One of my favorite chefs is Bonnie Stern. I have a number of her cookbooks and keep them on the small book shelf in the kitchen along with a few other 'go to' cookbooks. What I like about her style of cooking is that it is not complicated, the recipes are practical, she does heartsmart cooking and she has personality.
Earlier this year I bought one of her latest cookbooks - "Friday Night Suppers". The recipes cover a variety of meals from different countries, are quick, include seasonal recipes, provides variations and are reproducible in your own kitchen. She has many photographs of the various recipes which were taken by her son at her home. In profiling different countries, Bonnie Stern will do a whole meal based on the specific country. We had a dinner party to attend last night and I was asked to bring a dessert. I decided to make one of her dessert recipes on Friday night. I knew that if a complete disaster prevailed, there would be an opportunity to buy/make something else on Saturday. I know that some people are hesitant about making new recipes and serving them to guests as there could be the potential that the recipe doesn't turn out. I am more adventurous and will experiment. What is hard sometimes is that if you make a new recipe and if it is something like a cake, you can not taste test it ahead of time. Who wants to bring a cake to a dinner party with a piece missing?
I decided to make an apple cake after looking over the cookbook. This recipe originated with Bonnie Stern's mom. I followed the recipe and did not improvise. I also decided to follow the directions and line the spring-form pan with oiled parchment paper. This is a very good tip. After the cake has cooled and you open the latch to the metal form that goes around the cake, it is very easy to peel off the parchment paper from the cake. The cake says intact and then you can place it on a serving plate. The cake was a hit. The cake reminded me of a cross between a cake and a cobbler as the apple mixture is in middle. I will definitely make this recipe again.
RUTHIE’S APPLE CAKE
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup orange juice
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 to 5 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tbsp coarse sugar, optional
With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a bowl until light. Beat in oil. Beat in orange and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and stir until combined.
In a third bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, apples and nuts.
Spread about half of the batter in an oiled and parchment lined 9 inch spring-form pan. Spoon apples on top of this batter. Drizzle remaining batter on top of the apples. The batter on the top layer may not cover the apples completely. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for about 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. If the cake is browning too much, cover loosely with foil and reduce oven heat to 325 degree F. Makes 8 to 12 servings.
Recipe from “Friday Night Dinners” by Bonnie Stern.