If you’re looking for a charming vintage cake loaded with a tender apple flavor, I think you’ve found your cake match! This turn-of-the-Century delight is filled with an apple cream custard and topped with sweet cream. It just might be calling your name, inviting you to bring some history back to life at your next meet-up.
This recipe hails from one of favorite (though tattered and torn) cookbooks. It’s called, “The Woman’s Exchange Cook Book” by Mrs. Minnie Palmer,1901 edition. (For more info on the Women’s Exchange program in America, see our Sour Cream Pound Cake post.) A favorite section of mine of this culinary encyclopaedia contains hand-written recipes — for things like “Plum Pudding” (which is really a steamed raisin cake) and “Cornbread With No Eggs or Milk”. I think you can tell that this good ole’ book has had some cooking adventures over the last 100+ years. It even has tips like how to cut glass jars (fill with oil, insert a hot poker and blam! the glass cracks at the surface of the oil) and how to whiten yellowed linen (soak in buttermilk for 3 days).
Oh, did I mention it contains the recipe for removing wrinkles? Okay, okay. It’s: 1 oz white wax, 2 oz strained honey, 2 oz of the juice of lily bulbs, melted and stirred (that’s all she wrote). Although this book was wildly popular, and usually sold by subscription service, it was advertised in The Interior magazine for a reduced price of one dollar. Such a deal for 520 pages chocked full of cooking, household and health information.
The actual Cider Cake recipe doesn’t actually explain how much flour to use (just a sufficent quantity to make a pound cake-type batter)…or how long to bake it…or at what temperature. But that’s vintage baking for you (you’re supposed to know that part already).
In our final (thumbs up) test, we used apple juice (instead of unfiltered apple cider), added more of it and added an additional egg. And, don’t worry, we’ll tell you how much flour to use (and exactly how to bake it).
Okay, let’s bake this cake!
Vintage Cider Cake Recipe:
Because of the sticky apple juice in this cake batter, it is very important to prepare the cake pans by lining them with paper and spraying them well with cooking spray. So…
Spray two 9″ cake pans with cooking spray, cut paper circles the size of the cake pans and line each pan bottom with parchment paper (or wax paper) and spray again.
Using an electric mixer on high-speed, beat for about 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy:
1 cup of sugar
1 cube (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
Fork-stir and blend it into the butter-sugar mixture on high speed for about 1 minute:
2 large eggs
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk until thoroughly incorporated:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
In alternating portions, blend into the butter-sugar mixture until thoroughly incorporated:
2 cups apple juice
the prepared dry ingredients
Divide the batter between the prepared (paper-lined and sprayed) cake pans.
Bake on the center rack of the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted in center top of cake comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing (while still warm) to wire cooling racks.
Important cider cake notes: The apple juice in this cake creates a sugar-type coating (and natural ridges) on the top of the cake. A little crust may form as it cools so you must baste the cake lightly with a little butter to keep it moist. Use a pastry brush to spread a teaspoon of room temperature butter on cake top and sides. As the butter melts it will soften the crusting (filling and frosting will soften it further). If you are not filling and frosting this cake immediately upon cool-down, you must wrap it in plastic wrap (and maybe even foil) to ensure it remains soft to the touch.
Traveling Note: I almost always travel with my cakes and this cake makes a great travel cake for filling and frosting at your arrival party destination. In this photo, I placed the bottom cake under a larger coffee cake pan to protect it, then placed the top cake on top of the coffee cake pan, and wrapped all well in foil before locking it into the cake carrier.
Apple Cream Filling:
From the same cook book and going by the enticing name, “Cream Filling Plain”, we jazzed it up a tad with tiny chunks of cooked apple bits.
Peel, core, slice and cook (steam or microwave):
1 large red or green apple
Chop the apple into small chunks (like chunky applesauce) and steam it (or microwave it on low power) until it is soft. Put it in the refrigerator to come to room temperature (or colder).
Prepare a cornstarch custard in a small pan on the stovetop by stirring until thickened for about 3 minutes on simmer:
2 cups milk (2% is fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
When the custard is smooth and thick, stir in:
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, fine quality
Using an electric mixer (or by hand), blend the cooked and chopped apples into the cream custard.
Blend until fluffy:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar (or more or less to taste)
Spread the apple cream as a cake filling on the bottom layer of cider cake.
Frost the top of the cake with the sweetened whipping cream.
Now it’s time to resurrect a little slice of history.
Happy New Year to you and thank you for your encouragement and your enthusiasm for historic cake recipes. I think our grandmothers would all be pleased.