My Thompson grandparents had an orchard with plums, crab apples and regular apples. Grandma Lil made all kinds of pickles and wine and baked goods using the fruit from her orchard. One of my absolute favorite things she made was a raw apple cake. Then she’d throw together a caramel sauce from scratch to drizzle over it and I would pretty much lick the plate when I was done.
I’ve seen the recipe around and there’s a battle between two names: some call it raw apple cake and some call it fresh apple cake. Both names indicate the fact that the apples are peeled and diced and thrown into the cake without any pre-cooking. My Mom and I usually called it raw apple cake. Whatever we called it, we made it often for quite a few years. But by the late 90s we mostly didn’t make it any more.
Time for a revival! Perhaps we could call it a Retro Raw Apple Cake. Or as they often say now, it could be a Rustic Raw Apple Cake. By going the rustic route we could even leave the peelings on the apples. I prefer the peelings off, so I’m not going to call it rustic. I’m going to call it a super good dessert, however!
I’m not much of a motivated baker so it took me a week to make the cake after my P.S. (Personal Shopper/ hubby) brought home a handful of golden delicious apples. Even my Mom asked me on the phone when I was going to get around to posting the recipe. I finally peeled the apples and got to baking one day and laughed at how fast the cake was to make. Once the apples are diced, it’s just measuring and stirring and zip, into the oven.
I mixed the apples, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil in a large mixing bowl. I’m not fond of nuts in most baked goods so I left them out. I don’t remember my Grandma Lil putting nuts into her cake either. They are definitely optional.
I mixed together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl with a whisk. I poured the dry ingredients into the wet and stirred well. It’s a very stiff dough so it takes a little elbow work to get it fully mixed.
I scraped the dough into a sprayed 9 x 13-in pan and used an offset spatula to smooth it out. Then into the oven for an hour and my house smelled SO good!
The cake turns a nice, deep golden brown as it bakes. I cut the cake into pieces and stored it in a plastic container in the fridge. To serve, I set the caramel sauce in warm water for 10 minutes or so to loosen it up before drizzling it over the cake. Then we dove in and ate our luscious caramel apple cake. I like just a hint of cinnamon and only use half of the amount listed in the recipe. I’d rather the apples have more of a presence than the cinnamon.
The cake is moist and very flavorful. At times we’ve also added whipped cream on top but that’s sort of overkill and not necessary. A slice of cake with a drizzle of caramel sauce is totally satisfying. And a cup of coffee to wash it down if you’re into that.
I brought the cake to a family birthday party and it was well received. My sister Dawn likes it best with the caramel drizzled on top then heated in the microwave briefly. I like mine cold. You could try both ways!
Raw Apple Cake
4 cups apples; peeled, diced
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
1 cup nuts (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I cut to 1 teaspoon as I like less cinnamon)
1 teaspoon salt
Caramel sauce for topping
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray or grease a 9 x 13-in baking pan.
Combine apples, sugar, oil, nuts if used, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir well.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir well. Slowly add to wet ingredients and stir until evenly mixed.
Spread batter into your prepared baking pan and bake for 1 hour.