Grandma’s Extraordinary Apple Cake Recipe

old fashioned wooden spoon apple cake by bakethiscake

We’re sharing the old kitchen custom of the super moist chop-and-stir cake. Once your sweets are chopity chopped, you can quickly swirl together a sweet apple cake batter with a big wooden spoon to make an awesome cake for a crowd.  Preferably using a wooden spoon with some history to it. One that’s been serving the family for years. ‘Cause there’s not one electric mixer in sight! Dust it with powdered sugar and it becomes a wrap-and-take cake.

Serving Grandma's large fresh apple cake from the pan by bake this cake

What They Did Before Electric Mixers Came Along: Long before whisks were first used in perhaps the 17th century and before egg beaters were invented in 1884 and before electric mixers were birthed in 1885, folks just stirred what needed stirring with a wooden spoon — or with their hands. Of course, previous to these tools, certain stirrings (like eggs and cream) took some strength and coordination. I guess that’s why the baker trade in the Renaissance days attracted mostly big, strong men with strong arm muscles. A bunch of willow branches, rush branches or gathered reeds worked well. Think of how hard it must have been for the King’s bakers to whip up something light and fluffy (in large quantities) for the royal crowd and their guests! Even my own great-grandma used fruit tree branches (like apple, orange or peach tree branches) to infuse a little fruity flavor into the mix.

Twigs for a whisk

Whisk made of birch twigs by Roede

Every Spoon Tells A Story: But, heck, even today wooden spoons keep bringing it! My precious wooden spoon was hand carved in Columbia, California, and is still going strong 40 years later, although it has endured a few kitchen disasters as you can see from the black char that runs along the side of the spoon. Perhaps, as my grandmother believed with her “flavored sticks”, it gives a toasty flavor to the mix.

My favorite wooden spoon by bake this cake

Cake That Draws a Crowd: This is a super moist apple cake that uses aromatherapy to draw in a big crowd of family and friends. It serves 20 to 35 people (or more) depending on how you slice it. It bakes low and slow and, when you draw it out of your oven, all hot and steamy, the bouquet that drifts from the cake has a sort of magical charm. It attracts tasters and good conversation.

vintage style fresh apple cake by bakethiscake

Chocked Full of Goodness: The fragrance of this special cake is sponsored by fresh apples, bits of dried apples and apricots, coconut, white chocolate and almonds. And let’s not forget the delicate Vietnamese cinnamon that  is brightened with touches of lemon and almond extract and dried orange peel. Oh, and little slivers of toasted almond too. We’ll be baking it in a large rectangular baking dish and dusting the top with a little powdered sugar.  We’ve also included reduced quantity ingredients for a family sized version of this super delightful comfy cake.

Fruit Nuts Coconut White Chocolate for Grandma's Apple Cake by bake this cake

Time Honored Tradition of Bringing Food: Think about the times when you travel with food. When you bring your dish to a gathering. It could be a potluck event for friends or school or church. It could be a holiday gathering of relatives or an office party with co-workers. It could also be a funeral where people join together to celebrate the life of a dear spirit who has decided to travel  on to greater adventures. When you make a homemade dish from scratch to bring to a gathering, you are gifting your time and energy and inspiration to share as an offering from the heart.

Simple fresh apple cake old fashioned style by bakethiscake

Tools Needed for The Wooden Spoon  Apple Cake:
15 x  11 x 2 large cake pan
Cooking Spray or a smear of Unsalted Butter for the baking pan
Food Processor, or Large Flat Blade Knife and Cutting Board
Wooden Spoon (the star of this show!)
Whisk and/or Fork (for mixing dry ingredients and mixing eggs)
1 medium bowl (for liquid ingredients)
1 very large bowl or large pot (or separate the batter between 2 large bowls) (for dry ingredients>main batter)
Cheese Grater (for grating fresh apples)
Measuring spoons and cups
Optional: Basting Brush (as needed for basting top of cake)
Optional but highly recommended: Fast-Read Baking Thermometer Probe

Grandma's Extraordinary Wooden Spoon Apple Cake by bakethiscake

Ingredients for The Wooden Spoon Apple Cake:
2/3 cup dried fuji apples, finely chopped, soft to the touch
2/3 cup dried apricot slices, finely chopped, soft to the touch
2/3 cup white chocolate, good quality, finely chopped
2/3 cup sweetened baker’s coconut flakes, finely chopped
2/3 cup slivered almonds, skins on, finely chopped
6 cups cake flour (substitute: all-purpose flour)
4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder (or 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground Vietnamese cinnamon
2 teaspoons powdered dry ginger
1 teaspoon dried orange peels
2 cups grated fresh green apples, gently packed (about 3 large apples)
7 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract, fine quality
2 teaspoons almond extract, fine quality
2-2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
Optional: 2 teaspoons unsalted butter to brush top of cake

Serving Grandma's Fresh Apple Cake for a large crowd by bake this cake

The Wooden Spoon Apple Cake Directions:

Preparations Make Easy Work of this Big Cake:

Go ahead, get it all out on the counter! I use a big baker’s pan to move whole counters of ingredients around the room but if you just get all your tools and goods in eyesight, it makes the project zoom forward.

