• Posted by Karen Dill on November 25th, 2008, 3:46 PM

    This old-fashioned stack cake made with dried apples, molasses, and spices is a traditional centerpiece of the Appalachian Thanksgiving table.


    1 pound dried apples
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup granulated sugar

    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    6 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3/4 cup shortening (lard is best!) or butter
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 cup molasses
    3 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup buttermilk

    Heat oven to 350 degrees.

    Make the filling: Wash and cook apples in water until tender. Drain and mash well. Mix with sugars and cinnamon. Applesauce can be substituted for the filling (chunky is best), just add cinnamon.

    Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.

    Cream shortening and sugar; add molasses and mix well. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla.

    Add buttermilk alternately with flour mixture, combining well after each addition.

    Place dough on a floured surface. Work in enough flour to make it easy to handle, but not stiff.

    Divide dough into 9 portions and shape into balls. Place one ball in a greased 9-inch round pan. Press dough with hand evenly over bottom of pan.

    Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly before removing from the pan. Continue the same process for each ball of dough, greasing the pan between uses.

    Stack the layers alternately with apple filling. Store cake in airtight container or wrap well, and let it sit at least overnight before serving for best flavor and moisture. It also freezes well.

    Karen Dill lives in Webster, North Carolina, which is located in the Smoky Mountains near the town of Sylva.

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