This weekend, I decided to make a feast for my sister and her visiting high school friends. Not only did I want to welcome them with hospitality, but I really wanted an excuse to test out some of the Fall recipes I’ve been collecting in anticipation of a special occasion. My homey meal was easy to prepare in advance and turned out to be a big success. My menu consisted of an array of cold-weather recipes: pesto hummus and warm sourdough bread, sinister apple cider cocktails, spicy turkey sausage lasagna (my favorite lasagna in the world) and salad. But the greatest hit was the finale: my chunky apple cake with cinnamon whipped cream.
When I was brainstorming the menu, I knew at the start that I wanted to serve a moist, apple fall cake. Most of the recipes I found online, though, required a spring-form pan (which I don’t have), cake flour (which I didn’t want to buy), or excessive spices (which can be nauseating). After days of perusing through blogs and websites, I came across this simple one sheet apple cake that required nothing more than a bit of mixing and spreading in a rectangular pan – my kind of no fuss process. The recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, which happens to be one of my favorite things on earth, but considering the heavy meal I was serving I decided to go with a lighter topping and concocted my own cinnamon whipped cream. After tasting the deliciously light combination, I couldn’t imagine the cake with any other accompaniment.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s about 1/3 batter to 2/3 apple chunks, which leads me to believe it’s healthier than the average cake. The batter is thicker than a regular cake batter, but when mixed with the apple chunks, it tends to thin out, making it easy to spread in the pan. I suggest preserving the cake in the refrigerator and either warming in the oven (350 degrees for about 5 minutes) or the microwave when ready to serve. Or, if you prefer like me, you can eat it cold! Considering the ease of this recipe and the rave reviews it received, I will definitely replicate it for my family over Thanksgiving – it’s a simple, lighter alternative to apple pie.
Apple Cake (adapted from Southern Living Magazine):
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped in chunks
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple slices and 1 cup walnuts. Spread into a greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Dollop with cinnamon whipped cream (below); sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- 8 oz heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/4 cup of powdered sugar