Monday, October 11, 2010

THE cake

Fern Gumber

Did you ever as a child have something so good that it lived on in your memory your entire life? I have. Fern Gumber’s Apple Cake. I’ve already discussed in an earlier post that I wasn’t a big chocolate fan growing up and if I could have one thing from my memories as a child it would be this cake that Mrs. Gumber would bring over every Christmas and Easter. People, lemme tell ya, It was THE cake, the cake that everyone in my family waited for every Christmas and Easter on bended knee. My parents met Fern and her husband Art at church one Sunday and they became close friends. They were very sweet and kind to our family and like good, southern friends do, they’d bring over this cake every Easter and Christmas and chit chat for a while on a Sunday afternoon. I would hear rumors here and there of when they’d come and I’d stare out the window waiting to see them and Mrs. Gumber carrying the cake inside. I’d never had anything like it before. The top of the cake had this apple cinnamon crust on top and the inside of the cake was moist and delicious, filled with apple bits that tasted as if the cinnamon and sugar gods had kissed each and every piece. I’m not sure if my mother just never asked for the recipe, I mean, I know I would, but poor Fern and Art passed away and we never figured out how she made it. I grew up and ever so often I’d remember the cake, the smell, the excitement of having our friends bring over something so yummy and thoughtful to us. I mean, we must have been pretty special to get a cake like that.

So, I got married, got pregnant, and got on bedrest. Not the best situation for someone who spends most of her time in the kitchen so I organized my recipe books, re wrote old recipe cards that were all tattered and torn, filled my brain with cooking shows and made my husband run out to get anything that sounded similar to what I was watching. One afternoon, I was really down and throwing a pretty big pity party for myself and sure enough Paula Deen comes on. I was sure I’d seen it before. I had her cookbooks, watched most of her shows so what was the big deal? In the preview I see something that looks very similar to Fern Gumber’s Apple Cake. NO WAY I thought. In the back of my mind this was a secret recipe that Fern pulled out of her “good southern woman’s recipe safe”, you know the ones that you hide behind pictures in the living room? This wasn’t a recipe that could be shared with the normal Joe’s and Sally’s of the world! But it was. It was THE cake. So, I pulled the recipe up on my laptop, saved it, and made it the week that I got taken off bedrest. The crusty top, the sugar/cinnamon kissed apple bits and the crunch of the coconut and walnuts. It was all there. I felt as if my recipe book had been complete. I’d found it. So now, every time I make the cake, I think of Fern, her visits and my excitement as a child. I make it every Christmas and love sharing it with my family. It’s so special to me and I an honored to share it, in her name before this upcoming holiday season. Thank you Fern for always making our seasons special and thank you Paula Deen for getting me out of my pity party.

• Butter, for greasing pan
• 2 cups sugar
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups peeled and finely chopped apples
• 1 cup shredded coconut
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a tube pan.
For the cake: in a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, orange juice, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract; and mix well. Fold apples, coconut, and pecans into batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.
Shortly before the cake is done, make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the sugar, buttermilk, and baking soda, and bring to a good rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the hot cake in the pan as soon as you remove it from the oven. Let stand 1 hour, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.


Anne said...

Great post! I totally just teared up!

Dani said...

it's cause you want that cake LOL :) I'll make it for ya ;)

Sharon said...

I have heard about this infamous cake.

Dani said...

SHARON! it's amazing...since you will be here over the holidays you will get to try it :)