This Apple Nut Cake recipe, which my Mom clipped from the pages of the Los Angeles Times in the 1960’s, was her go to choice for potlucks when I was young. She had a 13” x 9” baking pan with a slide on cover that was well used to bake and carry this cake.
When she first read through the recipe, she expressed concern that there had been a mistake made in the printing, as there are 4 cups of diced apples to 2 cups of flour, and felt sure that it wasn’t enough flour to hold the cake together. But, no, the recipe was correct, and quite delicious, too. I briefly wondered the same thing over 20 year later when I came across the recipe for Marion Cunningham’s Raw Apple Muffins in Gourmet Magazine, then realized, after a quick comparison, that it was exactly the same recipe except for the addition of a cup of raisins.
Which points to a subject of discussion at the Cookbook Friends Facebook page just over a week ago. Russ Parsons had reposted his article “The complicated case of a simple cookie” from the L.A. Times there. The article had to do with where recipes originate and proper attribution, as the issue had come up (once again) in this year’s L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake Off. Popular food blogger and cookbook writer, David Leibovitz, commented on the post saying that someone once had given him a treasured family recipe, verbally, which he wrote down and then wrote up, attributing it to her family, at which time someone pointed out it was from a book. Cookbook author and editor, Martha Holmberg, commented that when she wrote for The Oregonian “we had a holiday cookie contest and received several recipes for a "nutmeg log" -each attributed fondly to an aunt, mother, grande-mere, and each identical. Probably was a recipe in the red-and-white-checked BHG cookbook of yore. Even funnier is the chocolate crackle cookie that a Martha Stewart book claims is from Martha's relative but suspiciously like the one on the Hershey's cocoa tin.”
And wouldn’t you know it, last week I saw another Facebook friend, Hilary Cable, post that she was making a birthday dinner for her nephew which included “that famous apple cake with the lemon cream cheese frosting”.
What can I say, a good recipe gets around. This Christmas Eve, it was transformed into cupcakes to introduce to a new generation of my family’s youngsters.
Because of all the apples, this cake stays incredibly moist for several days, if it lasts that long.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely diced
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- Beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.
- Mix in the oil until smooth.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. then add the apples and nuts.
- Scoop into muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cool and frost with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing.
Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
Every one, no doubt, has a recipe for Cream Cheese Icing. When I was in culinary school, however, I received one made with pouring fondant rather than powdered sugar which solved the problem of the icing's tendecy to become way too soft and melt, thanks to fondant's invert sugar properties. In the past, pouring fondant was only available through professional baking outlets, and only in very large quantities. Now it's available to everyone through Amazon, as is the Boyajian Lemon Oil I used to flavor the frosting. Just a couple of drops of this oil packs a powerful punch to flavor this icing.
- 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 4 ounces butter, softened at room temperature
- 8 ounces Ateco 482 16-Ounce Fondant Mix
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- A couple of drops of Pure LEMON Oil (Boyajian) 148ml (5 oz)
- A pinch of salt
- Cream together the butter and fondant until well blended.
- Add the cream cheese and blend slowly, only until smooth.
- Add vanilla, lemon oil and salt.