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Foodie Friday: Apple Cake for Uncle John

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NOTE: I ran this post about a year ago on Free at Last Mom and it has always been a favorite post of mine. A couple of weeks ago, on Christmas Eve, Uncle John’s brother posted a video from the early 90’s of his children opening their gifts from Santa and who should be sitting right there – Uncle John! So I spent most of Christmas Eve thinking about my friend and once again ~ a beautiful red cardinal visited me while I sat on my porch.

When I married my husband over 30 years ago, he came into the relationship with his childhood best friend, known to my kids as Uncle John. Uncle John was a confirmed bachelor and over the years became one of my best friends. One of Uncle John’s favorite treats was apple cake – in every shape and size. Each week he would turn up at my house with a new recipe for me to try. He had me trying to re-create an apple cake he loved from his childhood but unfortunately each apple cake was never “just right!” This apple cake making went on for years. Then, a few years back Uncle John passed away quietly in his sleep leaving behind wonderful memories of a dear friend that just wanted to have a piece of apple cake the way he remembered it from his youth. I stopped then making apple cakes, eating apple cakes and looking for apple cake recipes. Suddenly a while back an apple cake recipe appeared in my Facebook news feed. I looked at it and filed it away and then one day thought – “boy does that apple cake recipe look good – I bet Uncle John would have loved it.”


So I set out to make this apple cake and finished baking it through tears while thinking about my friend. It turned out great! I put it on the counter and went to sit on my screen porch to collect myself and sitting on my fence was a red cardinal. Many spiritual people will tell you that a cardinal represents afterlife – a cardinal is a visit from a lost love one. I’m not usually superstitious, but part of me knows that red cardinal was Uncle John telling me I might have gotten it “just right!” this time.

So here is my recipe for Uncle John’s Apple Cake! However, I must give credit where credit is due and tell you that I have found that the recipe can be found in the Betty Crocker Cookbook (who knew all those years all we had to do was look in a cookbook!!)


  • ¼ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cut into ½-inch wedges
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Whipped Cream topping
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 9 inch round or square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan melt ¼ cup butter over medium heat until melted. Add the brown sugar. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Pour into the bottom of the greased pan. Arrange the apples over the brown sugar mixture.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt. Set bowl aside.
  4. In a large bowl or mixer, beat together 1 cup sugar, and ½ cup butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Beat in flour mixture alternating with the milk until smooth. Pour the batter over the apples and spread evenly.
  6. Bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the whipped topping, beat whipping cream on high until soft peaks start to form. Add in 2 tablespoons sugar.
  8. Run knife along the edges of the cake and flip upside down on a pan. Serve warm with whipped cream on top.