What are the best apples to use for apple cake?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.