It is fall, and the fresh local apples are coming into market. This is my husband’s favorite cake and must be made with the most flavorful, tart apples you can get your hands on. We like Winesap, Jonathan, and Golden Delicious. Peel the apples, then chop them into a 1⁄2-inch cube. This is the perfect do-ahead cake to take tailgating or bake for someone lucky enough to have a fall birthday. Pour the batter into a Bundt pan if you like, baking 75 to 80 minutes at 325 degrees, and drizzling with a half recipe of icing or just a dusting of powdered sugar.
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 30 to 35 minutes
Vegetable oil spray for misting the pans
Flour for dusting the pans
11⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
11⁄2 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 1⁄2 cups chopped raw peeled apples, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, from 3 large apples
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
My Caramel Icing:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1⁄2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1⁄4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
13⁄4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two
9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray or solid vegetable shortening or butter.
Dust the pans with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pans aside.
2. Place the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an
electric mixer on medium-low until the mixture lightens, 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at
a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, soda, nutmeg,
and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and stir to combine using a wooden spoon.
Fold in the apples and vanilla.
3. Divide the batter between the two pans, and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Place the pans in the oven. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with
your finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let the cake cool in
the pans for 15 minutes, then invert once onto a wire rack, and again onto another wire
rack so that the cakes cool right side up. Meanwhile, prepare the icing.
4. Place the butter in a medium heavy saucepan over low heat, and stir with a wooden
spoon until the butter melts. Stir in the light and dark brown sugars until smooth,
1 minute. Add the milk, and stir until the mixture bubbles up and thickens slightly,
1 minute. Pull the pan off the heat, and stir in the vanilla and salt. Whisk in the
confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt if needed.
5. To assemble, place one layer on a cake stand and spoon a few ladles of icing over the
layer, spreading it out evenly with a metal spatula. Place the second layer on top of the
first, and pour the rest of the icing over the cake, letting it trickle down the sides of the
cake. Smooth out the top with the metal spatula, if you like, but leave the cake sides with
just the icing running down. Slice and serve.