Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dutch Apple Cake: She’s No Beauty Queen

Some girls are attractive on the INSIDE.
Take this girl to the party. She may not be the most attractive thing there, but she’ll never steer you wrong. Aunt Lee’s Dutch Apple Cake strikes the perfect balance of sweet to tart and hits every possible indulgent craving on a cold bright fall day. Tons of fresh lemon juice combined with sour apples allow the pillowy butter cake to really shine.
This cake has been served up at every fall family event I’ve attended since I was knee-high to an acorn, and for good reason. It pleases young and old, fussy foodies and meat-and-potato types alike. It plays well with just about any food at the potluck, and it can rightfully be served as dessert, breakfast, brunch or late-night snack. It can be served at room temperature, warm or cold. I like it best straight out of the fridge with a big milk chaser.
This is the cake that my daughter once accidentally stepped in on her way out of the minivan. Even with a full imprint of her filthy sneaker, the family gave serious consideration to serving it anyway. I’m pleased to report that in the end, we did throw it away, but it took deep reserves of will power not to simply cut around the footprint and dig into the cake’s morbid remains.
Though I never met my father’s Aunt Lee, knowing only this one lovely detail about her, I’ve come to adore her memory. Thanks Aunt Lee, whoever you were. You make fall my favorite time to bake.
Aunt Lee’s Dutch Apple Cake

4 lbs sour apples (8-10 large. Granny Smith works well, but you can use any firm, tart apple), peeled, cored, and sliced
1 1/2 cups sugar, separated
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, core and slice apples into a large bowl. Immediately combine with lemon juice so the apples don’t brown.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and 1 cup of the sugar.

Add eggs, milk, flour and baking powder. Mix on low to blend, scraping the bottom and sides of the mixer as needed.

Pour half of the batter into an ungreased 11x13-inch glass baking pan.

Spread apple mixture over the top of the batter, and pour any remaining juices over the top.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar over the top of the apples. Don’t worry – the apple and cake will absorb the sugar as it bakes.

Top with the rest of the batter, using a spatula to spread every last morsel of cake over the apples. Don’t worry if it looks lumpy – that’s part of the charm of this cake.

Bake for at least 1 1/4 hours at 350 degrees, until top is golden brown.

If you can wait, the cake is better if served cold or at room temperature.

Well wrapped, the cake also can be frozen for up to a month.


  1. This cake sounds absolutely perfect! I can't wait to try it! I think this is one recipe I'm going to have to pin. ;)

    Stopping by from Mama Kat's!

  2. Wow. My youngest loves apples and this just might be the treat for his birthday later in the month.

  3. Sounds delish! I liked the way you presented "her" as well.

  4. This looks and sounds like something I made recently for the holidays. Yum. Thx for sharing!!


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