Cooking or baking with fresh autumn apples has always filled my home with memories.
As soon as the smell of cinnamon and apples fills the air, I can just picture the old apple orchard on the farm with all of the snarled tree branches loaded with red and green fruit. I remember the fun of working with my siblings and cousins filling our bushel baskets. I also recall my two oldest male cousins having “real man” contests. One of which was seeing who could eat the most green apples. It was a good thing that our outhouse had multiple holes.
After the apples were picked we would take some into grandma and she would work her magic. It fascinated me to watch her old arthritic hands quickly make work of the apple peelings using just her paring knife. Her knife skills were so acute that her peelings were razor thin. Thinner than any I could do using the apple peeler tool.
Once the apples were peeled she’d set to work taking out any wormy portions and slicing the apples. Sometimes she just quarter the apples and cook them up for jelly. The red peelings made the jelly a lovely pink color.
Those farm apples had to last us all winter so most of them were canned, frozen or made into sauce and then canned. However, while all the canning was taking place there was also baking.
One of my favorite apple recipes is Fresh Apple Cake. This cake actually gets better for several days after it has been baked. It is best served warm right out of the oven with sweetened cream.
Fresh Apple Cake
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups diced fine fresh apples
In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar, margarine and egg. Slowly add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk. Add apples and vanilla.
Pour batter into a greased 9 X 13 pan.
Mix together ¼ cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle on top of batter.
Bake for 30 -35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in center of cake. When done toothpick will come out clean.