The Silver Palate Apple Cake

Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso are the dynamic duo that wrote the definitive cookbook of the 1980s, The Silver Palate.   The Silver Palate Apple Cake is one of the most beloved recipes from the book, and it just screams Fall.

Picture this: it’s 1982, Michael Jackson has just released Thriller, the first cd player is sold, Olivia Newton-John tops the charts, Cheers airs for the first time, E.T. is a box office hit, a gallon of gas costs 90 cents, and conversations revolve around Cabbage Patch dolls, Princess Di, and that newfangled invention, the computer.  It’s the same year that Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso publish The Silver Palate cookbook, named after their successful gourmet shop in New York City.  It’s destined to become the Joy of Cooking for a new generation.  If you didn’t already have this cookbook in the early 80s, someone was bound to give you a copy. 1982 was also the year I got married, and so I definitely had a copy on my kitchen shelf.

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 If you love apples, try my Maple Frosted Apple Blondies, or my Irish Apple Cake.

APPLE CAKE (from The Silver Palate)
grease a 10 inch round cake pan, pre-heat the oven to 325.

1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground mace (I used nutmeg)
1 1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
3 tbsp. Calvados  (I used brandy because they didn’t have one of those cute tiny bottles of Calvados at the liquor store)
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. whole wheat flour, sifted
3 1/4 c. coarse chunks of peeled apple
APPLE CIDER GLAZE

Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter. Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 6 tablespoons granulated sugar. Add 3 tablespoons Calvados or brandy, 1/4 cup sweet cider, 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, and 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour while still warm over warm cake.

In a large bowl, beat the vegetable oil and sugar until thick and opaque. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together all-purpose flour, cloves, cinnamon, mace, baking soda, and salt, then stir in whole wheat flour.

Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture and blend. Stir in walnuts, apple chunks, and apple brandy. Stir to distribute pieces evenly.

Pour into a greased 10 inch round cake pan. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake rest for 10 minutes, then unmold and pour glaze over warm cake or cut cake and pour glaze over slices. (note: I used a 9 inch spring-form pan and cooked it almost 10 minutes longer)

I’m not a collector of cookbooks. A cookbook has to earn a place on my shelf, and the ones I don’t use get given away.  The Silver Palate, classic that it is, never quite fit my style.  From the very beginning I felt that the recipes had very long, almost cumbersome ingredient lists.   That’s an instant turn off for me (kind of like shoulder pads and pegged jeans.) Over the years it sat on the shelf untouched, and when we moved last fall and did a sweep of all the extraneous stuff in our lives, I got rid of it.  Use ’em or lose ’em.  Sorry Silver Palate, that’s how I see it.

That said, this is a a lovely cake.  It smelled heavenly every step of the way.  I would be proud to serve it to guests, and it’s big enough for a crowd.  Cakes topped with warm glazes were popular in the 80s.  It makes for a very moist, almost wet interior. In this case it has a kind of apple pie effect.  But I probably wouldn’t make this cake again just because it’s relatively involved and there are so many other recipes out there.  The thing I’m taking away from this recipe is the combo of apples and brandy—I’m filing it away for the next time I’m baking with apples!

21 Comments

  • Reply
    Wonderwill
    October 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    PS, I use an angel food cake pan as the inner part of the cake is a bit too moist as stated. This sort of aids in that respect giving the inside a bit more of a heat injection so not as “wet”.

  • Reply
    Wonderwill
    October 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I have made this cake over and over and am taking orders for it for Holidays that I bake for friends. Thanks for the lovely depiction with photos and recipe! Kimson

  • Reply
    Loveforfood
    December 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Oh my goodness, that looks delicious!!

  • Reply
    Miranda
    September 20, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Love your honesty about cookbooks – use em or loose em! Also, thank you for the rememberance of the 80’s – I was actually only 2 at the time, but nevertheless, good times. That cake looks great, I love all things apple.

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    September 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Ah ,this looks heavenly! I adore apple cake. Will have to try this!

  • Reply
    bellini
    September 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I have made the Silver Palate apple cake Sue. I just adore their cookbooks since they were the first in my collection.

  • Reply
    Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed)
    September 17, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Gorgeous photos and delicious looking cake. Thanks, Sue!

  • Reply
    Linda A. Thompson
    September 17, 2011 at 3:51 am

    Oh my goodness, that looks lucious! A perfect treat for fall!

  • Reply
    Katie
    September 17, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Oh, you post makes me so glad that it’s apple season in New York right now. This cake looks delicious and so fresh! Glad you could join us this week!

  • Reply
    Orkneyflowers
    September 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Beautiful pictures, really amazing! Must get some apples ….x

  • Reply
    Reem | Simply Reem
    September 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    This cake looks so perfect!!!
    Moist and cozy, so delicious!!!!
    I love the pictures too.

  • Reply
    Sabrina-eat.drink.and be merry.
    September 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    your photos are beautiful! I love the giant chunks of apples and the whipped cream! Im going apple picking tomorrow so I’ll have plenty of apples to make this!

  • Reply
    grace
    September 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    oh, apple cake. i haven’t come across a version yet that i didn’t devour, and from the looks of this one, it’d rank among my favorites! lovely images of a tasty treat. :)

  • Reply
    Rose
    September 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Great photos and recipe!

    I don’t recall when I last checked out a cooking book for a recipe. Most of the time I get on the internet and find something that will suit what I currently have in my kitchen.

  • Reply
    girlichef
    September 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Well, I suppose I probably had other things on my 7-year old wish list in 1982…but boy would I have loved somebody to have made me this cake! It’s seriously beautiful…so thick and moist. Bookmarked!

  • Reply
    Barbara
    September 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Your apple cake looks fabulous, Sue. What a perfect choice from Silver Palate….right in tune with fall. I’ve never made this and will now put it on my list. I adore moist cakes like this.

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    September 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I, too, love your photos! That cake was a bane to me over the years, it was always too moist for me … but unlike you, I worshiped The Silver Palate Cookbook – no diet foods in there! Yes! Long ingredients list, but I so love so many of the recipes between those covers! I hear you, though. Some books speak to your cooking style and others are just ‘meh’! You’re wise to make room for more that excite you as a cook!

    Great post, Sue!

  • Reply
    themoveablefeasts
    September 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    This looks so delicious. I’m a huge fan of apple cake and how moist it always is! I’ve never heard of the Silver Palate cookbook, but now you’ve intrigued me and I might just check it out (even if it didn’t work out for you) :)

  • Reply
    annie
    September 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Sue, this cakes looks delicious and perfect with my cup of coffee right this very minute! I love all your photos and styling! I can practically see your eggs coming to room temperature. As I was reading through your post I kept thinking the same thing about the book. Recipes seemed long and lots of steps. I actually had to go over to my cookbooks to see if my copy of Silver Palate made the cut when we moved 2 years ago. And just like you….It did not.
    xo annie

  • Reply
    Jeanette
    September 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Now that cake looks super moist, perfect for the fall.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    September 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I won’t tell you that 82 also happens to be the year I was born ;) this is a beautiful looking cake. I can’t wait to start whipping up apple creations soon :)

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