One of my very favorite food blogs is Smitten Kitchen. Deb Perelman is such an inspiration, and what I love about her recipes is that they are all completely doable, even for beginning cooks.
This recipe for an apple cake is from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Let me just say that I think this is the most delicious thing I have ever baked. This cake is so moist, so full of apple tasting goodness, and it will fill your whole house with the most wonderful scent.
It is now on my list of fall and winter favorite desserts to make. And it's certainly a dessert that would be welcome for a party or celebration of any kind.
Recipe for Smitten Kitchen Apple Cake
Butter or nonstick spray for the pan
6 apples (2 1/2 - 3 pounds) McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cups plus 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Confectioners' sugar, to finish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch tube pan, or coat it with nonstick spray. Peel, core, and chop the apples into 1/2 - 3/4 inch chunks. Toss them with all of the cinnamon and the 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, and set them aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, and remaining 2 cups of granulated sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones, then scrape down the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Stir in the walnuts if you are using them.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread half the apple chunks over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples, and arrange the remaining apples on top.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean, then transfer to a cake rack to cool.
Cool completely before taking cake out of pan and place onto a serving platter. Dust with Confectioners' sugar and serve.