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apple cake/brownies

Been searching the internet for an apple-based cake or brownie recipe that fulfills these requirements:
1. portable- for a picnic
2. liked by teens- 25, 11th graders

Got a favourite you'd like to share? Ideally, i could be cut ahead of time and not contain any booze (that's for me, post-fieldtrip)

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  1. My two favorite brownies are either the Supernatural brownies (chewier) or mancatcher brownies (super chocolate fudge-y).



    I add a tsp of espresso powder to either, To make them easily portable, bake them in cupcake papers. You also get mostly chewy crust that way. You also don't have to worry about cutting them ahead of time.

    For the apple cake, are you looking for a light cake, or heavier more like muffin/quick breads? Do you want chunks of apples or just the flavor with applesauce or slivers of apples?

    1. The Supernatural Brownies chowser linked are fantastic, and I'm all for a brownie (mancatchers, what a name) that uses cocoa powder. I also like these Outrageous Brownies, from Ina Garten, makes 20 large, very portable brownies:


      I have a really great apple cake recipe but I'll wait for a response to see what you're looking for. I dare say that teens would go for brownies over apple cake, though.

      1. Here is my favorite Apple Cake recipe that is my 14 year-old son's favorite. Many of his friends love this too, but recently I made both brownies and apple cake for a party he had, and the brownies disappeared before the Apple Cake. The cake is one of those cakes that is better the second or third day.

        APPLE CAKE

        Pare and slice thinly 6 small Macintosh apples and mix with ¼ cup cinnamon sugar (do not use any other apple types). Set aside. Butter and flour a bundt pan extremely thoroughly, or use a tube (angel food) pan. (I find the Wilton easy release mixture works very, very well. Heat oven to 350 degrees
        (I make this batter in a single bowl using a whisk. Easy clean up!)
        -Beat 4 large eggs and add 1 ¾ cups of sugar
        Add in:
        -1 cup vegetable oil
        -¼ cup of orange juice
        -1 teaspoon of vanilla
        Then mix in:
        -3 cups of flour
        -3 teaspoons baking powder
        -½ teaspoon of salt.

        Use a little less that one third of the batter and drop by spoonfuls on the bottom of the prepared pan. It should just cover the bottom of the pan. Distribute ½ of the apples over that, and use just enough of the batter to cover the apples. Repeat with the remaining batter/apples, ending with a layer of batter. This batter is very sticky and is best dropped by small spoonfuls over the apples since it doesn’t flow.
        Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
        Let cool completely in the pan before removing, otherwise it is liable to fall apart. Dust well with confectioner’s sugar. This cake improves with age and is best the next day – or even the day after!

        (I have a neighbor who requested this recipe and then made it with melted and cooled butter, which she said was also quite tasty.)

        38 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          Ooh, now I have your apple cake recipe! This weekend, I swear, and I'll try the melted butter variation.

          Do you know of the raw apple cake recipe from "An American Table," by Ronald Johnson?

          I like the apple bars and the apple coffee cake recipes posted here also; perfect timing for apple season.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            No, I don't know that recipe nor do I have that book. Is it good? Want to share?

            1. re: roxlet

              Oh oh, no Ronald Johnson? One of the very best. He was a poet and the books are a delight to read as well as cook from. The American Table, Simple Fare, and Company Fare. Must be available for a song from ABEbooks or similar.

              1. re: buttertart

                The American Table just arrived from abebooks yesterday. Duh, I forgot I ordered it and I have yet to take a good look. I think I got it for $1 + shipping!

                1. re: roxlet

                  Excellent, I was just getting ready to send you the recipe. I use macs for that cake and let it rest overnight before eating, if it's at all possible to wait.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Impossible to wait longer than overnight. Ronald mentions waiting a second week, but there's no way I can wait that long...it really is great for breakfast.

                    2. re: bushwickgirl

                      Would other apples work? I have a bunch of Macouns and Romas I'd like to use up. And I would just hide it for a week since we already have an an apple pie and a gingerbread that I made. The downside of losing my house guests -- not enough people to eat my baking!

                      1. re: roxlet

                        Any nice tart but not too firm baking apple would be fine. When you mentioned Romas, did you mean Romes? I use those for pie in season, as part of a combo of apples. The Rome might be a better choice than a Macoun, a little more tart and firmer.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            Me makee this today! I have 2 little Bundt-y tube pans (Kaiser, from TJMaxx a while ago) and will make it in those so I have an intact cake to serve next Saturday as part of dessert for friends. roxlet, got the cake release stuff - from Amazon - it came in a box big and long enough to ship a half-dozen full-sized umbrellas. !!!

                            1. re: buttertart

                              What kind of cake release stuff? Aerosol can, flour/shortening blend? Or something else?

