The addition of cottage cheese to this nicely spiced apple cake makes it so moist and adds a bit of zing to the cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
This is a glorious cake that is super moist thanks to the addition of tangy cottage cheese. But even better are the spices of cinnamon, ginger and cloves which make every bite reminiscent of pumpkin pie but with the rich texture of a melt-in-your-mouth coffee cake. Topping the cake with cinnamon whipped cream is a must. Served warm or room temperature, it was inhaled by my family.
The recipe for Cottage Apple Cake is one I’ve updated from this little gem…
…I found this book stashed away in a cupboard several years ago when we moved into our current home. Pillsbury’s 7th Grand National Cookbook, it was high up on a shelf and some of the pages were stuck together, not to mention it was aged and yellow. I fell in love with it on the spot! The booklet was published in 1955 and reading through it was quite an entertaining little glimpse into homemaking for American women of the past. Here was a compilation of recipes from winners and runners-up who participated in the contest held in “the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf in New York…97 women entered, as well as 1 man and 2 teen-aged boys”. The first pages of the book give contest information for the following year’s Grand National Competition. Ann Pillsbury assures us that “Juniors, Seniors or Brides can win!” The black and white photos of some of the contestants are adorably right out of Happy Days and short bios are also included with some of the recipes. Hobbies of the home-bakers ranged from “photography, doll-collecting, writing, and entertaining for my bridge club ” with my personal favorite, “inventing household appliances and creating new recipes”. I will be updating several recipes from this booklet to share with you and I’ll feature the original author’s photo (if there is one) as well as the bio, when one is provided.
The originator of Cottage Apple Spice Cake (no photo) was a “Junior” Winner named Felicia Schroetel from Portland, Maine. No bio was given for Felicia, but this is one delicious little recipe! I updated some of the ingredients and simplified steps in the recipe. Almost every recipe in the book calls for Crisco as an ingredient which I will switch out with more healthy options. For instance, I’ve substituted with coconut oil in this recipe. Cook’s note: I’m a huge fan of good fats but others might want to remove fat from the recipe. If this is you, than Cottage Apple Spice Cake would be an excellent candidate for using applesauce in place of the oil.
The moist chunks of apple practically melt in your mouth and the streussel topping that I added gives a nice crunch to the top. The original recipe calls for beating cinnamon into classic whipped cream and it is my new favorite cake or pie topping. Super simple, but the addition of the cinnamon gives even more festive-flavor to the cake. It’s perfect when served with coffee or tea or for an after-dinner dessert.
I hope you enjoy my updated version of Felicia’s recipe, almost 60 years later.
Cottage Apple Spice Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 ½ cups Sifted all-purpose flour, Sift first and then measure. Yes, it matters
- 1 ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon Ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¾ cup Sugar
- ⅓ cup Coconut oil
- 2 Tablespoons unsulphered molasses
- 2 Large eggs
- ½ cup Full-fat cottage cheese
- ¼ cup Milk
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Medium apple, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces (a good baking apple, like Golden Delicious, Jonagold or even Granny Smith for a bit of tart)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts, optional
For the Crumb Topping:
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease with butter and flour any 8-inch cake pan (round, square or spring-form. If using a spring-form, grease the entire pan then place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom and grease again. Then flour entire pan.)
Make the Cake:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together, 1 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon cloves, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- In a second bowl, beat ¾ cup sugar and ⅓ cup coconut oil until well incorporated. Add 2 Tablespoons molasses and mix again. Beat in 2 eggs, mixing well after each egg.
- In a blender or food-processor, add ½ cup cottage cheese and ¼ cup milk. Pulse just a few times to cream the cheese. (If you don't have a blender/processor, or if you just don't want to get it dirty, place the cottage cheese and milk in a bowl and using a fork, break up the cheese and stir together with the milk. It doesn't need to be totally smooth.) Add the cheese and milk mixture to your wet ingredients, along with 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice. Mix well.
- Add dry ingredients a little at a time and mix about 30 seconds.
- Fold in the apple cubes. Using a rubber spatula, pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Make the Crumb Topping:
- In a small bowl, combine ½ cup flour, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup nuts. Stir to combine. Pour 3 Tablespoons melted butter over mixture and stir until pea-size balls form.
- Sprinkle the crumb topping over the batter. Bake in 350F degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
- Set cake on cooling rack for about 15 minutes. Then place your hand on the cake and flip it over and remove the pan (the cake is substantial enough to hold together in your hand, but you can use a plate if you want). If using parchment paper, remove the parchment and gently turn your cake over onto a serving platter.
Make the Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
- Pour One half pint whipping cream into a chilled bowl. Add 3 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Beat until peaks form and then taste to see if you want to add more sugar.
- Serve cake warm or room temperature with whipped cream on top. Add an additional dash of cinnamon to each portion if desired.
- The Cottage Apple Spice Cake is best served the day of baking, but keeps well covered in plastic wrap for up to two days.