My great-grandmother, Mary McAskill, made this simple four-layer cake at Christmastime because she had its main ingredients, oranges and dried apples, on hand. My grandmother, Ruth McAskill Hagler, also made this cake. My father, Buddy Hagler, started making it when I was a teenager. He dried his own tart, green apples from a tree that grew in the backyard. I found four-years worth of dried apples, pre-measured for future cakes, in Dad’s freezer chest when I cleaned it out after he died.
I continued the tradition of making the apple-orange cake with those dried apples until they were gone. Now, I use dried apples from The Apple Barn. It’s important to use dried apples for this recipe, and not the more common evaporated apples. It’s hands down my favorite cake. I especially like it with a side of ambrosia.
- 2 cups dried apples (not evaporated)
- 3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups sugar
- 1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix, or make a 2 layer yellow cake from scratch (I prefer the mix.)
Cook the dried apples in 4 cups of water until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Use an immersion blender, Foley mill, or sieve to puree the apples. Addthe orange juice and sugar and cook on medium heat until thick, about 40-50 minutes.
As soon as the two cake layers are cool enough to handle, split them with a bread knife or with dental floss. Evenly distribute the apple-orange sauce between each layer while they are still warm. When you get to the top layer, keep piling on the sauce. The sauce will begin to stick to the sides of the cake as it cools. Use a narrow spatula to scoop the icing onto the sides from around the bottom of the cake.