So the apples sat around a little longer than I will admit, with Desi dropping broad hints ever so often about how he was going to have to throw them away soon. This past weekend I decided to surprise him. But instead of a pie, I baked up this rather low-on-guilt, delicious cake.
I worked from a recipe I found in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, veganizing it and making it healthier than the original. My Apple Cake is made with whole-wheat pastry flour, one of my favorite baking flours because it virtually eliminates the need to use all-purpose flours in most baked-good recipes, and it is tender and moist with the delicious juiciness of the apples and the crunch of walnuts baked right inside. If you are looking for a kid-friendly and adult-friendly recipe, you couldn't do better.
This cake contains a cup of sugar, but I found that because my apples were already sweet, I could have used less. If you want to, use 3/4 of a cup and add 1/4 cup of applesauce to add some moisture back in. This is a useful tip for anyone who wants to cut down on sugar in a recipe. Sugar acts as a "wet" ingredient in baked goods, because when it melts it becomes liquid. When you remove sugar from a recipe, you remove moisture and your baked good can turn out dry. Applesauce provides a great option when substituting some of the sugar because it adds tenderness and moisture to a recipe. Don't overdo it, though. Replacing one-fourth of the sugar with applesauce is fine, but replacing three-fourths of it is not and is going to show in your results.
This Apple Cake is going to be one I make again and again. Enjoy, all!
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (sub with half regular whole-wheat and half all-purpose if you can't find whole-wheat pastry flour)
2 1/2 cups very finely chopped apples (about 1 1/2 medium apples. I used Granny Smith which is perfect in this recipe)
1 cup sugar (if you want to cut down, substitute a quarter of the sugar with an equal amount of applesauce)
1/3 cup of canola or other flavorless oil
2 tbsp flaxmeal + 6 tbsp warm water. Mix well.
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp of mixed powdered spices-- I ground up some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in my coffee grinder.
1 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped
Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Beat together the oil, sugar and vanilla for about a minute to aerate.
Add the flaxmeal mixture, beat for a few more seconds to mix, and then add the flour mixture.
Stir with a spatula to get the ingredients well-mixed. The dough will be very stiff. Add the apples and the walnuts and mix well.
Pour the batter into an 8-inch oiled and floured square pan (or use a round cake pan if that's what you have). To make the cake easier to unmold, line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and then oil and flour. I didn't, and trust me, unmolding this cake from the pan was a small battle.
Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes. Unmold and continue cooling.