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Apple Cake

Ever since Jeremy learned on Saturday that I baked a cake, he has been clamoring to know more about it. “What kind of cake? Does K like it? Can I see a picture?” The questions have been so relentless I’m a little embarrassed for him, especially since he hasn’t been able to do the sensible thing yet and ask me for the recipe. The cake is in fact a family favorite. My mom begs my grandmother to make it for her as often as she drives south, but the recipe did not originate with my grandmother. In fact, it came from Miss Annie Killough, who owned the house my parents rented when I was a kid and my parents were still married. She was an elderly woman when I knew her, who sat in a darkened apartment and, I like to imagine, knitted, though I don’t know that knitting is what she in fact did. Mom would hand-deliver the rent check to her once a month, and I remember playing around behind her platform rocker. My grandmother says that when she got the recipe in 1960, Miss Annie did not give her a temperature to bake the cake at. Instead, Miss Annie told her to “use six sticks of wood.” It is my grandmother’s alterations to the following recipe.

Miss Annie Killough’s Apple Cake

Amount Ingredient
1½ cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp (1 pinch) salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp water
1 egg
¾ cup oil
2 unpeeled apples, chopped
¾ cup pecans or walnuts
¾ cup raisins

Mix everything together in a bowl, then bake 30–40 minutes at 350ºF.

My grandmother adds that it “cooks best in a greased 8-inch iron skillet,” but it turns out just fine in a regular cake pan. Mom loves to eat it hot out of the oven, especially if she can have it with either butter or ice cream.



i thought i saw raisins in it. i think i’ll try it out next friday when we have company over.

FYI, K has been advocating for dropping the vanilla to a teaspoon and cutting the nuts & raisins to a half-cup each. I like the nuts & raisins myself.

so, what about using butter instead of oil?

I would definitely cut the vanilla. I’m certain the 1 tablespoon was intended for imitation vanilla. Haven’t tried it with 1 tsp of pure vanilla yet, though, since Greg won’t humor my efforts to improve the recipe. Whatever.

I’m cutting the nuts and raisins down to half a cup each. Otherwise, you don’t get much actual cake. But Greg loves it so lumpy. If you substitute butter, the fat solids will probably change the texture…? Might be an okay change, though.

I was thinking about butter today too, and wishing I had tried it last time.

Maybe just try olive oil instead of canola? That’ll at least bring the healthiness quotient way up but keep the moist, crumbly texture the same.

damn!!!! that is a LOT of vanilla…

i’ll let you know if i make it, and if i do, i’m gonna make it with browned butter and 1 1/2 tsps of vanilla.