quick note: added pictures to the zha jiang mian post from last december! back to the scheduled programming.
this, the yee family fresh apple cake (we tend to just call it apple cake), is a family favorite. when my mom asks for dessert, she doesn’t want anything new, and it’s going to be between this cake, blondies, brownies or joanne chang’s chocolate chip cookies. she thinks it’s great for dessert, though i’ve been known to eat it for breakfast. you can pass it off as healthy and hearty enough for breakfast; it looks wholesome, even though it’s kind of not, but who cares when it tastes so delicious?
the yee family fresh apple cake has been to yosemite, where my extended family from my mom’s side went for a huge family trip 10+ years ago. this was the trip where a certain relative hogged the bathrooms to use his army of rice cookers, a number of aunties and uncles climbed half dome and tried not to die, and when we had a brunch at the ahwanee that was so expensive that my cousins went back to grab juice pouches and granola bars to try to make up for what they didn’t eat. that was probably this cake’s greatest adventure, but it’s been enjoyed at countless other potlucks and birthday parties.
you may think that the batter is thick; it’s supposed to be. you may think that the batter to apple ratio is way off, and that there’s way too many apples; it’s supposed to be. don’t worry about it, this apple cake is very forgiving, and it will all work out in the end!
on adaptations from the original recipe: the sugar has already been cut down from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups, so i don’t suggest cutting it much more than what’s here (maybe to 1 1/3 cups, but no more, and i can’t vouch for it). i’ve also taken the liberty of not sifting ingredients, since who wants to dirty another dish? it’s not one of those nitpicky things (have you met my arch nemesis, the macaron?), so the sifting is fine left out.
the cinnamon and vanilla give the cake a really dark hue that’s broken up only by the crunchy nuts and the moist, cream-colored bits of apple. the nuts add a bit of a crunch, but they don’t detract from the apples. it’s well spiced, and i love how much apple is in here. don’t get me started on apple fritters that don’t actually have chunks of apple or that even taste remotely of the lovely fall (NOT spring or summer, unless you like mealy apples like my step grandma) fruit.
back to the cake. moist. appley. sweet, but not too much so. cinnamony. fantastic. go bake it.
Yee Family Fresh Apple Cake
from Aunty Lily
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (cut down from 2 cups originally)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups diced apples (no need to peel)
1 cup nuts, chopped (We like toasted walnuts)
Beat the eggs until foamy. Add the oil and sugar; mix until well-combined. Add the dry ingredients; mix just until combined. Fold in the vanilla, apples and nuts until just combined. Turn into a greased and floured 9×13″ pan. Bake at 375F for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs and the top is crunchy.