It’s time for another Nanny recipe! This time, we’re talking cake.
In case you missed it, I recently received a massive stack of my Nanny’s handwritten recipes from my aunt Kim. Some of them are a bit difficult to interpret, others are totally bizarre, and all of them make me feel a little closer to my lovely late grandmother.
This apple bundt cake is something I can imagine Nanny toting to church events (she was very active in her church community) or serving for the ladies who frequently visited her home. Her recipe actually doesn’t specifically say to bake it in a bundt pan — and I bet it would be delicious in a variety of forms! — but when I read the recipe, a bundt just felt right.
Also, this weekend was a busy one in Atlanta. The Boy’s uncle got married (congrats, Lowell and Maiko!) so there was lots of family in town.
I offered to bake something, because I have a compulsion / sickness / obligation at this point to bake something whenever The Boy’s family gets together. Specifically, I was asked to bake something that would suit for a post-dinner gathering, and any leftovers would be used at brunch a few days later. This apple nut bundt cake fit the bill perfectly, if I do say so myself.
I also made a sugary glaze spiked with bourbon to really set it over the top. That didn’t seem to upset anyone.
This cake is fairly unique. It starts with combining sliced apples and sugar (simple enough). But then you let them sit until the apples macerate and begin to release some of their liquid. Then you strain out the apples and build the rest of the cake in the bowl with the sugary liquid.
I kept the apples in slices (because Nanny’s recipe card says to), but I sure wouldn’t be upset if you chopped the apples into smaller bite-sized pieces. Just depends if you want distinct slices of apple in your cake.
There’s something about sharing an old recipe from my family with The Boy’s growing family. It touches my heart, y’all. Cake + family + bourbon glaze = what life is all about.
Here’s the quick and dirty!
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thin (you could also chop them for smaller bites of apple)
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup pecans and/or walnuts, chopped (or as much as 2 cups, if you like a super nutty cake)
- Toss apples with sugar, and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Place a colander inside a large bowl. When the apples have released most of the moisture, pour the apple mixture into the colander. This will separate the apples while reserving the delicious sugary liquid. Remove the colander of apples and set aside.
- Add oil to the large bowl with the sugar liquid. Use a hand mixer to blend well. Add eggs one at a time, stirring between each addition, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 batches, stirring gently with a spoon between each addition.
- Stir in apples, coconut, and nuts. Batter will be thick!
- Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. (Mine took an hour to bake fully.)
- When cake is ready, remove from oven and cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool fully. Glaze or dust with sugar if desired (see notes below).
- I did make a few adjustments to Nanny’s recipe, based on my baking experience. For instance, Nanny doesn’t list baking soda or any other type of rising agent. But I have a feeling she just forgot to write it down. I also added cinnamon, for obvious reasons, and cut down on the amount of nuts. But I tried to stay as close as possible to the original!
- Glaze: Heat ½ stick butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and a splash of milk in small sauce pan until melted. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add a splash of vanilla (or bourbon!). Place cooled cake on serving dish. Use a pastry brush to apply the glaze liberally around the surface areas of the cake, or use a spoon to dribble glaze on the cake.