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What are the best apples to use for apple cake?

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I was just wondering which apples are best to use in an apple cake. Also, I have a recipe that says to cook the cake at 300 for 2 hours. Does that sound right? I know some pound cakes take 1 hour and 15 minutes, but I have never baked a cake that took two hours.

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  1. I like to use Granny Smith--good flavor and stands up to baking well.


    1. c

      I just got some Northern Spy apples at the farmer's market in Santa Monica. Made great apple cake and were a wonderful pancake topping cooked in caramel.
      Two hours sounds a bit much to me, even at 300. What else is in the cake that might merit the long baking time?

      1. As far as apple variety goes, I generally use whatever's handy--except Red Delicious--I just don't like them.

        As for your apple cake, how is it composed? Is it a cake with sliced apples as a topping? Is it a cake with chunks of raw apple throughout? It's really hard to say without seeing the recipe. Recipes I have for such cakes generally bake at about 350F for 60-75 minutes--and that's to allow for cooking the apples. Your recipe goes at a lower heat for a longer time. Perhaps the cake has more delicate ingredients that require the lower temperature, so it takes longer to bake.

        1. Granny Smith apples will hold their shape in baking but have (I think) a less apple-y flavor than MacIntoshes which unfortunately tend to go to mush when they are baked. So it sort of depends on what you are baking and how important the shape retention is. If you want to bake with apples that don't have much flavor at all, grate some orange rind over them and sprinkle with the juice.

          If you are baking a cake for two hours you may have to lay a piece of foil loosely over the top for the last part of the time. A very large dense cake like a fruitcake is sometimes set in a larger pan holding an inch of water for the first part of a long baking. Your problem with a very long baking is going to be that the center stays raw while the edges get overdone.

          1. I like Granny Smiths and Jonathans for baking. When I was a child we used to use Winesaps, but I haven't seen those in a long time.

            1. Of the supermarket varieties I'd say Granny Smith. If you can get obscure kinds, I'd vote for Bramley's Seedlings. But it is highly unlikely you'll find those. I find Gala too sweet to use in baking.

              1. I've been making a cornmeal apple upside-down cake [from Epicurious.com] that calls for Braeburn and Golden Delicious, and both kinds of apple turn out real well and nicely caramelized, especially the Golden Delicious.
                The instructions for the baking of your cake are really unusual.

                1. Without more info, it's hard to say if the cooking time is right or not. If you like lots of apples in your cake, here's a wonderful recipe from Patricia Wells' The Paris Cookbook that's foolproof and really allows the flavor of the apple to shine through. Patricia was able to coax this recipe out of the lady who sells apples in the farmer's market near the Eiffel Tower. It calls for a more acidic apple, such as Cox's Orange Pippin or McIntosh, Cortland, Gala or Gravenstein. You'll be surprised by the small amount of batter (just enough to hold the apples together.)

                  THE APPLE LADY'S APPLE CAKE Serves 8

                  1/2 c. flour
                  1/3 c. sugar
                  1 Tbls. baking powder
                  1/8 tsp. sea salt
                  1/2 tsp. vanilla
                  2 large eggs, beaten
                  2 Tbls. vegetable oil
                  1/3 c. whole milk
                  4 baking apples (about 2 lbs.), cored, peeled, cut into thin wedges

                  1/3 c. sugar
                  1 egg, beaten
                  3 Tbls. unsalted butter, melted

                  Preheat oven to 400 and butter a 9" springform pan.

                  In bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir. Combine all wet ingredients, then add to dry ingredients in bowl and stir well. Add apples, stir to coat w/ batter. Pour into the pan and bake about 25 minutes, until golden.

                  While the cake is baking, combine the topping ingredients and stir to blend. Remove cake from the oven, pour the topping over and continue baking until golden brown and firm, approx. 10 minutes or so.

                  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, run knife around the sides of pan, then release and remove the sides of the pan, leaving the cake on the base. Serve at room temp., cut into wedges, with good vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Yum! P.S. I've had good results using Gala apples.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Lauren J.

                    there's a recipe for a 5 hour apple cake on the learning channels site....from their take home chef series

                  2. many recipe call 'tart apple' or granny smith.
                    but there are tons of different kind of apple every where.
                    so I think It's ok to use what ever you like.

                    If you want to stick to recipe, get the specific kind of apple.

                    2hours baking is lo-ng time !

                    1. I like Northern Spy and Jonagold apples in pie--they've held up their shape quite well. For apple cake, I'd used Granny Smith in the past, because they are tart and keep their shape. But lately I've found that their tartness seems to be in lieu of good flavor. Granted, the G. Smiths have been from a supermarket and I got the other two at a local orchard. But you might try the Jonagolds. Even supermarket Jonagolds have a nice flavor that I think would nicely complement your cake.