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Simple Shaker Apple Cake

I love to make simple desserts. On a weeknight, dessert is a treat, so having some easy, standby dessert recipes is essential. And even on Sunday night, having something sweet after dinner makes those Monday blues easier to swallow.

In the summer, I tend to make lots of fruit crisps, but as winter approaches, I want my cake and coffee. A few years ago, I set aside an easy apple cake recipe, and I just recently had a chance to bake it and share it with our generous neighbors who came to the rescue when I had locked myself out of our building.

One thing that makes this recipe so simple is that you are likely to have everything on hand. It comes together quickly and is light, tender and not too sweet. The chunks of apple keep it moist, and the cake is even good the next day, wrapped up on a plate and left out on the counter. We ate ours plain, but it would go well with some fresh whipped cream, a vanilla sauce or ice cream. As it is somewhat like a lighter breakfast bread or cake-like scone, I’m sure it would be a lovely addition to a brunch spread. In the future I might also try a pear and cranberry version, which would be an easy substitution, and even more festive for the holidays.

I used a sweet, crisp apple, which we keep on hand for snacking. There are so many apple varieties out there, but a Pink Lady, Honeycrisp or Braeburn apple should work the best. As with most cakes, don’t over mix the batter, though I did follow the recipe and use my Kitchen-Aid mixer. I ended up barely mixing the last of the flour in with the mixer and incorporated it by hand when I folded in the apple, raisins and nuts. I think you could get an equally good result mixing it by hand.

Simple Shaker Apple Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2008

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 apple, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray, and dust with 1 tablespoon flour.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until combined or a little before.

3. Fold in apple, raisins, and walnuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan, evening it out. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over cake. Cut into wedges.

Serves 8.

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