Half way through baking this cake, I panicked and told everyone there would be no dessert at Rosh Hashanah this year. A friend even rushed to the bakery to bring the “just in case” chocolate cake. My cake was overflowing, the inside wasn’t cooked through, and I lost hope completely when the taste on the testing toothpick was extra “gluten-free-esque”.
And then… I don’t know what happened but things made a miraculous turn. I was still skeptical when I served it after dinner, but people loved it, assumed it was gluten-full, and most folks even took a slice to go.
Then I got creative: I experimented on this cake over and over until I had so many amazing versions. My roommates certainly didn’t mind tasting this one again and again.
I should note that because I tested with this one so many times, there were also some runner-up versions: The pears tasted great, but sank to the bottom; the muffins were delicious but hard to eat because the pear/apple slices were big; more cinnamon was a winner, but not in my book; chopped fruit instead of sliced made things easy to eat with the hands; and oh so many other variations. These are all viable options if you feel frisky and want to change things up. But here is the final result in all its glory. It’s my favorite version, and I think it should be yours too.
Based loosely on BlackBird Bakery’s Jewish Stacked Apple Cake.
Anytime Apple Cake
For the apples combine:
1 1/2 pound apples (about 4), peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 1/4 inch)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
Set apples aside and start the batter:
2 cups sugar
1 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups + 3 Tablespoons sorghum flour
1 cup glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 teaspoons guar gum
4 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons vanilla
almonds or walnuts for decoration, optional
Preheat oven to 350. Using a stand alone or handheld mixer, beat the eggs on high in a large bowl. In a steady stream, add the sugar and beat until frothy. Add the olive oil. Beat on high for another minute.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, combine orange juice and vanilla. Alternate pouring the juice mixture and the dry mixture into the egg mixture. Beat until the batter is nice and thick and frothy, about 1-2 minutes.
Grease 2 9-inch round spring-form pans, or 2 large loaf pans (or 4 smaller loaf pans as I did one time for gifts- adjust the time accordingly). Be sure to grease all the way to the top, as the batter may puff up that far. Pour the batter into the bottom of your pans, up to about 1/2-inch. Make one slightly overlapping layer of the apple mixture in the center, leave plenty of room around the sides as it will spread out. Pour another layer of batter, just enough to cover the apples, and repeat this process. The batter should be the final layer. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts or almonds if using.
This cake rises, so be sure to leave at least 2-3 inches from the top. Loaf pans bake for 35-40 minutes. Spring-form pans bake for 45-55 minutes. The top should be nice and browned and crisp and the toothpick should come out with crumbs only. If it starts to get too brown, cover with tin foil for the remainder of time in the oven.
Let cool about 10 minutes and then turn out onto baking racks. Once completely cooled, cover tightly. This cake freezes well for a couple of weeks. It also works in the fridge for a couple of days. Or eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as I did.