Preparing to make a big fresh apple cake recipe by bake this cake

1. Prepare a 15″ x 11″ x 2″ sheet cake pan by spraying it with cooking spray or rubbing it with butter.

2. Set your oven rack to center position and turn your oven to 325 degrees (for a low and slow bake).

3. Use a food processor or a flat blade knife to chop finely, and set aside:
2/3 cup dried fuji apples, soft to the touch
2/3 cup dried apricot slices, soft to the touch
Tip: The dried fuji apples and dried apricots might be easier to chop by hand but you can pulse them in small quantities in a very hearty food processor – but be careful not to break your machine with these hearty dried fruits. Unless your dried fruits are very soft and tender, a mini food processor might not be strong enough.

chopping dried fuji apples and dried apricots for grandma's apple cake by bakethiscake

2/3 cup white chocolate, good quality

White chocolate chunks chopped fine for Grandma's Apple Cake by bake this cake
2/3 cup sweetened baker’s coconut flakes
2/3 cup slivered almonds, skins on

chopping dried fuji apples and dried apricots for grandma's apple cake by bake this cake

Dry Ingredients Very Large Bowl:

4. Measure out and whisk together in very large bowl or large pot (or separate the batter between 2 large bowls), and set aside:
6 cups cake flour (substitute: all-purpose flour)
4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder (or 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground Vietnamese cinnamon
2 teaspoon powdered dry ginger
1 teaspoon dried orange peels

Blending Flour and spices for Grandma's Apple Cake by bake this cake

Wet Ingredients – Medium Bowl:

5. Crack into a medium bowl and stir vigorously with a whisk or fork (about 30 strokes):
7 large eggs

Blending eggs for Grandma's vintage apple cake by bakethiscake

6. Stir into eggs to blend and set aside:
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract, fine quality
2-2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract, fine quality
2 teaspoons almond extract, fine quality
1 cup water

Wet Ingredient Bowl for Grandma's Best Apple Cake recipe by bakethiscake

Grate Fresh Apples:

7. Peel and grate and set aside:
3 large green apples (makes about 2 cups gently packed)

Grated Apples for Grandma's Wooden Spoon Apple Cake by bake this cake

Add All Ingredients Into Dry Ingredients Bowl:

8. With a wooden spoon, add to the dry ingredients bowl(s) and stir:
the prepared wet ingredients
the prepared grated apples
the chopped dried fruits, white chocolate and nuts

Mixing Grandma's Apple Cake with a wooden spoon by bakethiscake

Okay, Let’s Bake This Cake!

The batter should fill the prepared (big) sheet cake pan about 3/4 full.

Apple Cake batter loaded into big bakig pan 15 x 9 x2 for a crowd by bake this cake

Place the pan filled with batter on the center rack of your pre-heated oven.

Bake at reduced temperature of 325 degrees on the center rack and bake for 60 to 75 minutes until toothpick at center comes clean, center of cake raises to level with the sides and a light crust forms on the top of the cake. The internal temperature will be about 210 degrees. If you want a soft top crust, brush a dab of butter over the top when warm.

Tip: Because this cake contains fresh fruits, the toothpick test may show moisture even though the cake is fully baked. Also because this is a large cake, making certain the center portion of the cake is thoroughly baked, can be a little tricky without the use of a trusty temperature probe. So I highly recommend a baking thermometer for this cake.

Grandma's Best Apple Cake large enough to feed a crowd by bake this cake

BTW, here’s how you travel with this cake…the easiest travel cake around!

Big Fresh Apple Cake ready for travel by bake this cake

For a Family Sized Wooden Spoon Apple Cake:

1/3 cup dried fuji apples, finely chopped, soft to the touch
1/3 cup dried apricot slices, finely chopped, soft to the touch
1/3 cup white chocolate, good quality, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened baker’s coconut flakes, finely chopped
1/3 cup slivered almonds, skins on, finely chopped
3 cups cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried orange peels
1 cup grated fresh green apples (from about 2 large green apples)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoons pure lemon extract, fine quality
1 teaspoon almond extract, fine quality
1-1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
Bake as directed above, using a 10-cup heavily greased bundt pan, baking the cake at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes to an internal temperature of about 210 degrees.

Large apple cake for a crowd by bakethiscake

Thank you for joining us for vintage cake baking using a treasured wooden spoon. I’m curious now. What memories does your wooden spoon hold?

Best,

Leslie

leslie-macchiarella-at-home-in-los-angeles-portrait-crop

Making Apple Core Martinis by bake this cake

Making Apple Core Martinis from apple simple syrup

You may also enjoy reading:

Homemade Natural Cranberry Sauce (bakethiscake)

Boston Sherry Cake (bakethiscake.com)

Black Banana Bread (bakethisbread.com)

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Grandma’s Extraordinary Apple Cake Recipe

    • Thanks Cathy! Ha, I know, right?- on the pre-whisk era? And I’m not so sure my grandmother’s idea of infusing flavors with a fruit tree stick actually works but, heck, I can see that I’ll have to give it a try now. 🙂

Please leave a comment (some delay in posting)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s