6 or 8 weeks ago, I bought a bag of Granny Smith apples at MacPhersons because I'd been thinking about this cake. They've been clinking around in my fridge ever since, taking up too much room and generally driving me nuts. Too bruised and soft to eat out of hand, there's nothing to do with these but make cake. Twist my arm.
Forever ago, when I was about 24, I was on the board of our old church. I don't know WHAT they were thinking asking me to help make major decisions. One of my favorite memories of that group is that we always came around to food even if we started with budget or personnel. Jin was a great cook and ended up with a Red Wolf stove that Yancey salvaged from a job site. Shari always had prize-winning recipes up her sleeve, and this apple cake came from her. I think she got it from a Pasta and Co. cookbook. Wherever you are, Shari, Wyatt is grateful to you tonight.
Wyatt and I sat down to have a slice after Loretta went to bed and the cake had cooled a bit. Every night, right after dinner, Wyatt starts the countdown to Loretta's bedtime. Even though he's been a big brother for over two years, I think he still misses being the apple (or apple cake) of my eye. Sharing this sweet treat together made up for some of his loss, I think.
Some people hate nuts in baked goods. (I'm judgmental about this. I can't hide it.) If you're one of those, of course you can forgo the walnuts and decide you don't care what I think. I ran out of white sugar tonight, so subbed a cup of brown sugar. I think it turned out better. I also added a glaze and some chopped candied walnuts (from salad fixings last weekend) but the original recipe has nothing on top. You might want to leave it naked if you plan on eating it for breakfast. I'm having it for breakfast tomorrow, glaze and all. That's why the kids like it when I make cake or pie--they know nutrition is out the window for a couple days. If I'm really distracted, I might even let them eat it in front of the TV while I obsessively check for comments on this entry.
Santori Apple Cake
2 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 Tb. baking soda
1 1/2 ts. cinnamon
1 ts. salt
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 ts. vanilla extract
6 c. peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (I sliced mine in the food processor. Part of the reason this cake is so good is because the apples aren't diced. Even if you have to do it by hand, take the time to slice them thinly.)
1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts + a handful more for the top if you want
3 c. flour
For glaze: Combine 4 Tb. soft butter, 1 c. sifted powdered sugar, and 1 Tb. milk with a whisk.
Lightly butter a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 325 if using a metal pan and 300 if you're using glass.
In a large bowl, combine sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well and stir in apples and walnuts until they are coated with batter. Stir in flour. Batter will be firm. Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for about an hour and 15 minutes, checking after an hour. It's done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry. The cake will look much darker than when you put it in--don't worry. It's still moist as h-e-double hockey sticks.
Cool for about 30 minutes, then spread glaze. Scatter chopped walnuts or chopped candied walnuts over glaze. Cut into squares, sit down and eat one, and look lovingly at how much still remains in the pan.