The other day, a friend handed me a stack of old magazines that she thought might have some good recipes in them. Flipping through old issues of magazines like Country Woman, I stumbled upon a tasty sounding apple cake that I decided to try. It turns out that the recipe is now online from Taste of Home, too. The cake is called Dutch Apple Cake and it is a loaf cake that is jam-packed with apples. In an unusual twist, the apples in this cake are sliced and put in vertically, which gives the cake a very unique look and a good distribution of the fruit in each slice.
The cake has quite a few eggs in it and contains no additional leavening. This gives it a dense, pound-cake like texture. It is a bit less sweet than some pound cakes, but the tender apples packed into it balance it out perfectly. Vanilla and nutmeg give the cake batter a subtle flavor that really works well with the fruit – apples and nutmeg are a good combination in most desserts. The apple slices are coated with cinnamon and sugar before they are inserted into the batter. This gives the apples an extra layer of flavor and helps to draw out some of their juices. Don’t get me wrong, you still want the apples to be juicy, you just don’t want too much extra juice in the finely-textured cake batter. The cake is finished with a layer of cinnamon sugar for a little extra sweetness and texture.
The apples slices will stick up out of the cake batter when you insert them, so don’t worry about that. The batter will rise up in the oven and come to the top of the apple slices! The cake has a long baking time, so make sure that you aren’t putting this into the oven right before you go to bed – unless you’re prepared to stay up late! The slow baking time and relatively low temperature allow the cake plenty of time to rise and set without becoming dry. It also allows the apples to cook through completely. Wait until the cake has cooled completely before slicing, but feel free to warm up individual slices before serving because it is also delicious when warm and topped with vanilla ice cream.
Dutch Apple Loaf Cake
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large apples*
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 300F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar and ground cinnamon. Peel the apples and remove the cores. Cut each apple (vertically) into quarters, then cut each quarter into 1/4-inch thick slices. Add slices to a medium bowl and top with half of the sugar mixture. Stir to coat and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Gradually blend in the flour until a thick, uniform batter forms. Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Insert the apple slices vertically into the cake batter. Try to leave a little space between each of the slices, but they should be very close together (I fit about 50 slices in and made roughly 4 long rows). The apple slices will stick out of the batter.
Top cake with remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake for 100-110 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow cake to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 8-10 servings.
*The original recipe says you need about 3 cups of sliced apples. I found that three large apples was just about right, though I ate a couple of slices while I was cutting. Pick up an extra apple while you’re at the market if you’re worried your apples aren’t quite the right size.