Four years ago, when my first child was born, I started teaching the foodie in me how to be a pragmatic parent. I set out to streamline my husband’s and my favorite recipes so they could be made during naptime or any other precious little downtime I had. I nicknamed myself the Naptime Chef and started blogging about these early attempts at simplifying dishes without sacrificing flavor — attempts that led to me scraping more than my fair share of food into the garbage. But with a little practice, I came up with some great family-friendly recipes and in March published my favorites in my first cookbook. Maybe I’ll whip up a sequel after baby No. 2 arrives in January.
In the meantime, it’s apple season now, my favorite. I do my best to incorporate the fruit into just about every meal possible. From apple pancakes to apple cheddar soup, name your favorite food and I’ll add apples to it.
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The beauty of my apple cake is that it is a simple one-bowl affair with only the most basic of stirring required. The preparation fits so perfectly into our hectic daily routine it makes an apple pie look positively arduous. Why bother coring and slicing half a dozen apples when you can get the same amount of flavor from simply chopping up two of them and pouring some batter into a pie plate?
I often whip this cake up before school while my daughter is eating breakfast. It’s delicious and it really can be made whenever you have 10 minutes to spare.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 apples (Gala or MacIntosh are best), peeled, cored and chopped into 1-inch chunks (about 1 cup)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-in. pie plate, or baking dish of equal size, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add the melted butter and sugar and stir well. Then, stir in the two eggs and the vanilla extract until completely incorporated.
3. While slowly stirring, pour in the flour and kosher salt and stir until the flour is just combined and no longer visible. Do not overmix the batter.
4. Scatter the fruit evenly in the bottom of the buttered baking dish. Pour the batter over the fruit and use a spatula to spread it evenly on top.
5. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Before serving, dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar.
Note: If making this cake in advance, cover tightly with plastic wrap and dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.