I have three special recipes from my former mother in law, Myrtle. I was telling her granddaughters that I had the peanut brittle, pecan pie, and apple stack cake recipes. One of them wanted the apple cake recipe.
Myrtle and her husband lived on many acres of land complete with pecan trees, a huge garden, blueberry bushes lining the fence, rose bushes, flowers galore, and a "witches forest"! Oh, how I remember those days picking fruit or veggies from the garden, walking in the woods, or just sitting on the porch, or around the kitchen table talking for hours. What fun times.
My ex husband isn't much of a sweet eater. Two cookies would be "dessert" for him. For me, two cookies is just getting started!!! This is one cake that he did enjoy. When we first started dating, of course, I wanted to impress him with my cooking skills and his mother's recipe!
Being that my family is of Greek heritage, we used to have huge Easter celebrations with about 40 or so people inside cooking, outside grilling, and just having an all day affair. It was one of those days that I had made the cake the previous day and it was in a cake taker ready to go.... Well, we don't have many shy friends and nor did my parents. Our home was their home, and everyone felt at ease in the kitchen. One of my dad's friends remarked: "That was the best apple cake I've ever had!" to which my dad replied: "oh, no! You didn't cut that cake did you?". The answer was: "sure I did! How else could I have told you that was the best apple cake I've ever had?". We all laughed about it, and I took the cake down and told the story. I doubt that they remember though as there were so many stories over the years that brought tons of laughter.
Myrtle would dry her sliced apples in the hot summer sun! I did it the easy way and purchased the apples already dried. I wrote the recipe in a non-traditional way. I left it this way because this is how she said the directions to me. Give yourself a few days to make this cake as it needs to sit 24 hours before slicing. Also, you need to plan time to rehydrate the apples.
Old Fashioned Apple Stack Cake
In a small bowl put 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder Stir lightly
Cream together 1 cup shortening, 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar until well mixed
Add 2 eggs (probably large) and 2 tsp vanilla to shortening and sugar mixture
Add buttermilk mixture to the above mix
Sift together and stir into mixture: 4 cups all purpose flour and 1 tsp. salt. Add enough flour to make the dough easy to handle (like a cookie dough). Divide into 5 portions. Pat mixture into 5 round 9 inch cake pans lined with wax paper. It's a thin cake layer when baked. Bake 10 minutes at 425F. Let layers cool.
For the filling: 1 pound dried apples, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp ground clove, 2 cups sugar.
Soak apples overnight in water and they will become soft. Drain off excess water. Add spices to apples and mash until an applesauce texture. Put the apples between the layers and let stand 24 hours before cutting.
When I first made the cake, I did not mash the apples. I had the slices between the layers and the cake was so tall it was almost impossible to cut!! It was so funny. The family endured my error with the chunky apples, but enjoyed the cake nonetheless.
I wrote the recipe just as she told me. I can hear her saying all of the steps. What a wonderful woman she was! I miss her and her joy of living!