This Irish-style apple cake is lighter on spices and sugar than American versions, letting the natural, pure sweetness of apples shine through. (Note that the all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder could be replaced by 3 1/3 cup self-rising flour.) Modified from Bake from Scratch Magazine July/August 2020 Ireland-themed issue.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: apple, bars, cake
Author: Beth Cato
9x9 baking pan
2large baking apples Honeycrisp work well
1 1/4cupsunsalted butter (2 and a half sticks) room temperature
1 1/2cupswhite sugar
4large eggs room temperature
1 1/2teaspoonsvanilla bean paste or substitute vanilla extract
4 1/2teaspoonsbaking powder
Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with foil and apply nonstick spray.
Peel and core the apples, then slice to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place slices in a large bowl and toss them with lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon white sugar, until apples are coated. Set aside.
In a big mixing bowl, beat butter and white sugar for several minutes, until blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in well and scraping bowl afterward. Add vanilla. The batter may look curdled, but that's okay.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and allspice. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet.
Spread about half of the batter into the pan, using an uneven spatula to form an even layer. Arrange apple slices, flat side down, to cover the batter entirely. Top with the remaining batter, using the uneven spatula again to even out as much as possible. Sprinkle turbinado sugar all over the top.
Bake until the middle of the cake passes the toothpick test, which will be from 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cover pan with foil about halfway through to prevent it from browning too much.
Let cool in pan for an least 10 minutes, then use foil to lift cake onto a cutting board. Slice into squares. Tastes best warmed and at room temperature. Pieces can also be shrouded in plastic wrap and frozen for later enjoyment.