Granny Aggie’s Apple and Orange Cake
My paternal grandmother always hosted Christmas Eve supper for our family. She cooked for days in preparation of that meal. I’m sure we had the usual turkey, dressing, and all the sides, but what I remember most are the desserts. Granny Aggie made sure everyone had his or her favorite on that night.
She made chocolate pies, butterscotch pies, lemon pies, and pecan pies. There might have been an egg custard on one of the countertops, too. She baked a chocolate cake, a caramel cake, a coconut cake—all for five adults and five children.
The dessert bounty was enormous and delicious, but the cake my daddy and uncle looked for was her apple and orange cake. It had been my grandfather’s favorite Christmas cake, and his sons followed in his footsteps.
No one else in the family really cared for the light brown cake with tiny flecks of red apple skin dotting the surface. Who would when creamy chocolate or caramel icing dripped from multiple layers just a cake stand or two down the line?
I’m not sure how this cake came to be the Christmas cuisine highlight of the Toler men. Maybe it had something to do with having oranges only in winter, and they were special because most everything else on the table was either from our garden or from our pastures. Who knows? All I know is that the apple and orange cake is a Christmas tradition in our family, and last night at our Christmas Eve Eve celebration, the first dessert Quinn asked for was a piece of my mother’s apple and orange cake. The tradition is safe for another generation.
Just in case you’re interested here’s my grandmother’s recipe. I’ve searched for on-line recipes, but none that pop up are our cake, so maybe it really is Granny Aggie’s Apple and Orange Cake.
4 Red Delicious apples, grated—The year I made this cake when my mother was recovering from open heart surgery, I used two Granny Smith apples in place of two red apples. The red and green flecks looked festive, but Granny used only red.
4 medium-sized oranges, grated—I know from reading recipes and watching cooking shows that you’re supposed to grate only the orange rind and leave out the white pith, but that’s not how Granny did it. To be accurate, start grating and don’t stop till you get to your fingertips.
*Unfortunately, a food processor doesn’t yield the perfect consistency of grated fruit that a box grater does. Make sure you’ve had adequate sustenance or someone to tag team you before you start. Grating eight pieces of fruit is a workout.
Mix the grated fruit with about one cup of sugar. Use this mixture to ice yellow cake layers. Prepare this cake a day earlier than you want to serve it and store in the refrigerator.
Good luck with the grating!