Saturday, February 25, 2012

Apple Walnut Cake

I’ve spent a lot of time lately filtering my complaints about life through the lens of so-called ‘first-world problems.’ You know? A first-world problem, for those of you who aren’t up on the trend, is a problem that would only occur to someone living in the affluence and comfort of first-world countries.
For example, spilling wet coffee grounds all over the floor and the kitchen and into the open dishwasher is a problem, until you put it into the perspective of ‘I have a floor…and a roof…and coffee…and a dishwasher.’

And an owl mug, by the way. How bad can life be?

I’m also dipping my toes into the local blogging community and have been stricken by shyness like never before, and that’s a first-world problem if I’ve ever heard of one. After all, I sit around worrying if my tweets are dumb while eating goldfish crackers, as opposed to…oh, I don’t know. Bearing eight million children. Engaging in back-breaking labor. Living in a world where there are no goldfish crackers. 

Truth be told, most of my ‘problems’ are pretty dumb.

Besides. Peeling and chopping three pounds of apples gives a girl a lot of time to ponder and sip coffee and decide that things are probably going to be okay.

This cake is adapted from my thea* Chrysanthi’s recipe, and represents my first foray into blogging my maternal family’s wealth of food history. Most of it is Greek food with names that have too many vowels and therefore sound more complicated than they are, but this apple cake is as simple and straightforward as it gets.

I’ve followed Thea Chrysanthi’s recipe exactly in the past, and it makes a fantastic moist, tart-sweet cake that does double duty as breakfast or dessert. This time, though, I altered the recipe a little to include walnuts, wheat flour and less oil, and the adapted recipe is what I’m sharing with you. 

The lovely blushing apples pictured above are the Pink Lady variety, which are my favorite both for eating and for cooking. Most apples will suit this recipe fine, but avoid Granny Smith or Red Delicious, which don’t fare well in this application.  

Baking is great for beating out grouchy, sad, and disillusioned…but most of all, it’s best for conquering hungry. Check after the jump for the recipe!

*Thea is ‘aunt’ in Greek. Thea Chrysanthi isn’t even my thea – I think she’s my grandmother’s cousin – but I've always known this recipe as Thea Chrysanthi's.

An Ode to Thea Chrysanthi’s Apple Cake
makes one 9x13 pan; about 12 servings

5 cups apples, chopped finely - around ¼ inch cubes, I’d say (4-5 apples)
3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup applesauce (if unsweetened, up the sugar a little)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup of walnut pieces, chopped

For seasoned bakers: I know adding dry to wet ingredients is weird, but you’ve got to go with me on this one.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Crack eggs into a large bowl, and then add sugar. Whisk to combine. Add oil and applesauce and combine.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and spices and whisk to combine (with a fork is fine, if your whisk is now dirty). Gradually add dry ingredients to egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Fold in chopped apples and walnut pieces, and then spread batter into a greased 9x13 pan.

Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing. 

See this? Chop your apples more finely than this, please. 


  1. I love Pink Lady apples too! They are my favorite for eating a cooking with. I'm making Asian Pork Chops with them tonight! Mmm! Might have to make this for dessert!

  2. yah I'd rather be eating goldfish crackers instead of bearing 8 million kids too. Puts things in perspective!!

    I love apple cake, lately I've been craving an "everyday" cake like this one.. I think I'll check and see how many apples I have in the fridge. :)


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