Thursday, April 7, 2011

Legendary Southern Foods; Dried Apple Stack Cake

This is the recipe that my Grandparents used.  I will post another recipe that is better known in Kentucky.

Let me start by saying, this is not as hard as it seems at first glance AND it is very much worth it. Just get your ingredients ready so the process goes off without an impromptu trip to the store or so that you can substitute accordingly. I spoke with my mother, if you wish to make this cake using self-rising flour, just leave out the salt, baking powder and baking soda. It will be easier on you! I do not know that the flavor would change. I guess I had better test that out for giggles (and for another yummy cake).

This is an Appalachian old time staple dessert. My GrandPa Garrett made stack cakes and I LOVED them. He was known for his stack cake. I can only assume that my GreatGrandMother Garrett taught him as he is no longer around for me to ask such questions to. I miss his stack cake - but more importantly - I miss him. At any rate, I have searched and searched for the closest taste to what I remember his cakes being like. My GrandMa Taylor also made this cake. This is the recipe she used. It is unfortunate that I do not remember her making the cake.

If you do not have brown sugar for the apples, substitute white sugar. When this cake was made by our GrandParents and Great GrandParents and etc, they did not always have all things on hand since a quick Krogers trip was not an option. If you want, change the spices in the apples to reflect your individual taste, just make sure you love it!


This cake can be made about as tall as your cake container will handle! My record is 12 layers of cake. The 'cake' is actually a dough, not a batter. 


The layers are thin so 12 cake layers is not as high as you might think.

Also, if you are using dried apples, DO start the soaking and cooking of those well before you think about making the cake portion. To properly cook dried apples, it takes a few hours. You can even make the apples the day before to break this process up a little.


Make sure you serve this cake no earlier than 24 hours after making - i.e. make it ahead of time people! I also store this cake in either a cold room or a refrigerator.


Serve this cake with milk to drink!

Dried Apple Stack Cake from GrandMa Taylor's Recipe

Cooked Dried Apples*
1 pound dried apples
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup regular sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice (you can also skip these spices and just use 2 teaspoons apple pie spice)

Put 1 pound dried apples in heavy pan and cover with cold water. 
You may need to add water several times to keep apples from sticking to pan. 
Cook on low to medium heat until soft enough to mash. (Honestly, if you cook it long enough, there is no need to mash). The water will soak in and evaporate as the apples are cooked. You can figure on cooking the apples to the point they are of the consistence of apple-butter. You really cannot over cook the apples. JUST DON'T BURN THEM as that would taint the whole mixture and you would have to start over! If they get a little dryer than you think proper, add a little water. If they are runnier than you expect, just cook a little longer without a lid covering the pot!

While still hot, mash apples (if needed) and add brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice (or apple pie spice)

*If dried apples are not available (and you do not want to dry them), cook several pounds cooking apples with a little water. Add spices and sugars as listed above, and cook until mixture is very thick. I think either way the apples will take on a brown color like apple butter. You can also purchase apple butter to spread between the layers and it will be good, but not as good as the long route.

2 cups Sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 salt
6 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup buttermilk

Cooked dried apples*

You really should have a few wire racks to cool the cake layers on.

You will need at least 2 cake pans of the same size, but if you have 3 or 4, this process will go much faster. I coat the pans in crisco and then coat that in flour. I also cut out wax paper discs to place in the bottom of the pan to make good and sure the cakes will come out without breaking. BUT, honestly, if they do break apart, just use them in the center of the cake as no one will know the difference. If the cakes seem a bit dry - do not fret as the apple mixture will infuse them with moisture - which is the plan.

Preheat oven to 350 - 450f degrees. GrandMa Taylor had a wood stove so you sort of had to guess the temperature!.

Cream shortening and sugar; add beaten eggs, buttermilk, and mix well. Set aside.

Sift flour, soda, salt, into a big mixing bowl. Make hole in center of dry ingredients and pour in creamed mix, stirring until well blended. Add vanilla, stir well.

The dough can be rolled out and cut like a pie-crust, but I think that is probably the long way. I part the dough into 6 or 7 equal sections. I knead each section separately with a little flour. Roll each section out to maybe 6' diameter on a floured surface. I then place the dough in the center of a cake pan and push it evenly out to the edge of the pan using your fingers.

Bake between 10-12 minutes. Please pay attention as you do not want to burn. Lightly brown is the best way to judge doneness. 

Remove from oven and dump each layer out on a cooling rack and let cool while you are preparing the next layers to bake.

Once the apples are done, place a solid layer of cake on a plate, spread apple mixture to the edges of that layer, and repeat. Make sure you judge well the amount of apples you have to go between the layers. Leave a little to spread on top of the cake - as this is proper and gives moisture to that layer. Use the best cake layer for the top - so it is beautiful!

Obviously you can double this recipe to make a taller cake!

Refrigerate 24 or more hours. Serve by cutting into thin slices. It is somewhat rich.

Get that milk out!!!

1 comment:

  1. My Aunt Wanda - the Martha Stewart of the Reagan Clan - adapted the recipe several years ago and now makes Apple Stack Cake COOKIES. She uses the same batter, but does a sheet pan of it, then uses cookie cutters to cut out smaller discs and makes cookies of 3 layers. They go even faster at family reunions than the traditional stack cake does because you can eat them with your hands. They turn out exactly like the traditional cake does - all moist and yummy. :)

    ~ Dawn

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