                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                It comes in a squeeze bottle. It's an oil/starch blend basically - you need about a tb to do a pan. Can order it from Amazon, it's also apparently available in Michael's and other stores catering to the cake decorating set (I can't stand the candle scent in those stores so don't patronize them. Really works.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Ok, I've seen it. Yes, I don't like the fakey candle scent either.

                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                    Horrid. This stuff would almost be worth it - I ordered it from Amazon and the box it came in was humongous, very silly really.

                      2. re: roxlet

                        Make the Kansas mashed potato soufflé from it (American Table) - you can make it ahead, no last-minute scramble to mash the spuds and get them to the table hot, which is something that really drives me nuts. I once left it in the oven too long and it browned all over - THAT was good...

                        1. re: buttertart

                          I was almost going to make that tonight, but I'm making stew, so maybe tomorrow!

                        1. re: alkapal

                          You'd love his books too, alkadear.

                    3. re: bushwickgirl

                      I've got a co-worker's birthday Friday, she's not a chocolate fan, so I'm going to try this, with a few variations. Thought of doing the melted butter, but browning it a bit first to amp up the butterscotchiness. Also thought I'd saute the diced apples first, add a bit of brown sugar and let cool. I was thinking that would ensure sweet and caramelized apples in the cake.

                      Finally, I plan on glazing with maple syrup glaze.

                      Anyone forsee any issues with any of these variations?

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        Well, I made the apple cake from An American Table, and the consensus was that everyone liked the other apple cake that I make better. This one was declared to be too damp, and in general, the texture was not that much of a hit. I loved the pecans in it, so now I am thinking of adding some chopped pecans to the apple layers in my cake...

                        1. re: roxlet

                          I'll definitely try yours. I really like the RJ one however, it's better when it sits for a few days. The pecans are great in it, hadn't thought of putting the two together.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            The American Table apple cake is a very moist cake, more apples than anything, with just a hint of batter to bind. It really needs to age. I put golden raisins in it once time, with the pecans and cut back on the apples by a cup, IIRC. I want to try that with your recipe, roxlet. I'm big on raisins and apples together.

                            Btw, the apple cake recipe, Carol's Jewish apple cake, posted bottom of thread by Divamac, is remarkably similar to roxlet's cake.

                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                              I thought of throwing some dried currants in too, made an apple pie with them in it and it was wonderful. Next time.

                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                Yes, I noticed that too. The one I make has two layers of apples, and Carol's has only one. Plus mine has more sugar and fewer eggs, but with the addition of orange juice, the flavor profile must be similar.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  I like your two layers; the more apples, the merrier.

                                  And now here's yet another version, which is also similar, but has the addition of maple syrup, raisins and walnuts, from Elinor Klivans and somehow ended up in my inbox:


                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                    That Elinor Klivans has some nice books out, Fearless Baking is a favorite - speaking of brownies, there's a brownie/caramel/choc chip cookie dough on top I used to make for Christmas for a friend in it. Ouch!

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      I have heard good things about Fearless Baking, may have to...mm, invest.

                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                        Should be able to get it cheap cheap, I think mine was from the Strand when they were at the Seaport (which was nice for lower Manh shopping excursions) and was $3.98 or something. Used sellers would defiinitely have it.

                                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                                            Was thinking of getting Wolfert's World of Food and RLB's Christmas cookies - $11.00 for both on ABE incl shipping.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              I bought the RLB Christmas Cookies for a rabid Christmas cookie baking friend a few years ago; I recommend it. I just bought Wolfert's Mediterrean Cooking a few weeks ago, haven't cooked from it yet but lot's of great recipes.

                                              Go for it.

                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                I have both RLB's Xmas cookies and Wolfert's Med Cooking. Both great books and collection-worthy, IMO.

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  Do either of you have World of Food? I have had Med Cooking since it came out.

                                  2. re: roxlet

                                    "Jewish Apple Cake" is a fairly standard recipe. Many of the recipes for it are very similar. According to Smitten Kitchen, there was a recipe in one of the women's magazines in the 60's or 70's which is where her mother originally got the recipe. Most of the recipes on the internet are most likely derived from that, most of them vary only in small ways, like using 2 tsp cinnamon instead of a T, or 5 eggs instead of 4, or adding or substituting some nutmeg for some of the cinnamon.

                                    The oil is to keep it kosher. Instead of butter.

                          2. I think you're asking for apple bars, is that right? If so, here is a favorite--uses 2 cups of chopped UNpeeled apple, so it's quick and easy. Very very good too. Don't worry that there's no liquid--the apples bake up in the thick batter and keep the bars moist.
                            I don't roll the bars in powdered sugar--I just leave them in the pan as I do brownies.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: blue room

                              I also recommend this recipe. I shredded the apples in the food processor, and the texture and flavor were great. No walnuts, because I don't like them, and agree that there's no need for powdered sugar.

