Apples On Trees Are Like Free Money

I never pass up the chance to pick fruit. It’s almost free. And in these weird economic times, food that grows on trees is like money in the bank. At least that’s the way I see it.

I got the chance to pick apples when I visited my sister in St. Helena, a place renowned for its vineyards, great restaurants, and most of all, Michael Chiarello, Food Network star chef, whom we didn’t see. Not that weekend.

The day Shelly and I headed home Bethany showed us her little apple tree in the front yard. It was tiny, but it was loaded with apples. I wasn’t able to identify the apple varieties, but I decided to bake with them, which proved a tasty decision.

Here’s an apple cake recipe you can make just in time for fall. Double the recipe and put one cake in the freezer for later.  Money in the bank.

St. Helena Apple Cake

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 cups apples, peeled and diced

1/2 cup apple juice (I buy the kind in little cans)

1 cube butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients (up to cloves) into a large bowl. Stir to mix.  Toss in the apples and mix to form a nice dusting. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir until just blended.

Spoon batter into a Bundt cake pan or two loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test, and comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.

Editor’s note: This a best-of column that was originally published October 14, 2008.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Ginny says:

    Perfect time of the year for this recipe. Thanks! ;o)

  2. I love picking fruit, too. When I used to walk all over the county, I knew where I could get red plums, plenty of figs, the best blackberries of course, and loquats (an acquired taste but I knew of a tree that had the plumpest and sweetest ones!)

    When I lived in Santa Barbara, a lifetime ago, I knew where to get fresh oranges and avocados, along with several herbs. It pays to walk!

  3. Avatar Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    Thank you for a great article Doni.
    The Manton Apple festival is this weekend, but if driving up to that little country town isn’t how you want to spend the day, some of the growers attend the Farmer’s Market at City Hall on Saturday. You can place an order at the Farmer’s Market. We usually get apples from Troxell’s orchards of Montgomery Creek. The reason we deal with this family is because of the quality and variety of apples, and because a box of apples is still the same size as it was 20 years ago. Apples store well for months so a box, properly stored will last a long time.
    Again, great article. I will definitely try this recipe!

  4. Avatar Curtis Chipley says:

    I read this recipe this morning, went out and bought some apples, made it and OH MY GOSH it is delicious…… thank you Doni for a wonderful recipe, that is easy to make!!

  5. Yes, it’s a winner. You’re welcome. 🙂

  6. Avatar Chris K says:

    This one looks really yummy and pretty easy to make.
    I’ll bet even I can do it… well, maybe.