This is the story of two apple cakes.
When I was 16 and working at a yogurt shop in the food court of a mall, the owner of the yogurt shop also worked at a local bank. When Christmastime came, our boss’s wife prepared gift bags for each of their staff containing candy, scented bath items, and a cook book from the bank in which her husband was employed. Now keep in mind that this was a yogurt shop, therefore the employees were all high school students. I vividly remember being the ONLY 16 year old there who was ecstatic over receiving a cookbook for a Christmas bonus. You see, my mom had always let me use her cookbooks as often as I wanted, but this was my first, very own cookbook! The book was All Aboard Alabama: The Alabama Reunion Cookbook. With much haste I inscribed my name on the first page, claiming it as mine, and gave it a proper initiation- baking the “Fresh Apple Cake” recipe from page 115!
That was twenty-six years ago. I have since *cooked this book* cover to cover, but the apple cake is still my favorite and one I bake several times a year. It’s a sweet, gooey, luscious apple cake with a sugary sauce. Heavenly.
Fast forward a couple decades to about four or five years ago when the children and I used to stop by to visit Joel’s grandparents each Monday after piano lessons, which were held at a church down the street from their house. Nonie and Pa were anticipating a move in the future, therefore Nonie frequently cleaned out cabinets, closets, and cupboards in an ongoing effort to unload one-time blessings which had become burdens. From time to time, we would walk in to find her dining room full of *merchandise* and Nonie would instruct, “Go shop. Take what you can use.” What fun!
On one occasion I selected the New Holiday Cookbook. That evening I sat down with the cookbook, flipping through the many holiday-themed recipes and noting several I would try. Then when I came across “Abe’s Apple Cake”, I knew I had to bake it! Why? Because in Nonie’s handwriting was a little note simply stating, “Good”. If Nonie had tried it and said it was good, then that was good enough for me!
I tucked it away and kept it in mind for quite some time. Every time I wanted to bake an apple cake, I was usually in a hurry and went with my tried and true “Fresh Apple Cake”. However, last weekend when I was planning to make apple cake for our grandparents’ lunch, I thought, ‘Alinda, surprise Nonie!’ Not knowing at all if she would remember the apple cake- if it was one she made often or one she tried once, many years ago, and then forgot about- I took a chance and baked the cake.
Sunday, when it came time for dessert, I brought out the cookbook to show Nonie and asked if she remembered it. She confirmed that it was a cookbook she used often and still remembered the very apple cake recipe she had once rated as “Good”! She explained that she had tested numerous apple cake recipes for quite some time and when she finally found a winner, she marked it. I’m so glad she did! It was a delicious Bundt cake, moist and fruity. The aroma of its fall spices was enough to entice anyone, including Papa who is off sugar these days (He had two pieces! wink).
Above Nonie is pictured with “Abe’s Apple Cake” that I baked and the cookbook that she cooked from for decades before passing it on to me. What a treasure!
So, the next day I prepared my old apple cake recipe, the “Fresh Apple Cake”, for my Monday evening ladies’ Bible study, and had my family do a taste test to determine which recipe to be the favorite. Most couldn’t decide. I did like that Nonie’s apple cake stood tall, made a beautiful presentation, and was so delicious! Served with butter pecan ice cream, whipped cream, and drizzled caramel sauce…oh my goodness! Abigail says she likes how the other apple cake is so gooey you almost need a spoon. As of now everyone likes them equally, but for different reasons, so I will most likely bake both recipes year round.
Two mouthwatering apple cakes. It’s like comparing APPLES to APPLES!
I still have more apple recipes and some apple must-haves for the home that I will look forward to sharing next week!