Thank goodness fall is here. Now we can bake apple cakes.
We wait all year for the chance to bring out our favorite apple cake recipes. The warm kitchen, the house filled with the aroma of apples, spice and butter: an apple cake is a little bit of oven-baked autumn love.
It all starts with the apple, but with so many apple varieties on the market, it’s hard to know which type to use.
Here’s a hint: don’t judge by how the apple tastes fresh. The sweetest apples often lose their sweetness when cooked. Instead, use proven cooking varieties. Rome, Jonathan, Granny Smith and York are usually available at the supermarket. Farmers markets, roadside stands and local orchards will have other cooking apples, such as Liberty, Arkansas Black, Gravenstein and PaulaRed.
They don’t have to look perfect for apple cake, so save pretty apples for the fruit bowl. Peel them, cut out any bumps and bruises, then slice.
Then pick the recipe that hits your sweet spot. Philadelphia Apple cake, sometimes called “Jewish Apple Cake,” is dairy-free. Apple-Studded Brown Butter Coffee Cake and Apple-Walnut Coffee Cake with Sugar Drizzle are as good for dessert as for brunch. Easy Apple Dapple Cake has been a home-cooking standard for half a century. Apple Pound Cake matches tart bits of apple with the rich, buttery taste and texture of a good pound cake, plus a cinnamon-sugar swirl. If you’re craving pie instead, try baking our Leatherstocking Cheddar Pie.
Autumn is three months long—that’s plenty of time to bake them all.
—By Nicki Pendleton Wood