tried to sleep while waiting for the sounds of Santa and his sleigh on the roof. I always fell asleep before I heard a thing. Grandmom would get up Christmas morning before we did - I always suspected that she loved the magic of Christmas morning even more than we did, we weren't allowed down the stairs unless the tree was lit, and the smell of coffee and breakfast was filling the air. And she was always downstairs at the crack of dawn, donned in her apron slaving over the bird.
This year is very bittersweet for me as we moved my Grandmom into an assisted living facility in April. She turned 87 this year in July. The transformation in her countenance since moving in there is remarkable. She is colorful and full of life again, she's even flirting with the gents. The only thing she misses, she says, is her kitchen.
My grandmother's kitchen was a magical place at Christmas time. I can still smell the burning oil of the motor and the bakealite cord of her Kenmore mixer, I can still hear it whirring away while creaming the butter and the sugar (a crucial step in most holiday baking!) Of course we made Chocolate Chip. Gotta be honest, I don't remember making any other cookie!!! I'm sure that we did, because it is hard for me to believe that my Grandmom with her many talents was a one-trick pony. But, I can't bake or eat a chocolate chip cookie without thinking of her. And well, we also need to face the fact that Aldi's got a pretty darned good recipe for these on the back of their chocolate chip bag, so it'd be kinda pointless to do a chocolate chip. So, the other thing I always remember making was the apple cake. Hours slaving over peeling apples are another memory of the kitchen. She sang the whole time. I believe that we baked at least a dozen of these leading up to Christmas Eve, possibly even more. It was a tradition that my mother kept up, and now, in her passing, my stepfather. Dense, rich, chewy, appley, delicious. It calls out to be eaten with tea, or coffee (sorry, can't stomach the stuff!), or even hot chocolate. We always called it "Jewish Apple Cake", but I'm not even sure why, and Gram can't remember either (well, she IS 87).
Grammy - this one's for you, I love you. Merry Christmas.
Grandma Normie's Apple Cake
3 Cups Grandma's Best Flour
2 Cups Baker's Corner Sugar
1 Tbs. Baker's Corner baking powder
1 tsp. Sebree Salt
1/4 Cup Happy Valley Orange Juice
4 Golden Hen Eggs
1 Cup Carlini Vegetable Oil
2 1/2 Tbs. Baker's Corner Vanilla
5 medium to large apples
1/2 Cup Bakers Corner Sugar
2 tsp to 1 tbs Spice Club Cinnamon (or to YOUR taste)
Preheat oven to 375.
Peel, core and slice apples into sections - should get 12 sections per apple. Cover with sugar and cinnamon and marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, orange juice, oil and vanilla and mix well. If too dry, add more orange juice. The batter will be very thick...but you should be able to stir it!
Prepare a 10" Tube pan by buttering & flouring the sides (or using the Carlini baking spray which has both oil & flour already).
Pour about half of the batter into the prepared tube pan and top with about half of the apples, add remaining batter, add the rest of apples (if it looks like there's too many apples, you can hold some back....I prefer it with SOME apples, but not overflowing - my mom used to us 7 or 8 apples and you barely had enough cake to hold it together! but that's how she liked it! - my version is more to my Grandmother's actual recipe).
Bake for 2 hours. After about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, make sure to loosely cover top with foil so that the top does not burn.
Remove from tube after about 10 minutes. You can leave on the base until ready to serve.
It is best enjoyed with tea or coffee.