It's finally starting to happen; the weather here in The South is turning a bit cooler (low 80s and upper 70s), the fall rains have begun and this weekend it might actually get into the upper 40s at night. Fall is finally on its way!
This change of season inevitably gets me baking. The cooler weather simply begs for something yummy and warm to come out of the oven. After spending some time outside in the fall air--enjoying football, raking leaves, taking a leisurely evening stroll--there is nothing quite like stepping into my house and being welcomed by the aroma of something delicious baking in the oven. Suddenly, my haven't-mopped-in-a-week kitchen becomes a Norman Rockwell painting and all feels right in the world.
Yesterday, after a day full of grey skies and impending thunderstorms, my need to bake for fall was fully satisfied with Apple Cake. The light, cinnamon/nutmeg/apple cake, topped with the warm, rich, butter & vanilla sauce is perfect for jump starting the fall baking season.
Thanks go to my sister, Aerwyn, for sharing this cake with me several times during the falls and winters of my college years.
Apple Cake (Source: Aerwyn Whitlock)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
6 medium apples--peeled and finely chopped
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4-1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour a bundt pan. (A 9x13 would work too, but the bundt pan makes it look prettier.)
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine sugar, shortening, and eggs. Mix well. Add apples, stir until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
4. Add flour mixture to apples, mix until just combined. Gently stir in nuts.
5. Pour batter evenly into bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
6. To make the Vanilla Sauce, combine butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Do NOT boil.
7. Remove from heat; add vanilla and nutmeg, stir well. While still hot, serve generously over Apple Cake slices.