I grew up eating my grandmother's simple cakes that she would make with with whatever seasonal fruit was available, usually plum, or cherry, or apple, or pear. This cake wasn't any typical American cake though, it was fruit that was baked into a sweet vanilla base. Sometimes she'd bake it in traditional cake fashion (like this one), but often times she would bake it in a shallow dish, with the fruit lined at the bottom of the dish and "dotted" with the cake, as it cooked the cake would fill into the crevices of the fruit and hold it all together. They were always delicious, no matter what fruit she used, and would go perfectly with a cup of fresh mint tea from the garden. When I think of the perfect dessert, I think of things like this- simple recipes that remind me of my grandmother's cooking, of her French and Italian heritage. I feel so honored to have witnessed her in the kitchen growing up, there was something so intuitive about the way she approached food, and thinking about these dishes connects me to her in ways I can't explain. So this one is for my grandma, Mimi, a cake inspired by my childhood. Oh and it would seriously be perfect for any occasion but especially Thanksgiving or Christmas.
3 small apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 scant cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
Powdered sugar, for serving
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease a 9-inch pie pan (or other baking dish) with non-stick spray, then line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the parchment paper.
Line the bottom of the dish with a single layer of the sliced apples.
In a bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt- stir
Mix together the wet ingredients: oil, water, vanilla, vinegar- mix
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just to incorporate, do not over mix!
Fold the remaining apples into the batter- I know it's hard to 'fold them' and it seems a little awkward trying to incorporate them, but just spend a minute and do the best you can- it all works out!
Gently spoon the apple batter into the prepared pan, careful not to mess up the layer of apples at the bottom. Plat flat with your hands/a spatula.
Bake for 40-45 minutes and the cake is slightly golden in color.
Allow to cool before inverting onto a plate and removing the parchment paper. You may need to carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake prior to inverting.
Dust with powered sugar and serve (preferably with some fresh herbal tea!).
Recipe adapted from Chef Chloe
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