Of all the things people ask me to make, and I oblige, the World’s Best Apple Cake is at the top of the list (second only to the World’s Best Chocolate Cake). Many apple baked goods suffer from a lack of cohesion— apple pies (and their ilk) often feature hard or brittle crusts with soft sugary apples in them. When the crust and pie filling aren’t married (but crash into each other) there is a discordancy that I find highly unsatisfying. On the other hand, the term apple cake brings up the idea of some kind of bad grandmotherly offering– some kind of dry, crumbly thing that has as much apple flavor as a dry martini has vermouth.
On the other hand, this cake has it all– deliciousness, moistness, crunchy yummy streusel topping, and of course, rich and real apple flavor. It comes from the The Cookie Shop and the original recipe is here. Many recipes called “the best” aren’t even close, but this one really takes the cake (:]). Seems like that recipe was adapted from an original Martha Stewart recipe (who got it from someone else) which confirms that everything has been done, but still it’s a great recipe.
However, as always, I found it necessary to make a few tweaks.
- I use slightly less cinnamon and more vanilla, salt and sugar.
- I only use Honey Crisp apples (in a pinch I’ll use Pink Lady or Fuji, but I try to stay on Honey Crisp).
- I added a streusel layer that I added to the bottom, the middle and the top (see recipe below).
- I have consistently found that baking time maximum is 75 minutes (the original recipe says 75-90 minutes).
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (the original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon but I can’t fit the tablespoon measure in the bottle of cinnamon, so I just take the easy way out).
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups canola oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3-4 honey crisp apples (you can substitute your favorite apple, but HCs are the perfect balance of sweet-tart), chopped. [Editor’s note: probably three or four cups of chopped apples is the right amount]
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside (you’ll have to empty it out after a while if it pools on the bottom)
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream vegetable oil, sugar, and eggs; mix on high speed until satiny and lemon-colored, about five minutes.
- Add dry ingredients until just incorporated.
- Chop the apples by cutting the apple’s sides off and then dicing finely; you should end up with three-five cups of diced apple. (I leave the pieces rather large, but the size is up to you and your knife skills. The apples cook all the way through so don’t worry about crunch factor).
- Add apples to batter; mix to combine. Add vanilla, mixing until incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and cool slightly on a wire rack.
- Invert cake onto rack; turn cake right-side up to cool completely on rack
- When cool, sift powdered sugar on top. (Cookie shop shows the cake with sugar on top but doesn’t list it as a step or an ingredient; I have been asked to top the cake with cream cheese frosting but so far have refused).
Grind to till combined, paste-like but not paste.