There are so many things that are wrong with this recipe, starting with the name. This is an apple cake, which our parents have forever referred to as a milopita (μηλόπιτα). Now technically, a milopita is an apple pie…which, this is not. It’s a cake, and many Greeks might call it just that, an apple cake or keik milou (Κέικ μήλου). If you are one of those people, please don’t send us emails and well meaning comments informing us that this is not a pie. We know it’s not, but the reality is, this recipe has bigger problems.
For those of you out there who are bakers, sit down. Reading the directions in this recipe might make you feel a little light headed. Everything you may know about baking techniques and basic baking principles can be thrown out the window. We were actually horrified watching this recipe unfold. There was no apparent reverence for the art of baking, no care and attention paid to ensuring that the baking process was entered into with respect and awe. No, things were pretty much just thrown into a large bowl and practically kneaded together. That’s right…kneaded…or stirred! In any case, it was all done by hand! Have you ever heard of such a thing???!!!
In the end, the batter was poured (plopped) into a baking pan (not a cake pan mind you …they use this thing to make small batches of yemista too) and baked for what our parents said would be “a while”. Despite the fact that we have grown up eating our parents’ milopita, and loved it, we were convinced that they were now holding out on us, keeping the true recipe to themselves. Our expectations were low, and even when the kitchen began to fill with the delightful aroma of cooked apples and cinnamon, we were sure that this cake would have significant problems. We were stressing. And then, out of the oven, came a perfect looking apple cake. We started to get excited…but then, remembered high school, and that looks aren’t everything. When the milopita cooled a bit, we took a tentative bite. This cake, thrown together, defied all baking logic. It was perfect, and perfectly delicious.
For us, Fall is all about back to school, warm knit sweaters, and apple picking. We are fortunate to live in an area where there is a pretty extensive apple picking season, and many varieties of apples to select from, in many different orchards. This year, we were thrilled that we got the chance to visit an organic apple orchard called Maniadakis Organic Orchard. What a joy! On the day we went, we picked primarily Gala and Cortland apples, and used them in this milopita recipe. The owner, Emmanuel Maniadakis, is incredibly knowledgeable, not only about his apples and organic agriculture, but also about wine. If you go, you can probably enjoy a taste of his unique apple ice wines, as you take in the magnificent views and serene surroundings. We can’t wait to go back next year. Maybe we’ll see you there!
If you don’t have the opportunity to go apple picking, you can, of course, purchase your apples at the market or grocery store. Baking wisdom often says that the best apples for apple cake include Gala and Pink Lady varieties, but this recipe has already demonstrated that what we think we know, means nothing. So, use whatever apples you like, or use those you have on hand. It will probably be perfect.
Our parents bake this cake in a large round pan (11 inches in diameter) and serve it directly out of it. You can either do as our parents do, or split the batter between a bundt pan and a loaf pan. The cooking time will be different depending upon the pan you use, and both have been indicated in the recipe below.
Mia Kouppa: Apple cake
- 10 apples (approximately)
- 2 cups (500 ml) and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup (250 ml) and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 ml) baking powder
- 1 heaping tablespoon (15 ml, heaping) cinnamon
- 1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel and core your apples and chop them into a small dice. Measure out 6 packed cups of apple. If you have any left over, munch on them while your cake bakes.
- Place your apples in a very large bowl. Sift your flour, and add it to the bowl with the apples. Then, add the eggs, the sugar, the vegetable oil, baking powder, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts.
- Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together and combine everything well (almost as though you are making a bread).
- The cake mixture is now ready for the pan. Our parents usually use a deep, round pan which is about 11 inches in diameter. Grease your pan generously with vegetable oil.
- Place your cake in the top rack of the oven and bake for about 80 – 90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. – If you prefer, you can bake this cake in both a bundt and loaf pan; there will be enough batter to fill both pans. If you are going with this option, reduce the cooking time to approximately 50 – 60 minutes. Again, check for doneness with a toothpick.
- Our parents serve this cake straight out of the pan. It is delicious warm, at room temperature, and even more delicious the next day. Enjoy.