Like so many people, some of my earliest childhood memories are of rainy days spent baking with my mother. She was a terrific baker and I’m sure my utter delight in the discipline comes directly from her. I was a young adult before I knew there was such a thing as a packaged cake mix – nothing of the kind ever showed up in our house. I count her handwritten recipes as some of my greatest treasures. She, my grandmother and my aunties shared countless luscious recipes and this apple cake is one they all used to make. One of my cousins recently shared with me that he always liked my mother’s best. Me, too. Here’s her recipe, slightly updated. —Maui Bonnie
- Makes 1 - 9-inch square cake
light brown sugar, packed
large Granny Smith - or other firm, tart - apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 1/2 cups
all-purpose flour, sifted
pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter in the baking pan. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- Place the apple slices on top of the butter mixture and sprinkle with raisins.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together.
- Cream the shortening with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients and water alternately and mix until combined. Pour the mixture over the apples.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. Turn out onto a serving plate immediately. Serve warm or at room temperature. Make it even better by adding a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.