Today is the birthday of two friends of mine, both named Jackie. (They share an office, too.) In honor of their birthday, I decided to bake something. However, as we have an office-wide party for all of the May birthdays tomorrow that involves a sheet cake from Costco, I opted to make something a little less sugary.
I settled on another Smitten Kitchen recipe, an apple cake. It was incredibly easy to put together, and one Jackie reported that this might be her favorite thing I've ever made. The other Jackie said it was "superb." The rest of my coworkers loved it as well, though there were a couple of gripes about the fact that I'm sabotaging everyone's diets.
Smitten Kitchen's Apple Cake
6 apples (I use a mix of apples for a more interesting flavor - I do the same for apple pie)
1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two loaf pans or one tube pan. Peel, core, and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan(s). Spread half of apples over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until a tester comes out clean. (I baked mine for exactly that long, and the edges ended up looking a little burnt. The insides were perfect, though, and I was told that the contrast between the crust and the inside was actually a good thing.)