European Apple Cake

I found this in the Boston Globe many years ago. In a twist of fate, Margie Huggard of Osterville's Margo’s, introduced me to her friend Julie Riven during an event at her store. I’ve been making this cake for years, and as it turned out, it was one of Julie’s mother’s recipes that she published in the Globe. I thought it was such a great small-world story.

Like all amazing cake recipes, this cake comprises simple ingredients and yields impressive results. It’s old-world, it’s classic, and it’s cakey and appley in every bite.

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4 cups thinly sliced Cortland or McIntosh apples (or any other cooking apples)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch bundt pan.

Add the apples to a bowl. Combine the cinnamon and the 3 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle the mixture on the apples and gently stir to coat.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and add the oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Beat until smooth and shiny, about 1 minute.

Spoon one-third of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula, smooth the batter down. Add half the apples, drained of excess moisture, making sure that the apples are pressed gently into the batter and not touching the walls of the pan (this will make it easier to remove the cakefrom the pan after baking). Add another one-third of the batter, then the remainder of the apples and the last third of the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 70 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester comes out clean (there may be a little moisture from the cooked apples on the tester, but there should not be any loose batter on it). If at any point the cake gets too brown on top but is not yet cooked, cover it lightly with foil, shiny side down, and continue to bake it.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest on a metal cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, lift off the pan and allow to rest until cool. If you are not planning to serve the cake within 4 hours, cover with foil to store. If stored properly, this cake tastes great for a few days afterward.

Serves 10