4 Cups of Chopped Fresh Apples
8 Cups of Dried Apples
4 Cups of Apple Cider
1 1/2 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon (Approx. 2 Tablespoons)
3/4 Cups of Sugar
A Pinch of Salt
- First, combine the first seven ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Then, Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Stir occasionally and mash down apples with back of spoon or potato masher.
- Add 4 cups of chopped fresh apples and combine.
- Continue cooking for 45 minutes, stirring and mashing to desired texture. If too much liquid is absorbed and apples are dry, add 1 cup of water.
- Remove from heat and cool.
History of the Apple Stack Cake:
The Apple Stack Cake was central to Appalachian celebrations. Since apples were plentiful in Appalachia, pioneers used them to replace more expensive supplies that were traditionally used in European recipes. Appalachians would use the dried apples they had stored for the harsh winter months to cook up a thick, sweet stew. This apple stew was paired with sorghum molasses, which replaced the refined sugars that was both inaccessible and unaffordable. The sweet concoction was then sandwiched between layers of hot, stack cakes. Although inexpensive, this deeply-rooted Appalachian treat rivaled the taste of traditional cakes and sweets eaten in more urban areas.
Old folk tales describe how settlers would each bring a layer of stack cake to a wedding, spreading the apple filling as they arrived until they built up a sizable cake to celebrate the special day. It was said that the layers on a bride’s cake mirrored her popularity; more layers meant she was popular within her community. In addition to weddings, the Apple Stack Cake made appearances at several Appalachian holiday celebrations. Apple Stack Cakes were popular at these events because Apple Stack cakes were, and always will be, a labor of love. They take hours of reducing dried apples into a sticky, sweet soup, simmering massive amounts of molasses, and the careful collection of cakes.