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+++Enter At Your Own Risk+++ At the gentle nudging (I said gentle y'all) of a few friends, I have started these blogs in order to share my culinary goings-on and daily misadventures through my own brand of humor (ok, sarcasm). I just write about stuff! At 50, I have learned that living has gotten in the way of life - and I am going to blaze my own personal trail to fun (hopefully)! If it is feminine, great. If it is not, so much the better! Hopefully fun that does not land me in jail............

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Legendary Southern Foods; Stack Cake Part II

While I was researching this dessert a little, I found the following recipe, modified it just a tad and went to town. While people liked it, I am not a fan of molasses or ginger so this was not my favorite version. It is rich, but not as rich as my family's recipe. If you like a stronger spicier flavor, this one is for you. I also have my grandparents' recipe sans the molasses.

Dried Apple Stack Cake with Molasses and Ginger

Cooked Dried Apples*
1 pound dried apples
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 cup regular sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice

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. (you can vary the sugar if you wish - according to the type and sweetness of the apples used. I prefer a tart apple)

*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.

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
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 degrees. 
Cream shortening and sugar; add beaten egg, molasses, buttermilk, and mix well. Set aside.

Sift flour, soda, salt, and ginger 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 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.

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!!!

Variation: I have never done this and have not seen it done, but apparently in Kentucky, it is proper to make meringue, spread on the outside of the cake and brown it.

Dried Apple Stack Cake. An Appalachian traditional dessert. Not overly sweet but very heavy and moist (if done right). There are cheater methods to making this - but they are NOT as good as the real thing. This puppy weighs 9 pounds. Has 11 layers of cake. My record is 12 layers.
Dried Apple Stack Cake Layers... Not perfect, but oh so good!

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