Italian Apple Cake
You know how every family or household has “the cake”? Well, this is the cake in my New York City apartment. In advance of any birthday or snowy day, my roommates will ask, “Are you mak- ing the cake?” We’re all obsessed with it. Everyone has her own copy of the recipe and makes it frequently. I have no doubt that if you try this cake once, it will become the cake in your house, too. If you’re feeling adventurous, try replacing one of the apples with a pear!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour*
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
- 3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- Powdered sugar for serving
*For a gluten-free alternative, substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour plus ¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round pan and line with parchment paper. Grease again.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, water, vanilla, and vinegar. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon until just combined. Do not overmix. Batter will be very thick, but the apples will release moisture as they bake.
Arrange some of the apples in a circular pattern to cover most of the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Then gently fold in the remaining apples into the batter. Spoon the bat- ter into the pan, being careful not to disrupt the apple pat- tern on the bottom. Use a spatula or your fingertips to pat it evenly into the pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the center is set and the cake is lightly browned on top. Rotate the cake halfway through baking time.
Once cooled, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, and gently unmold so that the apple design is on top. Peel off the parchment paper. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.