Wednesday, November 22, 2017


I had my heart set on apple picking this fall and trying some new recipes along with making one of my favorite fall dinners;  pork chops with apples and onions, apple sauce on the side and apple nut cake for dessert. An apple lovers dream! I will have to wait until next year to pick my own, but lucky for me supermarkets stock locally grown varieties in abundance and for a reasonable price. Each apple has is own unique qualities depending on what you want to make with it. So, after a trip to the supermarket and 3 varieties of apples ( Cortland, Empire & Granny Smith ) I decided to make mom's fall favorite:  Apple Nut Cake. The cinnamon and nutmeg flavored batter combined with fresh apples and nuts makes for a super moist cake. I usually bake it in a 9x13 pan and cut large squares, douse with powdered sugar and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to complete. Although this cake tastes great warm right out of the oven, I think it is best eaten a couple of days later when the apple flavor and moistness is at its peak. 

Did you know that New York grows more apple varieties than any other state? In fact, there are approximately 10 000,000 apple trees that produce enough apples to bake 500 million apple pies! 
The New York Apple Association's website is a good resource to familiarize yourself with the varieties and what they are best used for.

This all-purpose apple was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, the USA in 1898. It is a juicy, sweet apple with a hint of tartness. Excellent multipurpose apple for eating, baking, sauces and salads. Freezes well. 

A cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious. Firm textured and sweet-tart makes this apple a great all purpose apple good for juice, sauces, pies, baking, and eating. 

Granny Smith 

One of the most popular apples, Granny Smith's are a bit sour but a good all-purpose baking apple. Is best when paired with sweeter spicier varieties to create a balanced pie.

Tips for Baking with Apples

Select apple varieties that are in season. If the apples are out of season, they may have been in storage and will not be as flavorful and juicy as fresh-picked apples. Look for firm apples that have no bruises or bug holes. Choose apples that look fresh, are bright in color and have a fresh apple aroma. Don’t choose unripe apples that are hard and have too much green or yellow color for their variety. If you're slicing apples and don't want the exposed pieces to turn brown, dunk the slices in a bowl of three parts water to one part lemon juice. When baking a pie, use a mix of sweet and tart apples to ensure a balanced flavor.

Mom's Apple Nut Cake

1 cup butter
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon ( I always add more - I just love cinnamon!)
2 tsp vanilla 
3 cups peeled chopped apples
1 cup chopped nuts 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan. 

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Gradually add sifted flour, baking powder,salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in vanilla. Fold in apples and nuts and bake for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean from center of cake.