I confess: this cake was not made for Halloween, and in fact, was eaten well before Halloween arrived. But since it’s Halloween, and since the words “Healthy” and “Halloween” go so well together, I’m going to pretend the two are somehow related.
Speaking of things that have come and gone, our Orchard Cottage apples have just about been picked clean. For a while there, we had more apples than we could eat, and my mind was constantly racing for creative things I could do with them.
One concept that struck my fascination was apple cake. I wanted to make a cake that was not too sweet, heavy on the apples, and the perfect pairing with afternoon tea.
In my incessant Googling, I came across something called a “Jewish Apple Cake”. Its Jewish origin is a bit dubious, and the name probably has more to do with its lack of dairy products than its association with Jewish tradition. According to a self-proclaimed “wise old Jew” on chowhound, “the apple cake made by Eastern European Jews is pretty similar to apple cake made by Polish Catholics and the one made by Orthodox Russians.”
Whatever its origin, the principal is the same: the Jewish Apple Cake is a moist bundt cake, with a layer of apple in the middle, and another layer on top. While the traditional recipe may be dairy free, it does contain eggs. But in all other respects this was just the cake I was looking for. So I improvised.
For the batter, I adapted the recipe for Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes from Veganomicon, cutting down the sugar by half and omitting the frosting. I then filled a 9″ round pan with half the batter, then a layer of sliced apples, then the rest of the batter, and finally, another layer of apples.
This cake had the strange effect of getting better with age. After the cake cooled, I had my first bite, which was fine, but a bit more muffin-like than cake-like. In truth, I was a little disappointed. But the day after that, the cake had taken on a much moister, crumbly texture. And after another day, it was magically even better. It went really well with a cup of tea, and was even extra delicious with a little blob of peanut butter on top.
The verdict: this is a fabulous cake to have around for snacks and tea time. For cake, its farely low-cal and low fat. Each serving (based on 8 servings) has about 209 Calories and 5.4g fat. But best of all, it’s delicious and chock full of apples. Just look at this cross section:
Vegan Apple Cake
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/6 cup canola oil
1/6 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp preserves (apricot or orange is good)
1 Tbsp water (or more if necessary)
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper (here’s how).
Whisk together the soy milk and lemon juice, and allow to sit for a minute to curdle.
Add the oil, applesauce, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat well. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir only until just moistened.
Pour half of the batter into the cake pan and spread it uniformly across the bottom. Layer half of the apples on top of the batter. Add the rest of the batter and then another layer of apples.
Mix the water and preserves to form a spreadable glaze. Baste it over the top of the cake. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool before serving.
Serves 8. Per serving: 209 Calories; 3.6g Protein; 5.4g Total Fat; 37.1g Total Carbohydrates