                            2. If you want an apple cake, this Apple Coffee Cake With Crumble Topping is really good and cuts into nice, firm squares.

                              1. I make a cake with leftover applesauce, it's a sheet spice cake with burnt butter icing. Very transportable, the icing really holds up.


                                1. oooh ooh <hand shooting up>

                                  i just saw what looks to be a most delightfully delicious apple cake with spiced cream cheese frosting! http://lizzygoesdutch.blogspot.com/20...

                                  my cousin penny has an awesome fresh apple and nut cake that i'll find the recipe for.... everyone loves it!

                                  1. After living close to Placerville Ca for 20+ years, we became fond of taking the kids to Apple Hill Orchards there. They're known for their large variety of apples and their recipes are famous. I bought a cookbook from them a hundred years ago :)

                                    their apple cake is stupid good!


                                    1. Along these lines, when I was a kid (about 11), someone gave me an apple cake recipe. It used chunks of apples, and was cooked in a bundt pan. The outside was sort of crackly crunchy, with a buttery/caramelly flavor, and the apple chunks were caramelized/gooey on the outside. The cake interior I remember as like a lightly seasoned spice cake. Definitely not a honey cake.

                                      Of course, I lost the recipe and haven't found a replacement. Anyone know of anything close, let me know.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sbp

                                        Upside down cake? I make one with apples and cranberries on the top/bottom.

                                        OOPs just saw bundt pan. But maybe something in that vein.

                                      2. KAF's fudge brownies are awesome and they're super-fast to put together.


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                          Your photo? Nice...looks like a tasty recipe to boot.

                                          You know, I just checked out the Fat Witch brownie recipe this morning, and it appears to be just like many other brownie recipes. What's the big deal? Needs some ooomph, I think.

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              I was never very impressed with Fat Witch brownies, so I'm not that surprised their recipe doesn't look like much.

                                          1. Here's the Ronald Johnson apple cake recipe in case anyone wants it - it is great.
                                            4 c apples peeled and diced (small dice)
                                            1 c chopped pecans (could use walnuts, I had some pecans frozen from last year)*
                                            1 c butter, softened
                                            1 c sugar - cream together
                                            1 tsp vanilla - add to creamed mix
                                            Spices (calls for 2 tsp cinnamon, I used 1/4 tsp mace, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp connamon because I'm not very fond of cinnamon) - add these to the creamed mix too
                                            Add 2 eggs 1 at a time
                                            Sift together and add intermittently with the apples and nuts (batter will be fairly stiff and hard to stir):
                                            2 c flour
                                            2 tsp baking soda
                                            1/2 tsp salt
                                            Bake at 350 deg F for appx 1 hour (until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean) in prepared Bundt or other non-false-bottomed tube pan.
                                            Cool briefly in pan and turn out.
                                            Apparently it ages well - it's also great just made.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              Is this the recipe for the raw apple cake?

                                              1. re: paprkutr

                                                The one that Bushwickgirl has praised, yes.

                                                  1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                    As opposed to applesauce cakes, I believe - the apples aren't cooked except in the cake. The recipe is just titled "Apple Cake" in his book ("The American Table", a great book, everybody should own a copy, even Canadians like us).

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          "Why... raw apple cake" - T'was my question for a number of years as well; I thought it was a somewhat odd but endearing recipe title.

                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                Forgot to add why I put the * after the pecans - the ones I used came from Landgraf Farms in OK - ordered them because I was making Christmas cookies for my nephew who is very allergic to peanuts, and this company farms/processes own pecans only. The people are very nice too. (Not in any way to be taken as medical advice.)

                                              3. It just occurred to me to say that if anyone makes one of the dense spicy apple bars/cakes a really nice accompaniment is hard sauce. Old fashioned maybe, but so dated it's maybe in the category of "everything old is new again" ?

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  I haven't thought of hard sauce in ages. Especially if serving the cake or bars warm, absolutely.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    The way I make hard sauce, don't know how appropriate it would be for teens ;-)

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Oh yes, boozy--it's downright festive, Christmasy.

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        I had forgotten the for grade 11 students angle...oops!

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          Just got a baking cookbook from a local popular bakery owner, and she had an applesauce bar recipe that calls for applejack, apple brandy or dark rum added to the batter. I think I might just add that to my recipe card!

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              Duh! I took two books out of the library, the local one (Tate's Bakeshop Cookbook) and Dorie Greenspan Baking From My Home to Yours and it's in the Dorie Greenspan book. Called Applesauce Spice Bars. I have to run out to an appt but can paraphrase in a couple of hours when I get back, unless it's on Epicurious?

