|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
I adore my grandmother's Jewish Apple Cake recipe, but I always wondered what it would taste like if I gave the recipe a healthy makeover. This version has less sugar and half the fat of the original. All-purpose refined flour is replaced with white whole wheat flour, which is softer and finer than regular whole wheat flour, but just as full of fiber and nutrients.
Though the ingredients have been lightened up or swapped for healthier options, calling the result "light" would be a bit of a misnomer -- like the original, this is a sturdy cake (in all the best ways) with a dense crumb. It's also still delicious, and since it's so wholesome, it's even easier to justify eating leftover apple cake for breakfast.
Tip: Choose firm, crisp apple varieties that stand up well to baking. I like to use a mix of sweet-tart apples such as Pink Lady or Lady Alice, Galas, and Fujis.
At the Holiday Table: Because of the association between apples and a sweet new year, this cake is a perfect addition to the Rosh Hashana table, or as a Yom Kippur break fast dessert. If you are lucky enough to live in an apple growing region, it's also an ideal recipe for showcasing local apples during the fall harvest holiday of Sukkot, or for Thanksgiving dinner.
- For the Apples:
- 4 large apples (or 6 small firm apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- For the Cake Batter:
- 3 cups wheat flour (white whole, or a mix of all-purpose and white whole wheat flour)
- 1 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup of canola oil (mild-flavored, such as expeller-pressed canola, grapeseed, or walnut oil)
- 4 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (pure)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. (If you are using a dark or nonstick pan, preheat the oven to 325° F to prevent burning.) Grease a tube pan with a removable bottom.
Place the apple slices, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl, and toss together gently, until the apples are evenly coated with the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla, and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon just until you have a smooth, thick batter.
Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the prepared tube pan. If necessary, use a spatula to spread the batter so it covers the bottom of the pan. Layer about 1/3 of the apple slices over the batter. (If possible, try to avoid touching the sides of the pan with the apples to prevent sticking.) Continue layering the apples and batter so you have 3 layers of each, ending with the apples. For an especially pretty cake, arrange the final layer of apple slices in slightly overlapping concentric circles on top of the batter (the apple slices will spread out as the cake bakes). If there is any cinnamon sugar "syrup" remaining in the apple bowl, drizzle a little over the cake.
Place a cookie sheet or piece of foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drips. Place the cake on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean and the top of the cake is golden.
Place the cake on a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan. When it has cooled completely, run a knife or offset spatula around the edge. Carefully remove the outside of the cake pan. Gently run a knife or offset spatula between the cake and the pan bottom to loosen. Invert the cake over a plate and ease it off the pan bottom (the cake will be upside down on the plate). Place a cake plate face down on the bottom side of the cake, and holding both plates, flip the cake, so it is right-side (apple-side) up. Enjoy!