Fall is prime time for apple-picking and enjoying the crisp, juicy fruit, whether on its own fresh from the tree or prepared in the form of a sweet treat. Recently, LN called on its readers for their favorite apple dessert recipes. And after careful consideration, we have a winner!
Our congratulations to Amy Knapp of St. Louis County for her Cinnamon Apple Cake! For her winning recipe, Knapp will receive a Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, plus dessert (good for up to 12 people), from The Art of Entertaining.
WINNER: Cinnamon Apple Cake
Knapp has made this cake, with its rustic presentation, delicious flavor and wonderful texture, for many years now. “I started giving it to all of my friends as a ‘baby-coming-home gift,’ ” Knapp says. “It was just nice to make them something, because it seems that you are always hungry after giving birth. I also would include a little note that said, Best eaten after midnight! Enjoy! as kind of a joke. My thinking was that the cake might bring them comfort, because late-night feedings can be a tough time. And for a cake, it’s pretty healthy and low-fat.” After making it for the first few births, she says that word got around. “Then I had friends asking, Are you going to make it for me?”
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
6 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
3 cups peeled and chopped Rome apples (about 2 large apples)
Non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat 1 1/2 cups of sugar, butter, vanilla and cream cheese at medium speed with a mixer until well-blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture, beating at a low speed until blended. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture and the chopped apples and mix. Stir the apple mixture into the batter. Spray an 8-inch spring-form pan with non-stick spray and pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture on top. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut with a serrated knife. Yields 12 servings.
Note: This cake also can be baked in a 9-inch square pan or a 9-inch spring-form pan, just reduce the baking time by five minutes.
HONORABLE MENTION: Helen’s Country-Style Homemade Apple Pie
Helen Rehn was Jon Dollard’s grandmother; and according to him, her pies were very special to their family. “She was an excellent cook, but here pies were her specialty,” Dollard recalls. “She never used a recipe that I can remember, reproducing all of her recipes from memory. I would cook with her as a child, but as she began to suffer from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, it occurred to me that no one in our family knew how to make her pies; so five years ago, I went to visit her in Florida and she taught me how to make her pies.” Since that visit, Dollard has made her pies for Thanksgiving and for birthdays, just as she did.
Helen Rehn passed away last Decemeber. She was 90 years old. Since pie-making is a part of her legacy, Dollard’s hope is to continue her tradition and to also pass her recipes down to a son or daughter some day.
8-10 small baking apples
3/4 cup sugar
Ingredients (10-inch pie crust):
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 T all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
6 T ice-cold water
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel and slice the apples. Then, mix all the ingredients for the crust until they are well-blended and form a dough. Take about 2/3 of the dough and roll it out. Place the rolled dough into a 10-inch pie plate. Trim and remove the excess dough from the sides and mix the pieces with the remaining dough. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the sugar on the bottom of the crust. Fill the pie plate halfway with the sliced apples. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar on top of the layer of apples. Fill the pie plate with the remaining slices of apples. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar on top. Dust with cinnamon. Roll out the remaining dough as the pie cover and press the dough together where the two crusts meet around the edges of the pie plate to seal it. Poke several time with a fork for ventilation. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes. Cool for two hours prior to serving. Delicious with your favorite vanilla ice cream!
HONORABLE MENTION: Dixie Cup’s Homemade Applesauce Cake
Frontenac resident Carol Marcum’s recipe originates from her maternal grandmother, who made it for her as she was growing up. “She was a great baker! Granny Long was my mentor,” Marcum notes, along with disclosing that Dixie Cup is Marcum’s nickname. Now throughout the fall and for every Thanksgiving, instead of pumpkin or pecan pie, Marcum makes this special applesauce cake for her family. “Over the years, I have made it my own,” she explains. “I got the recipe from her in 1974, and since that time, I’ve changed to homemade applesauce and substituted unsalted butter for marjoram, which is what the original recipe called for. It’s definitely one of my family’s favorite fall recipes!”
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup Crisco
A pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cloves
1 t cinnamon (plus extra for sprinkling)
1 1/2 cups applesauce, preferably homemade with golden delicious apples
1 cup raisins, plumped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter, Crisco, salt and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cloves and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Add applesauce and raisins and mix. Spread into a 13-inch by 9-inch by 2-inch greased pan. Sprinkle lightly (to taste) with mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool and serve.