                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                No need for me thanks, I've had that book since it came out (and love it), but others might like to have it.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  I don't have time to summarize it, but Amazon has the recipe up here:

                                                                  1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                                                    Thanks so much for doing my work for me. Now I can copy it too, I only borrowed the book, although she's becoming my favorite cookbook author.

                                                  2. Doesn't look like the OP returned, but in the spirit of sharing, I am posting my mom's Jewish Apple Cake recipe which was my favorite dessert as a child. It's the first thing I ever baked, and I have many happy memories of helping her make this cake. She always made extra apples and cinnamon for me to eat as the cake baked, and let me lick the bowl every time. She also made it in loaf pans and sent it to me when I was away at college almost every week. It improves the couple of days after baking and makes for a wonderful breakfast treat. Might have to whip one up this weekend.

                                                    Carol's Jewish Apple Cake

                                                    4 cups apples, chopped (4-6 apples)
                                                    2 tsp cinnamon
                                                    5 Tbsp. sugar
                                                    3 cups flour
                                                    3 tsp baking powder
                                                    2 cups sugar
                                                    1 cup vegetable oil
                                                    5 large eggs
                                                    ¼ cup orange juice
                                                    2 ½ tsps vanilla
                                                    3T dark brown sugar

                                                    Preheat oven to 350*.

                                                    In a medium bowl, mix together cinnamon and 5 T. sugar. Add to chopped apples.

                                                    In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder. Add the sugar, oil, eggs, juice and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.

                                                    Pour 1/2 batter into an ungreased tube pan; add apples.

                                                    Add the rest of the batter. Sprinkle top of cake with 3T dark brown sugar.

                                                    Bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove from pan after it has cooled for 15 minutes.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: Divamac

                                                      looks good, Divamac! really, without licking the bowl, is there really any point to baking?

                                                      Chocolatechipkt, does the King Arthur recipe work with plain old cocoa? Say Fry's?

                                                      1. re: bakersdelight

                                                        I'm not familiar with Fry's, but I've always just used regular unsweetened cocoa for this recipe and it's been fine. :)

                                                      2. re: Divamac

                                                        This looks terrific. Do you use an ungreased tube pan because it is a nonstick pan? I ask because mine is not nonstick. Also, have you tried it in a bunt pan before? Thanks.

                                                        1. re: TerriL

                                                          I make it in an aluminum angel food pan, so it's definitely not non-stick. Mom made it in an ancient tube pan that wasn't originally non-stick, but probably was non-stick from years of use. Greasing and flouring the pan certainly can't hurt. I think, though, because of the oil and this great crusty exterior it gets, it's pretty bullet proof regardless of the pan. I am not a gifted baker - everything I make sticks - but this cake has never given me a problem.

                                                          I wouldn't try the bunt pan because the best part is the brown sugar on top. for years I couldn't believe that it was just the brown sugar, but the whole top become crusty and crunchy and sweet with these yummy nuggets of sugar embedded in it. So good!

                                                        2. re: Divamac

                                                          This is very similiar to my mother's recipe. I guess every Jewish mother made it. My cousin makes it with milk instead of oj, but I much prefer the oj. I bake it in a sheet cake pan, but do the two layers,, then I put slivered almonds with cinnamon and sugar on top then bake. Everyone loves it. in fact, I have been making it with my six year old little neighbor, she loves to come over and bake.

                                                          1. re: paprkutr

                                                            How fun, those will be great memories for her and a great way to get started on a lifetime of baking. I baked with my mom from the age of 4 or so - I'd roll and reroll a piece of her pie dough and fill it with jam - for my great-uncle who was nice enough to eat them and say they were good.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              Thank you. She does most of the work, I just use the knife, and sometimes measure. Sometimes we have a big mess, which I said my husband would clean up, and she said no we made the mess we have to clean it up. Then she left me to go watch cartoons with my husband. I love having her here and she wants to try a lot more. It is fun, and she is good when we are working together. I used to bake with my mom all the time too. You are right it is great memories.

                                                        3. How about apple brownies, my kids love them and now my oldest is asking for the recipe.

                                                          Bakersweet Yummy Apple Brownies

                                                          1 c. butter, melted
                                                          2 c. sugar
                                                          2 eggs
                                                          2-3 cups chopped peeled apple
                                                          1 c. chopped nuts
                                                          2 c. flour
                                                          1 tsp. baking soda
                                                          1 tsp. baking powder
                                                          1/2 tsp. salt
                                                          3 tsp. cinnamon

                                                          In large bowl beat butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir in apples and nuts. Sift dry ingredients and fold into wet.

                                                          Bake in a greased 9x13 pan 350 degrees 50 minutes

                                                          It wil be tempting but I beseech you not to cut into them until they cool.


                                                          1 Reply