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Tracey Zabar’s Apple Cake Recipe

This is an updated old-lady recipe, made by many a grandma. It is a perfect dessert for fall when apples are at their prime. Long ago, a relative served a similar cake, and I begged for the recipe. She never shared it, and I later found out the cake came from her local bakery—not her kitchen. – Tracey Zabar

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1⁄2 small apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
  • 2⁄3 cup plus 1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 cup pecan or walnut halves Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting Dried apple slices, for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter one 5-inch well of a Bundt quartet pan, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the apple cubes with the 1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar, the brown sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, the remaining 2⁄3 cup granulated sugar, and salt. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat to incorpo- rate. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix just until combined. With a silicone spatula, fold in the nuts, and then scrape half the batter into the pre- pared pan.
  4. Add the apple-sugar mixture on top of the batter, being careful not to let the mixture touch the cen- ter tube or edges. Add the remaining batter, and gently smooth the top with a silicone spatula.
  5. Bake until browned and set, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove the cake from the hot pan and cool it completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and top with dried apple slices.

RECIPE EXCERPTED FROM SWEET LITTLE CAKES FROM MRS. ZABAR’S BAKESHOP: PERFECT DESSERTS FOR SHARING, BY TRACEY ZABAR. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ELLEN SILVERMAN. RIZZOLI, 2023. REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION.

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