Sunday, October 20, 2013

Second/Third Week of October: Nature and Food-- Apples and Apple Cake

So my family is a family of weavers.  It goes back many generations.  We sell our wares at my grandpa's work room, but also at many craft shows around the area.  One of my favorite ones to go to is the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival in North Wilkesboro, NC.  We always get the best NC Mountain apples when we go there.  This year I got 3 varieties:  Stayman, JonaGold, and Fuji.

A little bit about each of these types of apples....

Most people have heard of a Fuji apple.  It's very popular and commonly sold in the US.  It was first cultivated in Japan about 100 years ago.  It's a great "eating apple".

 JonaGold is a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan apple.  Golden Delicious are really sweet to me, so a JonaGold is a great way to get a crisp, sweet, juicy apple that's not quite so sweet as a Golden Delicious.

A Stayman apple is an "old timey" apple.  It's a beautiful apple, but it's not as great just eating it straight.  It has a very starchy consistency.  But, that's what makes this a phenomenal baking apple.  It's flavor is light and tart, so it takes on your cinnamon or pecans or whatever else you cook with very well.  However, when you cook it, it seems to get more "apple-y" in flavor.

My husband and I really want an apple tree, but considering we live on the boarder of a coastal plain and our soil is sandy--I just don't think it's possible.

Apples are really amazing.  They are a lot like tomatoes in the sense that an apple eaten in May is flavorless and kind of mealy.  Just like a tomato in January.  It's really one of those foods you should eat locally when they are in season.  And when they are in season?  Eat the mess out of them!!  I eat a least an apple a day (until I run out or the trees run out) in the Fall.

So now that I have these Stayman apples, and I have a bunch of them. I need to figure out what to do with them.  I've made a pie, I can stew them, I can can or preserve them.  Or....I can make an Apple Cake....

Which is what the most reasonable of these choices are!  So this is the recipe I'm going to use.  Thank you Our State Magazine!!!

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup Crisco oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 small cup coconut
  • 3 cups tart apples, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
So you take some apples.  How many is really depending on the size.  You need to get 3 cups shredded.
We chopped them up into smaller sizes...

 ...then used my food processor to shred them.  It was so much easier than using a stand grater.  It's nice to be able to do this process quickly, or maybe even after you have done the mixing part of your baking, as our apples started to turn very quickly.  Of course in the baking process it doesn't really matter if your apples have turned brown.

You beat your sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla together pretty well. (I love my stand mixer!)

Meanwhile, you sift all your dry ingredients together. 

Then you slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet.  Remember to have your mixer on the lowest setting or you will get a facepoof of flour!

Afterward, fold in your coconut, chopped pecans (we used the food processor again to do the chopping for us) and finally the shredded apple.  Then you pour into your pan.  I used a bunt pan.

After an hour of cooking at 325 degrees, you take the cake out and let it sit in its pan until it's completely cooled.  Your house will smell like magic during all this, by the way.

Ta da!!!  It was amazing.  The recipe link says you can make a smile glaze for it, but I did not think it needed it.  I used sweetened flaked coconut, so it was plenty sweet and is perfect with a cup of coffee as breakfast!


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