Note: Don't stress about fanning the apples out perfectly in Step 2—they'll caramelize during cooking and practically melt into the cake.
If you simply don't feel like dealing with the crown of apples at all, feel free to bake the cake in a greased 12-cup bundt pan. Once baked, cool the cake in the bundt for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Four medium-sized Granny Smith apples should yield the three cups of chopped apples called for in the recipe; if you're nervous about the yield, have a fifth apple on hand
- Yield:12 to 16
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:2 hours, 20 minutes
- 8 to 9 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus additional (optional) for dusting
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
- 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F and adjust oven rack to middle position. Grease 10-inch springform pan and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Thinly slice (about 1/4-inch thick) 4 apples and place in medium bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, brown sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Arrange apple slices in 2 concentric circles in prepared pan with slices slightly overlapping. Dot with butter.
Cut remaining apples into large chunks and pulse in food processor with remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice until coarsely chopped; measure out 3 cups and set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. In a separate large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat eggs. With mixer runnin, slowly add oil and vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with chopped apples. With rubber spatula, wipe down sides and bottom of bowl; if using, add nuts and raisins and mix just until combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Invert cake onto cooling rack and let cool 20 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan, then, carefully remove pan base with the help of a knife. Cool completely before serving. If desired, dust top of cake with confectioners’ sugar and additional ground cinnamon.
Cake may be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week.