Dutch Apple Cake (1917) ★★★★★

This recipe appeared in a cookbook from World War I, which accounts for the title, Better Meals for Less Money. The recipe itself is actually still great for those with a budget. There is less than half a cup of sugar and only 2 tablespoons of shortening (not butter). Furthermore, apples tend to be one of the least expensive fruits out there.

I was starving when I made this cake, so I snapped some pictures and dug in, and of course I forgot to make  a sauce for it. I would suggest the caramel sauce or cinnamon sauce from the same cookbook (since there's no recipe for "liquid sauce"). Both sound like they would be really yummy with this cake!

Original Recipe:


1½ cups flour½ cup milk
3 teaspoons baking powder2 tablespoons melted shortening
½ teaspoon salt3 apples
3 tablespoons sugar2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar; add egg well beaten, milk, and shortening; beat well, and spread in a greased pan, having mixture about an inch deep; core, pare, and quarter apples, cut in thick slices, and arrange in rows on top of cake; sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, and bake in hot oven half an hour. Serve with liquid sauce.

The Verdict:
At first I found this cake kind of bland, but after finishing my first piece I was surprised to find myself wanting more. The cake is very fluffy from all the baking powder, but it doesn't crumble super easily. It was a little dry (probably overcooking on my part) and not sweet at all, so I can see the need for a sauce. That said, once you get used to the fact that this is not a sweet cake, it's delicious just on its own! I used honeycrisp apples, and they provided a lot of flavour, which helped the fact that the cake was bland and not sweet. If I made this again, I might add vanilla and/or cinnamon to the cake batter, just to bump up the flavour a bit. Otherwise, I don't think I'd change a thing. Mr. Man and Little Y loved it too. Five stars!

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from Better Meals for Less Money)

The original recipe is very easy to follow. The only thing I would suggest is to whisk together the egg and the milk, add that to the flour mixture, and then add the melted shortening. If you do it in a different order it's easy to get clumps of egg or shortening that aren't mixed into the batter. Bake it at 400F for 25 - 30 minutes.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.