Happiness Project #34: Grandma’s Fresh Apple Cake!


A little over a week ago, while I was over at my Mom’s house, I came across an old & well used Notebook of Recipes that my Grandmother (on my Mother’s side of the family) had contributed to (possibly) back in the 1980’s. As you could imagine, I was near bubbling over with giddiness because of this particular find. Not only because I grew up on so many of my grandmothers very own cookie and cake recipes, particularly her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Traditional Angel Food Cake, but also, because in my family, I am virtually the ONLY baker. Truth. I couldn’t tell you why either. That’s simply the way it’s always been. Though I’m certainly not complaining. I’m usually very excited about being the sole bearer of all-things-yummy when confronted with family gatherings. Baking, after all, to me, is more than just tinkering around with “that” new recipe I’ve been drooling over or assembling my large, enthusiastic group of taste-testers. When I bake up recipes, new or old, especially for my family, it’s my way of giving back to the ones I hold most dear. It’s my way of giving love. And I wonder if this is how my Grandmother felt whenever she dug her hands into a ball of flour or sat in front of her oven, waiting patiently for a new cake to rise. I wonder, if she too, felt truly at home and relaxed, with chocolate chips sprinkled all over the kitchen island and a dripping whisk in hand. If, in this one area of homemaking, it felt perfectly okay to create a little messy chaos. Because even though 55 years separate my Grandmother & I, I can’t help but wonder if we share more than just a family tie (& the love we have for one another). Perhaps I also share with her, this love & driven passion for kitchen wizardry. Something passed down through the years. Something I truly hope that I will always honor her legacy with. And what an amazing & inspiring legacy it is! Those of you who know my 91 year old Grandma Betty, I’m sure, will agree. So in the hopes of preserving these precious family recipes, I did no creative tinkering with this 1st (of 4) cake recipes. I’m hell bent on preserving her kitchen legacy, one recipe at a time.

So with no further adieu and much pride, I present to you my Grandma Betty’s Fresh Apple Cake!

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups diced, raw apples, peeled *there was no preferred apple listed in her recipe so I used Granny Smith, a very traditional apple used in baking*

1/2 cup margarine (or butter), melted

3/4 cups chopped nuts *once again, there was no preferred nut listed in her recipe so I used pecan chips, though walnuts work well also*

2 eggs

Confections sugar (for sprinkling)

Told in my Grandmothers Exact Recipe:

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt. Add apples, nuts, margarine and slightly beaten eggs. This will be a thick mixture. Mix it well. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan, greased well & bake in a preheated oven 325 for 1 hr. to 1 hr & 15 min. Cool slightly & sprinkle with confections sugar.

My Notes:

I ended up using a 9 inch round cake pan and therefore needed to keep the cake in the oven for a longer period of time, 1 hour & 45 minutes to be exact. After I tested the cakes center (a couple of times) for firmness, I pulled it out of the oven and let it rest overnight. The next day, however, when I went to gently pop it out of the pan, I discovered that it’s center had fallen in (which upset me greatly.) Fortunately though, after texting my Mom about it, she assured me that it was indeed supposed to fall in it’s center, the way it did. You can imagine how relieved I was at knowing this, particularly since I had never made an apple cake before. However, even though I still wasn’t convinced that I had done her recipe due justice, my Mom ended up taking it home with her that night and you know what I did most of the night? I couldn’t help but fret about it. This is what we do, as bakers, when re-creating new or very traditional recipes. We fret. But you know what? Apparently, it tasted even better the next day, after all of the flavors had seeped well enough in!! Enough so that my Mom’s boyfriend ate THREE whole slices! THREE!! Now that, is what I call a happy success!! =)

Enjoyed my Grandmothers Fresh Apple Cake? Stay tuned for the rest of her traditional dessert recipes! Coming soon!

Happiness Project Recipe #20: Southern Mama Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake!


Coca-Cola in cake?? Yes, please! Why though have I never before indulged in this sweetened, chocolaty delight?? Perhaps, because before now, I had never heard of such a lovely cake! So for the 1st time since recovering from my surgery (and after being horribly sick for the past 2 & a half weeks), I finally felt well enough to be up and about in my kitchen, trying out this new recipe. Oh kitchen, how dearly I’ve missed thee! Regardless of the fact that I generally stay as far away from soda as I can (considering how truly disgusting and tragically unhealthy the drink itself is), I was very intrigued by the idea of combining coke with chocolate and was not disappointed with the end result. So here it is, my soda loving friends! Come and get your fix on!

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa (I swear by the Ghirardelli brand)

1 cup Coca-Cola

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla


1/2 cup salted butter

1/3 cup Coca-Cola

3 tablespoons cocoa

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

*1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional) or 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream per serving

Preheat your oven to 350F

In bowl #1, combine the flour, baking soda and sugar. Blend well. In a medium saucepan, throw in the butter, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Cook over medium heat until everything is nicely melted and bubbling slightly in the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. Set aside and let cool slightly. Now add the Coca-Cola, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla to the dry ingredients (bowl #1), stir until just combined. Slowly add the slightly cooled butter/marshmallow/chocolate chip/cocoa mixture and mix until combined.

Pour the batter into a greased or sprayed 9X13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cakes center comes out clean. Set your cake aside to cool slightly while you’re preparing the icing.

For the icing, combine the butter, Coca-Cola, cocoa and powdered sugar in another saucepan, heating on high until just boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Now comes the very important part. Quickly and evenly pour the hot icing over your slightly cooled cake. The faster you pour the hot icing over the cake, the less likely it will start hardening up (a lesson I learned the hard way today). Now, if desired, sprinkle with pecans. Although this cake is best when served warm, it will still taste quite flavorful when fully cooled as well.

*Don’t want to use a pecan topping? How about a scoop of lovely vanilla ice cream on each serving instead!*

So go grab that pack of tempting, unused soda and do something creative with it! Tis a very yummy, sweet and fun cake, if I say so!

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