Sunday Dinners at Grandma’s

By Diane Lovell

Sunday Dinners at Grandma’s house ranked very high on the family priority list when I was a kid growing up in rural Virginia.  Farm-to-Table was our way of life back then.  My Grandma would fry up a couple of her chickens straight from the coop, bake a batch of her amazingly light yeast rolls, and feed about 20 of her extended family members every Sunday.  As kids, if we didn’t go into a food coma under a coffee table, we were out climbing apple trees.

My Grandma had several apple trees around the yard.  Every fall during apple picking season, we helped her make crab apple jelly, apple sauce, apple pies, and her famous fresh apple cake.  She also had a black walnut tree in the yard, the key ingredient to the delicious cake.  She would wait until the walnuts fell from the tree and then remove the outer husk and then crush the shell with a hammer to remove the nut meat inside.

This cake was loaded with fresh apples, black walnuts, and raisins.  Served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, it was like tasting heaven.  I have a tattered, faded, very used copy of that recipe that I will share with you.  As I said, black walnuts are a key ingredient, worth the extra effort to look for them.  Many supermarkets carry them now.  Clarks IGA in Londonderry usually stocks them with the other baking nuts.  Celebrate autumn and apple picking season by baking this fresh apple cake.  Enjoy every morsel of this moist and delicious cake.

Grandma’s Fresh Apple Cake
1/2  cup butter
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
2tsp.  baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts (black walnuts are best!)
½ teaspoon  nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
4 cups of chopped apples, peeled
2 cups of flour
1 cup of raisins
2 teaspoons of vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease and flour a tube cake pan.  Set aside.  Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs.  Mix dry ingredients with nuts and raisins. Stir into butter mixture.  Fold in raw apples and vanilla.  Blend until all is incorporated.  Pour into prepared cake pan.  Bake for one hour and 15 minutes.  This cake keeps well in the refrigerator and can be frozen.