I first tasted this apple cake at a lovely brunch my friend, Leslie, hosted about a year ago. It was a simple, satisfying cake, full of juicy chunks of apples, warm spices, and a bit of crunch on the surface and around the edges. As I helped myself to a second serving, I grilled Leslie for the details and she promised it was silly easy – a one bowl affair that didn’t even require a mixer. Sold.
Leslie’s apple cake is awesome as is. I made minor tweaks to it, cutting down a bit of the sugar and swapping in olive oil for the light vegetable oil. This cake feels wholesome. The kind of breakfast cake or snacking cake I could whip up on a whim and eat without feeling guilty.
Sometimes though, times call for something…well, a little less wholesome. Sorry Les, I got nasty with this apple cake. I added two sticks of butter and layered it with thick swaths of decadent New York-style crumb topping. I know, I’m a depraved soul. Forgive me. Or, um, thank me
When I visited Italy this past summer, I stayed with my darling friend Mariangela. Mari cooks like the free spirit she is. No recipes. No rules. Her style is beautifully Italian. Some fresh produce from the fruttivendolo down the street, a few generous glugs of EVOO liquid gold from her hometown in Calabria, and magic just happens. I learned on this last stay that Mari apparently bakes in a similar fashion.
On a weekly, sometimes twice-weekly basis, Mari would whip together a simple breakfast cake, “Because mornings are so much easier when there’s cake,” she’d say. I know, don’t you just love her? This cake is super easy, the kind of cake you can throw together without any fuss. All it takes is flour, sugar, eggs, olive oil, yogurt, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and ripe fruit. Mari mostly made a banana version, but while I was there we experimented with using some divinely sweet and juicy peaches — highly recommended. I need to do some more testing, but I suspect berries would also work well in this versatile cake.