I have been teaching this simple cake to my Do-Ahead Thanksgiving students for over a decade and it is always a big hit. This makes a lot of cake, but trust me when I say there won’t be many leftovers, and if there are, you can freeze them without any problem. At Thanksgiving, I serve the cake with vanilla ice cream and a toasted pecan sauce, but it's also terrific with cream cheese frosting.
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 5 medium-size Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 11 x 15-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and continue beating until blended. Add the flour, baking soda, and spices and beat until just incorporated. Stir in the apples, nuts and vanilla. Scrape into the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached to it, 35 to 40 minutes.
Set the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, cut the cake into squares, and serve.
Diva Do-Ahead: At this point, you can cool completely, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 6 weeks. Before serving, reheat the chilled or defrosted cake, covered with aluminum foil, in a 350 degrees F oven for 10 minutes.
Excerpted from Perfect Party Food, by Diane Phillips. Copyright 2005, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press http://www.harvardcommonpress.com.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press. All rights reserved.
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