What I Loved
This was a simple apple cake that I was able to throw together quickly. With some solid tweaks, it has potential to be a delicious cake. I’d strongly recommend making the lemon sauce. It added depth to an otherwise simple flavor profile. Overall, the cake came together as an easy dessert that I’d happily make again.
Original Apple Cake Recipe
For The Apple Cake:
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 tablespoons of Cottolene
- 1 egg well-beaten
- 7/8 cup milk
- 4 tart, fine flavored apples
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Process: Mix and sift the dry ingredients in the order given; rub in cottolene with tips of fingers; add beaten egg to milk and add slowly to first mixture stirring constantly, then beat until dough is smooth. Spread dough evenly in a shallow, square layer cake pan to the depth of one inch. Core, pare and cut apples in eighths, lay them in parallel rows on top of dough, pressing the sharp edge into the dough half the depth of the apples. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over top. Bake in hot oven twenty-five to thirty minutes. Serve hot with butter as a luncheon dish, as a dessert for dinner with Lemon Sauce.
For The Lemon Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups boiling water
- Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Few grains salt
Process: Mix arrowroot, sugar and salt, pour on boiling water slowly, stirring constantly. Cook over hot water twenty minutes, stirring constantly the first five minutes, afterwards occasionally. Remove from range. Add lemon juice, rind, and butter in small bits. Beat well and serve hot.
Follow the recipe as directed. You might be wondering, “What the heck is Cottolene?” Cottolene is a shortening that was common in the time period. It is similar to Crisco today. If you want to go the shortening route, just use Crisco. However, I subbed out the shortening for butter. I melted it and added it to the egg and milk mixture. This worked really well. Finally, I’d reserve half the cinnamon sugar mixture. I’d put half the sugar in the batter, and I’d sprinkle the other half on top of the sliced apples.
With the arrowroot in the lemon sauce, just use cornstarch. I reserved 1/4 cup of the water and made a slurry with 2 tsp of cornstarch. I boiled the sauce for the 20 minutes as directed. Then I added my cornstarch slurry and boiled another few minutes. This thickened the sauce slightly, but just enough.
Bake the recipe at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Check for doneness.
What I Learned
I wanted more apple flavor in this recipe. I believe the apples were smaller in 1915. When I used four apples in the recipe, I wasn’t able to layer them properly. There were way too many apples. However, two apples should do the job. You should thinly slice one apple to layer on top, and you should dice the other apple and mix it into the cake batter. This should ensure a solid apple taste in every bite.
I was very hesitant to add the lemon sauce. It was one more thing I had to cook, and I wasn’t sure it would actually go with an apple cake. However, I’m happy I made the lemon sauce. It was very bright and added an acidic punch that the cake needed. Enjoy!
Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners, A Book of Recipes, 1915
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