Monday, October 14, 2013

Ruby's Apple Pudding Cake: The 100th Blog Post!

Can you believe it?  This is the 100th post to "The Friendly Table" !  It's true that time flies by when you're having fun!  I've so enjoyed sharing recipes and stories with you and hope that there will be many more (100?!).
I thought and thought about what to do for the 100th post.  At first it sounded fun to do a 100 year old recipe.  After some research, I found some interesting dishes, but in the course of things, I re-discovered my mom's collection of recipes and decided to make something that would honor her.
My mom's name was Ruby.  She told me once she didn't like her name much, but I always did.  Marie, my daughter, tells me it is popular again now days!  Even as a kid, I observed that she appreciated beauty of all sorts: in the home, clothing, the outdoors and gardening.  My dad was a rancher, but they also owned a flower shop and my mom was there almost every day designing and helping people during their proms, weddings, anniversaries, and funerals.   In summer, after working all day at the flower shop, she would rush home and ride around in the truck with my dad while he "set water" for irrigating the fields, admiring the cattle and crops.   I guess this was their time to discuss things and catch up with one another.  When she died, my dad said that was what he missed the most.
Mom was a wonderful cook in the practical, efficient way of a farming/ranching wife.  In the country, there aren't many restaurants, so  going out to eat is not common.  Cooking almost every meal, every day was the norm.  Somehow she got it all done gracefully and deliciously though!  Even after a long, hard day at work, when Mom would come home, she would be happy and excited to start cooking.  It never seemed like a chore!
Her collection is a complete jumble of recipes cut out of magazines and newspapers, written on the backs of envelopes (there are a lot of these!), pages from letters that included a recipe, and typed.  I laughed at the typed ones because I remember her asking me to type recipes out for her when she needed to keep me busy (out of her way).  She would act like there was a very urgent need for a certain recipe and that it would be SO helpful if I would type it out for her on the typewriter.  (Can you believe 1.  I fell for that. and 2.  There was such a thing as a typewriter?) I never did question why she couldn't just use the recipe right out of the newspaper or whatever-- why it needed to be transcribed onto a piece of typing paper.  She could be very convincing :)  
Anyway, it was lovely to go back and look at the collection.  Finally, I came across the recipe I knew I wanted to make:  Apple Pudding Cake, a recipe that was originally from the "Farm Journal", a magazine all the families in our area subscribed to.  My mom used to make this practically every week during the fall and winter.  We lived in a part of Colorado that was known for orchards, so apples were always in abundance during that time of year.  We stored them in a shed and the cold weather kept them edible all winter.  Being a literal type of kid (and kind of "buggy"), I used to bother my mom almost every time she made it because it was called "pudding cake" and it seemed like just a "cake".  My mom was (generally) patient and would tell me the pudding name was for the sauce that was served over the cake.  "So why wouldn't it be called 'Apple Cake with Pudding Sauce'?"  I would counter.  "Because they didn't." was my mom's wise (and tired) reply!
We lived in a very rural area, and in those days other farmers and ranchers used to drop by all the time unannounced in the winter, so every farm wife had to be prepared with coffee and some kind of dessert.  The apple pudding cake was quick and easy to prepare and we always had the ingredients.  Spicy, moist, apple fragrant and topped with a browned-butter sauce, I will always associate this cake with pleasant times at our house.  As a kid, I wasn't too interested in the conversations: the price of cattle, how much hay cost this year, whether the snow was going to result in enough water for the spring, but even back then, it was comforting and homey to hear the voices of my parents' friends, sharing stories around a cup of coffee and this cake-- with the pudding-like sauce!  Ha!  
I hope you'll try this recipe because it's delicious!  After making it again, I think it was called a "pudding cake" because it is so moist that it's almost like a pudding!

Apple Pudding Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt
*3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced very thinly (We used to sometimes grate the apples, but they are best sliced super thin.)
1/2 cup nuts, coarsely chopped (We always used walnuts, but any are good.)

*Any type of apples will work, but make sure they are juicy and firm.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray a 9x9-inch square pan with PAM.
Cream the butter and sugar well.  Add the egg and beat until fluffy.  Add the flour, soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  Beat on low until somewhat combined.  The mixture will seem dry.  Add the apples and beat on low until all are incorporated.  The mixture will be thick, but moist now.  Stir in the nuts.  
Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

Allow to cool a bit and serve with the warm sauce:

2 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl. flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and allow it to heat until light brown in color.  Add the flour and stir together.  Add the milk, and stir until the mixture starts to steam.  Add the sugar.  Stir and cook until the mixture boils.  Add the nutmeg.  Allow the sauce to cool to warm.  Pour over each serving of cake.
Serve with coffee or tea and some friendly conversation with family, friends, and / or pets!

Happy fall to you!  

Here's the recipe card my mom had in her collection.  It's in my handwriting, and I remember her asking me to write it out for her, even though she had the recipe memorized.  Now, I'm glad she did!


  1. Did you ever think your mom had you write/type them out to preserve them for you? Maybe it was her "blog" your posts. Miss you...

  2. I saw this post yesterday when I was looking for one of your older posts to make for our dinner (the turkey tenderloin recipe... yum!) . I thought it looked good and now and since it is your 100th post I want to celebrate you as my friend and make it for our couples Bible Study tomorrow night. I think it will be appropriate since we are "suppose" to have a breeze that might resemble "fall" weather tomorrow. Can't wait to try it! I love your mom and I never knew her!

  3. You would have loved my mom's flower shop. Before you knew what happened, she would have had you working there :)
    Thanks for your sweet comments!

  4. I made Ruby's Apple Pudding Cake last night for our couples Bible Study and it got rave reviews. Bobby especially loved it as he loves anything with baked apples. I added the vanilla to the sauce like you suggested and that kicked it up a notch I am sure ... it was easy to pull together and delicious. I can't wait for post #200... it will be here before we know it!

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